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10 October 1951

Janette Anne Dimech is a mix of half-Belgian, half-Spanish, English-born, American-raised. After her parents' separation at age 12, she moved to Barcelona with her mother and younger brother and sister. Having grown up in the United States, she speaks only English and has to learn Spanish with the help of her friends. In the mid-60's, she joins a group of young amateur musicians around the brothers Brenner. With some effort they record an EP with Catalan songs under the name Brenner's Folk. The EP was not very successful but it did set Jeanette to start writing her own material. Performing they were spotted by Hispavox who signed the band on the condition they changed the name to Pic-Nic and made Jeanette lead singer. The 1968 album becomes a mild succes mainly due to the single ‘Cállate niña’ (which was a interpretation of a popular Spanish children’s song). Disagreements among the bandmembers mean the quick end of the band with some members disappearing in the young Catelan progrockscene with the bands Om and Jarka and Brenner moving to Venezuela to start a carreer there.

Jeanette herself moved to Vienna with her husband, a Hungarian football player named Laszlo Kristof, were her daughter Blythe was born. In 1971 she receives a phonecall from Hispavox asking her to record as a solo artist for them. She hestitates and releases a single ‘Soy rebelde’ (written by Manuel Alejandro) first. On the single, the record label misspelled her name as "Jeanette" which she adopted as her stagename. The single was a succes and even was released in other languages like French, English and Japanese. This paved the way for her 1973 debut album with a collection of songs by Alejandro and Perales. The latter was also responsible for her follow up single ‘Porque te vas’ ('Because you're leaving') in 1974. Oddly the EP did virtually nothing at the time. Only when the song was used in Carlos Saura's 1976 film ‘Cría Cuervos’ ('Raise Ravens') and that movie was awarded on several filmfestivals did the song get noticed eventually selling 6,000,000 copies worldwide.

Hispavox hastily compiled a second album to accompany the succes. Touring Jeanette performed at the Olympia in Paris with fellow countryman Julio Iglesias. Afterwards she stuck in France to record with arrangeur and composer Andre Popp. The result ‘Todo es nuevo’ got a lukewarm reception and did not reach the expected sales. In the slipstream of the succes of disco-act Baccara her then recordcompany RCA tried to market Jeanette in that genre with singles like ‘Don’t say goodnight to Lady Spain’, ‘Heaven please, don’t let it rain tonight’, Little man from Japan’ and ‘Voy a tener un niño'/'De mujer a mujer’ which was the only song that received some airplay. It was then that she was contacted again by Manuel Alejandro who wanted her to sing some of his new compositions for an album. ‘Corazón de poeta’ would become her best selling album especially in Latin America. Suddenly no expenses were spared for the follow up ‘Reluz’ recorded in Brazil with Roupa Nova. ‘Ojos en el sol’ also featured latin rhythms pointed at the South American market. In 1989 she leaves RCA to sign with the indepent label Twins of Paco Martin. The album ‘Loca por la música’ does not get noticed however and Jeanette leaves the music scene for many years. She starts a small fashion boutique (that fails) and sings in sixties cover band Mágicos 60 (with Tony Ronald, Lorenzo Santamaría, a.o.). She briefly pops up again in 1996 when RCA releases a compilation of her music (solo and with Pic-Nic) called ‘Sigo rebelde’ which features new recorded versions. In the new millenium the Mágicos 60 become the Míticos 70. Her cultstatus in the decade is also fuelled by the fact that Manu Chaoi covers ‘Porque te vas’. In 2010 she makes a brief cameo appearance in the video ‘Frente a Frente’ by Enrique Bunbury. This only hightens the rumours that she is recording a new album.

On the web:

- Jeanette dedicated fan-website: http://www.jeanette-rebelde.blogspot.com/

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What do we think:

PR: It took me some time to appreciate Jeanette's singing style - somehow it appears to be so lazy and uninspired at first hearing. But after a while, the soft, lazy tunes and the childlike singing by Jeanette grew on me. There seems to be some layers hidden beneath this music that take some time to discover. Jeanette can definitely compete with some of the more well-known French singers like Marie Laforet and Françoise Hardy. 'Corazón de poeta' is a fantastic album and really worth giving a try, if you are interested in female singers with soft, sighing voices.

DB: Jeanette is probably one of the least ambitious, headstrong artists in our Europop encyclopedia. At least to me it seems she just takes things as they come without a real plan or eagerness to make it big. Her entire career comes across as a bit random. But when Michael Jackson calls with a request to do a duet she declines because she feels they 'lack the musical affinity' to record (or so the story goes, but it's a hilarious tale). Jeanette is an un-Spanish singer in the sense that in style she leans much more to the French 'sighing' girls like Hardy and Birkin then the more boisterous style Spanish singers (male and female) usually have. 'Porque te vas' is a great Europop song that should be present in any collection and has a righteous cult-status. But if you're into Eurogirl-pop it is certainly worthwhile to investigate further.

Recommended albums:

Pic-Nic (with Pic-Nic) - 1968

Palabras, promesas - 1973

♪♪ - Porque te vas - 1976

Todo es nuevo - 1977

♪♪♪♪ - Corazón de poeta - 1981

Reluz - 1983

Ojos en el sol - 1984

♪♪♪ - Loca por la música - 1989

Sigo rebelde (compilation, new versions) - 1996

♪♪♪♪♪= outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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