Birthday: October 24, 1927
Died At Age: 74
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Gilbert Becaud, Bécaud, Gilbert, François Gilbert Silly
Born in: Toulon
Famous as: Singer
Spouse/Ex-: Kitty St. John, Monique Nicolas
children: Anne Bécaud, Emily Bécaud, Gaya Bécaud, Jennifer Bécaud, Philippe Bécaud
Died on: December 18, 2001
place of death: Paris
Gilbert Becaud is undoubtedly one of the few eminent individuals who revolutionized French music. After a brief stint with the French army, this man decided to completely devote his time towards his passion. This prominent man belonging to the field of music started off penning songs in 1948 and since then his career just soared higher and higher. His path-breaking performance at a musical venue made the crowd go berserk in excitement, which was not something which happened during its time, earning him the title of a ‘Monsieur 100,000 Volts’. During the early days of his career, Gilbert proved his prowess as a musician through singles like ‘Les Croinx’ and ‘Mes Mains’. Since then, the musician has known for being the genius behind more than a dozen albums. A few of these include ‘Alors Raconte’, ‘Le Bateau Blanc’, ‘Le Retour’ and ‘Ensemble’. Apart from sticking to penning songs and composing albums, which was his forte, Becaud even ventured into doing opera comedies and musicals. Although he did not produce prominent works during the 1980s and 90s, his earlier songs continued being popular and were compiled into different albums. One of his songs even featured in a movie titled ‘Leon’, as a tribute to his musical genius
Childhood & Early Life
Gilbert was born on October 24, 1927 in a city named Toulon, located in the South Eastern region of France. He was originally christened Francois Gilbert Leopold Silly. He developed an interest towards Piano at a really young age.
His father ignored their family, after which his mother got involved in a relationship with a man named Louis Becaud. It was Louis who played a great role in the upbringing of the lad as well as his other siblings.
After earning a reputation of being a child prodigy, the singer enrolled at ‘Nice Conservatoire’, when he was hardly nine years old. He continued studying at this institution for a few more years.
In 1942, when Gilbert was still in his early teens, he discontinued studies to become a part of the ‘French Resistance’, one of the most famous movements of the World War-II.
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He met musician Maurice Vidalin in 1948 and this encounter encouraged Francois to write a few songs. He also collaborated with another musician named Marie Bizet during this time. The trio worked together for the next two years.
During the late 1940’s alone, this musician wrote many songs which went on to become chartbusters. He also met a songwriter named Pierre Delanoe, who later went on to become a collaborator for many of Gilbert’s works.
Soon after, Francois happened to meet Jacques Pills, known to be a good singer and pianist. After their first interaction in 1950, the duo developed a great rapport and even went on many musical tours together.
This musician then got a chance to interact with a well-known Cabaret singer of the time, Edith Piaf. The two hit it off really well and soon after, Gilbert penned a song titled ‘Je Ta’i dans la peau’ and pitched it to the lady. Impressed by the lyrics, Edith and Gilbert work together and as a result, the song went on to become a big chartbuster.
After achieving considerable success, the singer officially adopted the name Gilbert Becaud in 1952 and went on to be known worldwide with the same name.
It was around the same time that this singer was approached by an officer of the French Civil service named Louis Amade. Although Louis was in a different profession altogether, he had a fiery passion towards music. From then on, Amade penned many songs for Gilbert over several years.
The singer got two of his singles recorded in a studio for the first time in 1953. These songs which went on to become popular were ‘Les Croix’ and ‘Mes Mains’.The next year he bagged an opportunity to perform at a music venue called ‘L’ Olympia’. The place was closed for a really long time and when it was finally revived after a period of 25 years, the proprietor, Bruno Coaquatrix felt that Gilbert should perform there first.
The excited crowd were mesmerized by his performance and they even went on to vandalize the venue, which was something unusual at that time. Soon after, Gilbert earned the famous title ‘Monsieur 100,000 Volts’ due to the impact he had made on music lovers with his extraordinary talent.
The year 1961 saw the release of one of Gilbert’s most popular singles, titled ‘Et Maintenant’. The song was well-received instantly and went on to become a great chartbuster.
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He then penned the song ‘It Must Be Him’ for the renowned singer Vikki Carr. The song went on to become a massive hit and Gilbert’s creativity was well-appreciated.
The singer also was a part of a show which was aired by the ‘American Broadcasting Company’ in 1968. A couple of songs which were performed during this event ‘The Day the Rains Came’ and ‘Nathalie’.
His single, ‘A little love and understanding’, which released during the 1970s, became a chartbuster and was his only significant work of the decade.
In 1982, he joined hands with the Canadian singer Martine St. Clair for a duet titled ‘L’amour est Mort’.
A massive crowd, consisting of 4000 people had attended the live performance at ‘L’ Olympia’ by Becaud. The venue was opened to crowd after twenty-five long years and their reactions to the gig were phenomenal. The show brought immense popularity and acclaim to this talented artist, earning him the moniker ‘Monsieur 100,000 Volts’.
Awards and Achievements
Gilbert was felicitated with the ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’ Honneur’ in 1974 at the Olympia, where he had once enthralled the audience with his incredible performance.
He was honoured with a gold medal in 1980 by the ‘SACEM’, an association of songwriters and composers, for his outstanding contribution towards the field of music.
Personal Life & Legacy
The musician tied the knot with a woman named Monique Nicolas in 1952. Gilbert later fathered three children, namely Gaya Philippe and Anne. However, this relationship didn’t last too long.
He was also involved in a relationship with a woman named Janet Woollacoot. The duo became parents to a baby girl named Jennifer during the 1960’s.
Becaud then entered the wedlock with a woman named Kitty St John in 1976. It’s believed that the couple had already become parents to a baby girl named Emily, prior to their marriage.
This famous singer and songwriter succumbed to cancer on December 18, 2001. Gilbert was around seventy four years old at the time of his death.