Ten iconic songs to rediscover the artist

Nothing had previously appreciated Marcel Molodje, born to a poor family in eastern Paris on September 16, 1922, for the illustrious and eclectic career he enjoyed. The son of a Kabyle mason and a Breton housekeeper, arrested for dementia when he was ten, became passionate about a love song: it became his refuge, his early livelihood – he sang at first with his brother – and soon he won the love song. Supporting two characters, the poet Jacques Prevert and the actor and playwright Jean-Louis Barrault. This dual sponsorship paved the way for him in cinema since 1936. He made an impression in films such as The Disappeared of Saint Agil (1938) by Christian Jacques, and later, We are all killers (1952) by André Cayatte. He has also started a writer’s career, publishing novels and biographies, and writing plays. After the war, it was singer Molodje who seduced Saint-Germain-des-Pres and set off. Does his pathological shyness have an effect on his unique voice, which is at the same time deep and theatrical but also slightly trembling? This shyness and humility prevented him from overreacting. But Molodje, touching his gentle and gloomy face, said he was very grateful for what life had brought him: “Singing was such an unusual occupation for me, that I could sing, and besides being paid I found it surprising and immediately provided by God,” Captivity one day on TV.

Like a Little Poppy (1951)


Romantic and poetic, it is the most symbolic song of Molodji. Written by the poet Raymond Asso in the summer of 1951 and composed by pianist Claude Valéry (also the author’s wife), it was proposed in October of the same year to Maurice Chevalier, who rejected it, considering it too far from his style. The story was told by Jacques Canetti, famous producer, artistic agent, talent scout, and president of the Paris club Les Trois Baudis where he appointed Molodje. Canetti, who was present when Aso introduced the song to Chevalier, suggested the composer give it to the 29-year-old, his latest musical. Curriculum Vitae moldy (2009) by Gilles Schlesser evokes the Canetti version and the Aso version that initially intended the song for the then-big star Yves Montand. whatever, Like a little poppy It would win the Grand Prix du Disque and become Molodje’s favorite song, which would advance her career.

One Day You’ll See (1954)


Now one of El Mouloudji’s greatest songs, this song was written by artist and composed by George Van Barres for the schematic film. Secrets of the Cove (1954) by Jean Delanoy. Molodje plays a truck driver who sings his beautiful song to a young woman, translated by Françoise Arnaul. The discographic version was recorded with an orchestra conducted by Michel Legrand. The song wasn’t an instant hit, but it made its way into the staples of El Moladji’s repertoire.

The Fugitive (1954)


This song with a powerful script and eventful destiny was written by Boris Vian and finalized with Harold Berg in February 1954 during the Indochina War. Its subject: a letter addressed to the authorities of his country by a man who refuses to comply with the order of mobilization he has just received. At first, Vian showed it to different artists, but no one wanted to risk singing this anti-war text. So it was Molodje, the artist firmly entrenched in the left, a Communist like his father, close to working-class circles, who launched himself. However, Boris Vian is asked to change some words. Peaceful and anti-military, notably refuses to sing the last sentences “Tell the gendarmes / I’m going to have a gun / And I know how to shoot.” The song will end like this: “Tell your gendarmes / I won’t have any weapons / And they can shoot.” With a combination of circumstances, the song was created on stage and recorded in May 1954, at the time of the fall of Dien Bien Phu, a decisive defeat of the French army. She caused a scandal and found herself banned from appearing on the national airwaves, and the censorship committee considered it to have undermined France’s image. The disc has been withdrawn from sale. fugitive It slows down El Mouladji’s career for some time, and is the subject of increasing interest from censors. But the title would over time establish itself as a monument to the French song, and would be addressed by many artists, from Serge Reggiani to Joan Baez, while the popular trio Peter, Paul and Mary would perform this anthem during the Vietnam War. …

The Complaint of the Infidels (1951)


Historically, this is his first major success as a singer. but it’s in a movie, Bonnadieu . house (1951) by Carlo Rimm (with Bernard Blair in the lead role), created by Molodje, playing a street singer. The complaint of the infidels. Echoing the plot of the movie, this song, “sad crisis”, Sounds like a warning to “Traitor’s wives” Who will know? “Despair and tears.” The title that appears on the film’s soundtrack is the subject of a 1956 second discography, and Molodje will play the street singer again for television in 1961.

Tessa’s Song (1954)


“If you die, the birds will be silent forever…” It is definitely one of the most beautiful and touching songs in El Moledji’s repertoire. It is a text by Jean Giroudaux set to the music of Maurice Joubert. In 1934, Giraudoux adapted the novel for the theater Tessa, the faithful mermaid (1924) by Margaret Kennedy. Released in December 1954 at the first 45 rpm of his career, Al-Moludji’s version was read in the 2009 biography of Jill Schlesser. The song combines two important themes of Al-Moludji, love and death, accompanied by three other titles including someday you will see.

Self-Portrait (1971)


“Atheist, thank God”, Molodje enjoys this text set to the music of composer and singer Chris Carroll. “Catholic to my mother, Muslim to my father”, The singer attacks in a family portrait sculpted with biting humor, in which he doesn’t lose sight of the vicissitudes of his journey. When it was released, the song was a huge hit in France after May 68.

The Evil of Paris (1951)


Molodje began interpreting other people’s texts first by writing and singing his own. In June 1951, the evil of paris (whose music is signed by Amédée Borsari) is the first song he defends on stage as a composer, during a performance on the theme of the capital with several guests. That evening, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, he was spotted by principal producer Jacques Canetti who invited him to perform at Trois-Baudettes. Themes of Paris and nostalgia are very present in Al-Moullaji’s work. We also find them in the songs he authored Along the streets of Paris (Music of Charles Henry, 1957) more than those he embraced as a performer, as Watch Paris again by Charles Trinette (Molodge has recorded several songs from Le Fou chantant, also revisited Georges Brassens, Barbara…).

The Forty Beatles (1965)


Influenced by the yéyé wave as most of the great figures of French song, Molodje created his own label in the 1960s, but he did not hesitate to continue singing. Set on music by Gaby Wagenheim, The Beatles 40 Here’s a humorous response to the new stars who have taken over the music industry: “When we see all these young men / With the wind on their backs / Who shoves us into the hospice / We tell ourselves it’s really worth it / Go back to Alsace and Lorraine for them”, The 43-year-old singer, spokesperson for “Thawed Poppy”, subordinate “wheat without gold”, subordinate “empty”, subordinate Distinctive blue flowers

Must Live (1973)


Another fruit of the collaboration between Al-Mouloudji and composer Chris Carroll, must live Today it can be considered a statement of resilience. Her message is simple and powerful at the same time: live in spite of everything, in spite of the torments, disappointments in love, the passage of time, our lost illusions, our death, our mortality. “In spite of the fact that a dead child in us / Sometimes very little still smiles / Like an old dream is dying / He must live … “, Al-Muldji sings on an animated text.

Bot Complaint (1955)


The years of Jawhara Al-Mouldji’s youth, hill lament It is a song written by Jean Renoir and composed by George Van Barres. Initially, she appeared in the film’s soundtrack French Kankan by Renoir, translated by Cora Focker. Molodje will make it a classic French song. It will be taken up over time by various French artists, but also international: singer Rufus Wainwright will interpret it in the film. red mill (2001) by Baz Luhrmannn, but also on stage.

Bonus: One Day I’ll Go (1973)


Finally, a song as touching as Trust, Saying Farewell, written by El Mouloudji and composed by Jean Moussi. There it shines through all the melancholy of the author just past the fifties.

There will be plenty of other nicknames for you to taste, like my destiny gypsy (Jacques Ferrer / Marc Herral, 1955), very beautiful ruby heart (Jack Prevert / Henry Crowola, 1959) and Six Fallen San Francisco Leaves (Music by Gabby Waggenheim, 1969), Shameless everything falls down (Music by Chris Carroll, 1973) Or of course, love love love (Yves Stéphane / Jacques Ariel, 1963), a song that came out of oblivion with a supermarket sign to announce the place of my ad… It’s time to rediscover Molodge.

> To watch in Paris, at the Hall de la Chanson: “Comme un p’tit coquelicot”, a musical performance for the centenary of Molodje, Friday 16 September, Sunday 18 and 25 September 2022.

> To listen and view: “100 Years Old Born”, 3 CDs (75 songs) plus DVD of INA TV’s exciting archive (2h05 shows), at Mercury/Universal. The same label also releases a compilation vinyl album (12 tracks), Eternal Romance.


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