French singer-songwriter Gilbert Bécaud was an electrifying entertainer who won a devoted following in his homeland following his recording debut in the early 1950s. He co-wrote and recorded many songs that were popular in France and when translated into English were hits for artists including Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Neil Diamond. Born on the south coast of France, he learned to play the piano as a child and studied at the Conservatoire de Nice. World War II interrupted his education but when the conflict ended he performed professionally in nightclubs and began to write songs for singer Marie Bizet. As accompanist to singer Jacques Pills, he toured America in 1950 and wrote songs for Edith Piaf including her hit 'Je T'ai Dans la Peau'. He made his recording debut in 1953 with songs by other writers and began a long-running relationship with the Olympia Concert Hall where he went on to perform more than any other star. Bécaud had many domestic hits through the '50s including 'Le Jour où la Pluie Viendra', which topped the UK Charts in 1958 as 'The Day the Rains Came' by Jane Morgan. His '60s recordings included 'Je T'appartiens', which translated to 'Let It Be Me', was a hit for The Everly Brothers and covered later by artists including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. 'Et Maintenant?', written with Pierre Delanoé in 1961, proved to be his biggest hit and with the English lyric 'What Now My Love?' it was recorded by a large number of singers including Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Andy Williams. 'Seul Sur Son Étoile' became a 1967 hit for Vikki Carr as 'It Must Be Him', and in 1976 Bécaud had a top ten hit himself in the UK with the English-language song 'A Little Love and Understanding', also writing two hits for Neil Diamond - 'September Morn' (1980) and 'Love On the Rocks' (1981). He also wrote songs with Diamond for the American star's 1980 movie 'The Jazz Singer'. In other ventures, Bécaud created an operatic work titled 'L'Opéra d'Aran', which ran in Paris and toured Europe. He also acted in several French movies including 'Le Pays D'où Je Viens' (1956), 'Casino De Paris' (1957) and 'Croquemitoufle' (1959), composed a cantata titled 'L'enfant à l'Étoile', which was broadcast live on television on Christmas Eve in 1960, and he wrote a musical titled 'Madame Roza', which played in France and also on Broadway in 1986. A lifelong smoker, he learned he was suffering from lung cancer and in 1999 he did farewell shows at the Olympia and recorded a final album, 'Faut Faire Avec'. He died in Paris in 2001 aged 74.