Julien Clerc

Although at times he's struggled to move beyond his early reputation as a "chanteur de charme" (a lightweight singer for women), Julien Clerc has had one of the lengthiest and most successful careers in French pop. Born to wealthy parents on October 4, 1947, Clerc grew up listening to his father's classical music and French singers such as Edith Piaf and Georges Brassens. He began playing piano at 6 and by 13 he was obsessively learning music from the radio. Over the course of his secondary and higher education, Clerc met two of his most frequent songwriters, Maurice Vallet and Etienne Roda-Gil, and after he co-wrote the protest song “La Cavalerie” with the former, Clerc landed a seven-year record deal with Pathé-Marconi. Released as a single in 1968, the song was the first of several Number 1 hits that launched Clerc to pop stardom in France. Over the next couple of years, Clerc further boosted his profile with performances opening for Gilbert Bécaud and a starring role in the French version of the musical Hair. By the mid-1970s Clerc was yearning to shed his reputation as a teen idol in favor of a more mature image and, following a break-up with France Gall, released the bleak No. 7 (1974), his most critically-acclaimed album up to that point. After he widened his circle of collaborators on the follow-up, 1976's A mon âge et à l'heure qu'il est, however, things began to sour with Roda-Gil and the pair had a very public falling out that would take a decade and a half to be resolved. Clerc continued to keep up a steady stream of releases well into the 21st century and in 2017 put out his 24th studio album, À nos amours. Two years later, he dropped a collection of duets and toured Europe and Canada before the arrival of Terrien (2021), which featured songwriting credits by Bernard Lavilliers, Carla Bruni, and Clara Luciani, and production by Marlon B.

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