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Barbara

Although Barbara certainly didn't like the thought of it, she actually was part of the legendary club formed by her friend Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, and Edith Piaf. A truly generous and humble woman, Barbara insisted on living up to her audience's expectations and was constantly questioning her success. As an artist, she achieved one of the most incredible communions with several generations of listeners. As a woman, Barbara contributed to major evolutions in mentalities in a mainly masculine music business. For that matter, having gained Georges Brassens' respect stands as a major feminist breakthrough in its own right. If "L'Aigle Noir" was to become the most vibrant echo to her memory, it would also sadly tend to crystallize common believes and clichés about her dark dresses and moods. When she passed away in 1997, France lost its last cabaret legend, thereby closing this illustrious chapter of its musical history. Her songbook includes many classics like "Göttingen," "Nantes," "Quand Ceux Qui Vont," "A Mourir Pour Mourir," "L'Aigle Noir," "Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu?," or "Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour."

Barbara was born Monique Andrée Serf in Paris on June 9, 1930. She lived a difficult childhood, living a complex relationship with her father and constantly moving from place to place, scars that would greatly influence her work and personality. She moved to Bruxelles as soon as possible to live and work in a cabaret under the name of Barbara Brody, after having seriously and successfully learned piano in France. Those were rough times for Barbara, who worked day and night, but eventually succeeded in her second audition at the famous Paris cabaret L'Ecluse in 1953. Settling in Paris, she kept working at L'Ecluse until she became the cabaret's main attraction in 1958, year she released her first French single, "La Chanteuse de Minuit." In 1959, she was ready to record her first LP, Barbara Chante Brassens. Brassens (not famous for his respect to womankind) didn't care too much for that newcomer but the two artists ended up getting along with time and conversation. The record was warmly received and rewarded by the Grand Prix du Disque, and in 1961 she released a second LP, Barbara Chante Jacques Brel. Brel, as it turned out, was to become a dear friend of hers. 1961 was also the year she learned about her father's death. He had gone missing for years and those were emotionally difficult times for Barbara, as told in her touching song "Nantes."

By 1963, she was multiplying performances, slowly drifting away from L'Ecluse to Bobino over the years, and had divorced her first husband, Claude Suys. 1964 was a major step in Barbara's career. She performed for the last time at L'Ecluse in February, released her first set of original material, Barbara Chante Barbara, and opened for Brassens at Bobino at the end of the year. In 1965, Barbara Chante Barbara was rewarded by the Académie Charles Cros Award, and she began touring alongside Serge Gainsbourg. In 1967, the year her mother passed away, she released a new LP, Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour (an homage to her beloved faithful audience), and all along the end of the '60s, she would go on increasingly large tours (expanding to Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Romania, U.S.S.R., Israel, Canada, and Japan -- in the '70s) and become a major name in the French music business.

She settled down in Percy-sur-Marne in 1973 and kept releasing records for the rest of her career, never quite settling down artistically or relying on success, touring larger and larger through the years (her discography is full of live albums), multiplying collaborations (William Sheller, Maurice Béjart, among many) and appearing in movies (like the Jacques Brel-directed Franz), stage plays, and television (Maritie et Gilbert Carpentier, Le Grand Echiquier). In the '80s, she became a strong backup to François Mitterand (the song "Regarde" was written to celebrate his 1981 election), who would decorate her with the Légion d'Honneur after he was re-elected in 1988. In 1997, Barbara was writing her biography when she was struck by a sudden pulmonary infection. On November 24, she passed away at the American Hospital of Neuilly-sur-Seine and was laid to rest in the Jewish part of Bagneux's cemetery on the 27th. One can barely keep count of how many live shows she performed, songs she sung, rewards she received, people she met, or how much love she gave her audience. Barbara left an everlasting imprint on French popular music, forever joining the legendary songwriters club alongside Piaf, Brel, Ferré, and Brassens. ~ Olivier Duboc
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: To Be Free

1. To Be Free

x

Track List: I Need You

1. I Need You

x

Track List: Lily Passion

Disc 1

1. Berlin

2. Il Tue

3. Cet Assassin

6. Bizarre

7. Tire Pas

8. Je Viens (Thème Du Héron)

9. Tango Indigo

10. David Song

11. Emmène-Moi

Disc 2

1. L'Ile Aux Mimosas

2. Campadile

3. Mémoire, Mémoire

4. Qui Est Qui

5. Qui Sait

6. Ma Plus Belle Histoire D'Amour

7. L'Ile Aux Mimosas

8. Lily Passion

x

Track List: Barbara Bobino 67

1. Toi

2. Madame (Live)

3. La Solitude

4. Parce Que Je T'Aime (Live)

5. Wenn Schon Sterben Dann Schonn Sterben (Live)

6. Au Bois De Saint-Amand

7. Au Coeur De La Nuit (Live)

8. Gottingen

9. Si La Photo Est Bonne

10. Une Petite Cantate (Live)

11. A Chaque Fois (Live)

12. Pierre

13. Y'Aura Du Monde (Live)

14. Ma Plus Belle Histoire D'Amour (En Public Bobino 67)

15. Le Mal De Vivre (Live)

16. Les Rapaces

x

Track List: Madame

1. De Jolies Putes Vraiment

2. Le 4 Novembre

3. Regardez Le Regard Des Hommes

4. Ils Etaient Cinq

5. Je Serai Douce

6. Le Passant

7. Amoureuse

8. La Nuit Tu Dors

9. Les Amis De Monsieur

10. La Vie D'Artiste

11. Elle Vendait Des P'Tits Gateaux

12. La Chanson De Margaret

x

Track List: Barbara Théâtre Des Variétés 1974

Disc 1

1. Intro

2. Chapeau Bas

3. Remusat (A Ma Mère) (Live-Théâtre Des Variétés)

4. Quand Ceux Qui Vont

5. Drouot (Live - Théâtre Des Variétés 74)

6. L'indien (Live - Théätre Des Variétés 74)

7. Marienbad

8. Y'Aura Du Monde

9. Perlimpinpin

10. Toi

11. Parce Que Je T'Aime

12. Mon Enfance

13. A Mourir Pour Mourir

14. Amours Incestueuses (Live-Théatre des Variétés)

Disc 2

1. La Louve

2. Le Minotaure

3. L'Enfant Laboureur

4. A Peine

5. Ma Plus Belle Histoire D'Amour

6. Hop Là

7. L'Homme En Habit Rouge

8. Mes Hommes

9. Nantes

10. Le Mal De Vivre

11. L'Aigle Noir

x

Track List: Les Indispensables De Barbara Versions Ooriginales

1. Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu

2. J'entends Sonner Les Clairons

3. Tu Ne Te Souviendras Pas

4. Le Verger De Lorraine

6. Chapeau Bas

7. Le Temps Des Lilas

9. Attendez Que Ma Joie Revienne

10. De Shangai A Bangkok

11. Nantes

12. Litanies Pour Un Retour

13. Les Flamandes

14. Je Ne Sais Pas

16. Il Nous Faut Regarder

17. La Marche Nuptiale

18. Pauvre Martin

19. La Legende De La Nonne

20. Penelope

21. La Femme D'hector

22. Il N'y A Pas D'amour Heureux

23. Vous Entendrez Parler De Lui

x

Track List: Dis, Quand Reviendras-Tu ?

1. Dis, Quand Reviendras-Tu ?

2. Nantes

3. Chapeau Bas

4. Le Temps Des Lilas

5. Ne Me Quitte Pas

6. Attendez Que Ma Joie Revienne

7. La Marche Nuptiale

8. Je Ne Sais Pas

9. Ce Matin-Là

10. De Shanghai À Bangkok

11. Les Flamandes

12. La Légende De La Nonne

13. Seul

14. Le Verger De Lorraine

15. Il N'y A Pas D'amour Heureux

16. Tu Ne Te Souviendras Pas

x

Track List: Olympia 1978

1. Intro musicale Pierre (Live à l'Olympia, 1978)

2. Chapeau bas (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

3. Fragson (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

4. Quand ceux qui vont (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

5. Au bois de Saint-Amant (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

6. La musique (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

7. Drouot (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

8. La mort (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

9. Marienbad (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

10. Les insomnies (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

11. Il automne (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

12. Perlimpinpin (Live Olympia 78)

13. Ma maison (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

14. Mon enfance (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

15. L'enfant laboureur (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

16. À peine (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

17. À mourir pour mourir (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

18. Une petite cantate (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

19. La solitude (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

20. Le soleil noir (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

21. L'amour magicien (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

22. Ma plus belle histoire d'amour (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

23. Le mal de vivre (Live à l'Olympia / 1978)

x

Track List: Master Serie Vol 2

1. L'Enfant Laboureur (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

2. Remusat (A Ma Mère) (Live-Théâtre Des Variétés)

3. Quand ceux qui vont (Live)

4. Il automne (Live)

5. Drouot (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

6. Amours Incestueuses (Live-Théatre des Variétés)

7. Chapeau Bas (Live-Olympia 74)

8. Regarde (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

9. Perlimpinpin (Live-Châtelet 87)

10. Raison D'Etat (Live Châtelet 87)

11. Du Sommeil A Mon Sommeil (Live Châtelet 87)

12. Mille Chevaux D'Ecume (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

13. Seule (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

14. Le Piano Noir (Live Châtelet 87)

15. Sid'amour à mort (Live au Théâtre du Châtelet / 1987)

16. L'Homme En Habit Rouge (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin / 1981)

x

Track List: Moje naj...

1. Hral na trubku

2. Srdce, kotva, kriz

4. Tajny dotyk

5. To co je vzacne

6. Alan

7. Ty si slnko, ja som dazd

8. Nech zije kralovna

9. Anjel II

10. Nestaci milovat

11. Los rayos de la luna

12. Posledny tanec

13. Buvaj dieta krasne

14. Ked pride laska

15. Si jediny

16. Sen

x

Track List: Barbara

1. Il Me Revient

2. A Force De

3. Le Couloir

4. Le Jour Se Lève Encore

5. Vivant Poème

6. Faxe Moi

7. Fatigue

8. Femme Piano

9. John Parker Lee

10. Sables Mouvants

11. Lucy

12. Les Enfants De Novembre

x

Track List: Master Serie

Disc 1

1. L'aigle Noir

2. Göttingen

3. À Mourir Pour Mourir

4. Pierre

5. Si La Photo Est Bonne

6. Mon Enfance

7. Le Soleil Noir

8. Une Petite Cantate

9. Nantes

10. Au Bois De Saint-Amand

11. Marienbad

12. La Dame Brune (Feat. Georges Moustaki)

13. Le Mal De Vivre

14. Les Insomnies

15. Mes Hommes

16. Ma Plus Belle Histoire D'amour

Disc 2

1. L'Enfant Laboureur (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

2. Remusat (A Ma Mère) (Live Théâtre Des Variétés)

3. Quand Ceux Qui Vont (Live À L'Olympia) (1978)

4. Il Automne (Live À L'Olympia) (1978)

5. Drouot (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

6. Amours Incestueuses (Live Théatre Des Variétés)

7. Chapeau Bas (Live Olympia) (1974)

8. Regarde (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

9. Perlimpinpin (Live Châtelet) (1987)

10. Raison D'Etat (Live Châtelet) (1987)

11. Du Sommeil A Mon Sommeil (Live Châtelet) (1987)

12. Mille Chevaux D'Ecume (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

13. Seule (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

14. Le Piano Noir (Live Châtelet) (1987)

15. Sid'amour À Mort (Live Au Théâtre Du Châtelet) (1987)

16. L'Homme En Habit Rouge (Live A L’Hippodrome De Pantin) (1981)

x

Track List: Chatelet 87 Vol 1

1. Perlimpinpin (Live)

2. Au bois de Saint-Amand (Live au Théâtre du Châtelet / 1987)

3. Du Sommeil A Mon Sommeil (Live Châtelet 87)

4. Raison D'Etat (Live Châtelet 87)

5. Petite Cantate (Live)

6. Il Automne (Live)

7. Qui Est Qui (Live Chatelet 87)

8. Sid'amour à mort (Live au Théâtre du Châtelet / 1987)

9. Drouot (Live)

10. Tire Pas (Live Châtelet 87)

11. Fragson (Live Châtelet 87)

12. A Mourir Pour Mourir (Live)

13. Mémoire Mémoire (Live - Châtelet 87)

14. Marienbad (Live - Châtelet 87)

15. L'Homme En Habit Rouge (Live Châtelet 87)

x

Track List: Robopopironica

1. We On The New Space Race

2. San Francisco

3. Advertisements

4. Moon Trip

5. Running

6. Forgave Ourselves

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