Sacha Distel R.I.P.

The Burt Bacharach Forum is a board to discuss the music and career of composer Burt Bacharach and performers associated with his songs.

Moderator: mark

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Sacha Distel R.I.P.

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:31 pm

Dionne must be taking this very hard, they were more then life-long friends, her mother and sister are'nt well either. But tonight she'll face the music and perform in New York City.


Sacha Distel dies
(Filed: 22/07/2004)


French singer and jazz guitarist Sacha Distel has died after a long illness, aged 71.


Sacha Distel with the cast of Chicago in London in 2000
Distel worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Liza Minelli, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick.

After his first hit Scoubidou in 1958, he recorded more than 200 songs and was immensely popularity around the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

His first major success in Britain came in 1971 with Raindrops keep fallin' on my head, and he went on to become a regular figure on television variety shows where he personified Gallic good looks and charm.

Born in January 1933 into a musical family in Paris - his uncle was the band leader Ray Ventura - Distel entered the capital's post-war jazz scene and took guitar lessons from Henri Salvador. After a spell in New York, he returned to become an accompanist for Juliette Greco.

He did not start singing until the late 1950s, by which point he was well known to the public thanks to his romantic liaison with Brigitte Bardot.

His hits over the next years included Oh quelle nuit, Le soleil de ma vie - a version of Stevie Wonder's You Are the Sunshine of My Life - and Mon beau chapeau.

His song La belle vie was reworked by Tony Bennett as The Good Life, and more than 250 versions have been recorded around the world.

In the 1960s he hosted his own Sacha show on French television, which was responsible for discovering many young performing artists, but by the 1970s his popularity was on the wane at home, and it was in Britain that his career enjoyed a revival.

Distel was married to the former ski champion Francine Breaud. His funeral will take place on Saturday, in a private location.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:34 pm

PARIS (Reuters) - French crooner Sacha Distel, whose seductive good looks won him millions of female fans around the world, died on Thursday, his record company said.
Distel, 71, who worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Liza Minelli, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick, had been ill for some time.

Universal Music France said on its Web site Distel would be buried in private, in line with his last wishes.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:35 pm

Death of Distel
by: SJ Reporter

Sacha Distel
French singer Sacha Distel best known for a string of hits during the 1960s and 1970s has died at the age on 71.

The Paris-born entertainer whose mother was interned at a Nazi camp during the Second World War started out in music as a jazz guitarist when he was 16.

Over a career spanning more than 50 years, Distel was a sex symbol to women all across the world and worked with a diverse range of performers including including Liza Minelli and Dionne Warwick.

He recorded more than 200 songs with a cover of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head being his most famous hit.

Earlier this year, Distel took part in the Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs in which he revealed details of surviving as a Jew during World War Two and the impact the war had on him and his family.

According to his record company, Distel will be buried at a private funeral in France.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:37 pm

Hearthrob French singer Sacha Distel dies
Thu 22 July, 2004 19:10



PARIS (Reuters) - French singer Sacha Distel, whose seductive good looks won him millions of female fans around the world, has died, says his record company.

Distel, who died aged 71 at the home of relatives in the south of France, had been ill for some time.

Universal Music France said on its Web site on Thursday that Distel would be buried in private, according to his last wishes. LCI television said the singer would be buried on Saturday in the Paris region.

The epitome of a suave, sophisticated Frenchman, Distel enjoyed a career stretching over almost half a century, during which he worked with some of the biggest names in showbusiness in France, Britain and the United States.

Among the international stars he worked with were Liza Minelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick. Distel is also credited with launching the career of British singer Petula Clark in France.

Son of an engineer and a mother who trained in the Paris Conservatory, Distel was also a composer of note, writing "The Good Life", a standard that was swiftly recorded by legends Tony Benett and Frank Sinatra.

Distel had a huge following in Britain, where his hit single "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" topped the charts for 34 weeks. The Frenchman had his own show on British television and performed for Queen Elizabeth on three occasions.

He was also an outstanding jazz guitarist, winning the title of best guitarist of the year from the respected Jazz Hot and Jazz Magazine.

And as befits someone with a reputation as one of the best-looking men in the world, Distel was also romantically linked to the 1960s icon of French female beauty, Brigitte Bardot.

Revered in his native France too, Distel was awarded one of the country's highest honours, the Legion of Honour, in 1997.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:46 pm


warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:47 pm

Hearthrob French crooner Sacha Distel dies

By Jon Boyle

PARIS (Reuters) - French crooner Sacha Distel, whose seductive good looks won him legions of female
fans around the world, has died, says his record company said. He was 71.

Distel died at a family home near St Tropez in the south of France after having been ill for some time. A
private funeral is expected on Saturday in the Paris region.

Although the cause of death was not immediately known, the singer was hit by thyroid cancer in 1970
and skin cancer a decade later.

"Sacha Distel had 'swing' under his skin," Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said in a tribute released
by his office on Thursday.

"For him, it was always 'The Good Life', the symbol of good humour and charm," Raffarin said in
reference to one of Distel's hit songs that won success on both sides of the Atlantic.

The epitome of the suave, sophisticated Frenchman, Distel enjoyed a career stretching over almost half
a century during which he sang, danced and played jazz guitar with some of the biggest names in
showbusiness.

Among the stars he worked with were Liza Minelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick.
He is also credited with launching British singer Petula Clark in France.

In Britain, his television shows were such a hit he performed for Queen Elizabeth on three occasions.
British fans lapped up the ageless singer in the role of lawyer Billy Flynn, the "silver-tongued prince of the
courtroom", in the stage musical "Chicago" in London's West End.

"It's a very funny love story between England and me," Distel told one interviewer. "Ask any French
person, and they will say I'm not at all a typical representative of the average Frenchman.

"Maybe in England I'm the Frenchman they wish more French people could be like."

CHART-TOPPER

Son of an engineer and a mother who trained in the Paris Conservatory, Distel was a composer of note
too, penning "The Good Life", a standard that was swiftly recorded by Tony Bennett and Distel's own hero
-- Frank Sinatra.

Distel enjoyed his biggest hit in Britain, where "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" topped the charts
for 34 weeks, his record company Universal Music France said on its Web site.

Best known for his songs, Distel was also an outstanding jazz guitarist, winning the title best guitarist of
the year from the respected Jazz Hot and Jazz Magazine.

"It's a terrible blow for music," said French singer Henri Salvador, credited with importing rock and roll
into France.

"I taught him his first chords, which he learnt very quickly. He became an excellent guitarist, and excellent
musician and a marvellous composer."

In his native France, where his "Sacha Show" launched a new generation of stars, Distel was awarded
one of the country's highest honours, the Legion of Honour, in 1997.


Reuters

Guest

Postby Guest » Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:40 pm

Why has everything always to be about Ms. Warrick. The man was happily married. I find the innuendo extremely distasteful.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:46 pm

Britain's favourite French crooner dies in St-Tropez

Jon Henley in Paris
Friday July 23, 2004
The Guardian

Sacha Distel, the quintessential Gallic crooner, died yesterday at the home of his parents-in-law near Saint-Tropez in the south of France, his record company said.
A spokesman for Universal Music France said the singer, France's best-known playboy charmer through most of the 1960s and 70s, died "following a long illness", the standard French euphemism for cancer. He was 71.

In the course of a 45-year international career launched in part by a brief 1958 affair with Brigitte Bardot, Distel performed with some of the biggest names in music, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Liza Minnelli, Quincy Jones and Dionne Warwick.

Britain always had a soft spot for him. Distel first hit number one in the UK charts - and stayed there for 34 weeks - with Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head in 1971, after headlining at the London Palladium and Prince of Wales theatre.

He topped the bill at no fewer than three royal command performances. On the back of his successful Sacha Show on French TV, he became a regular guest - and frequent host - on British chat shows. Distel's most recent appearance in Britain was in 2001, as Billy Flynn in the hit musical Chicago.

Distel, as much the face of French music as Johnny Hallyday, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Aznavour, had a succession of huge French hits beginning with perhaps his best-known song of all, Scoubidou, and continuing with Scandale dans la Famille, Monsieur Cannibale and Chanson Bleue. But he also turned out hit Gallic versions of American standards.

Born in Paris in 1933, Distel was the son of Leo Distel, an engineer, and Andrée Ventura, a concert-trained pianist and the sister of a successful French prewar bandleader, Ray Ventura.

The young Sacha as good as grew up backstage with his uncle, who ensured that one of his musicians - Henri Salvador, who had a number one hit in France as late as last summer - gave him his first guitar lessons at the age of 13.

In 1948, Distel was in the audience at Dizzy Gillespie's first concert in Paris and was bitten by the jazz bug. He was named best amateur jazz guitarist in 1951. Two years later he was voted top professional jazz guitarist, a title he held for the next seven years while accompanying the likes of Juliette Greco, then flourishing in the clubs of St-Germain-des-Pres.

His first album, French New Sound, was recorded with Lionel Hampton in 1955 and he featured as a guitarist on the legendary jazz album Afternoon in Paris, recorded by the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1955.

Desperate to launch himself on a singing career in the wake of his idol Frank Sinatra, Distel finally took the plunge in 1958 with Scoubidou, which became a youth anthem in France and remains one of his best-known hits. By the next summer he had an invitation to appear on the Ed Sullivan show.

Distel married a French downhill skiing champion, Francine Bréaud, in 1963, and is survived by her and by their two sons.

· He will be buried in a private ceremony in France next week.

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:47 am

France remembers a showbiz legend

By Hugh Schofield
in Paris


In Britain Sacha Distel will always be remembered as a stalwart of Saturday night shows and royal gala performances.


Distel continued to perform in his later years
He was the tanned Gallic charmer who - along with Charles Aznavour - carried out a brief cross-Channel invasion of the UK's television screens in the 1970s.

In France, memories go back further - to the guitarist of renown who played with the greats in the exciting jazz scene of post-war Paris.

He was also the consort of Brigitte Bardot, who had a string of hits in the 1960s, and the host of the iconic Sacha Show, which ran for ten years and was the launch-pad for many a career in French showbiz.

French newspapers carried pages of tributes on Friday, with photographs from his glory days and reminiscences from friends and fans.

Jazz star

Liberation was one of many to make the point that if Distel is best remembered today as a variety crooner, his roots were in serious music.

For many years he was regarded as the best jazz guitarist in the land.


Distel's song Scoubidou was a hit in 1958
"At a time when in Europe guitarists - outside the gypsy choruses of Django Reinhardt - were seen as beyond salvation, Distel had the balls to cross the Atlantic in search of influences - like the fluid playing of Barney Kessel and Jimmy Raney - which no-one over here had even heard of," it said.

Indeed Sacha Distel was far more than just a set of perfect looks.

Born into a musical family in Paris, his uncle was the band leader Ray Ventura, and he took his first guitar lessons from Henri Salvador - a crooner who is still going strong today.

"He asked me what the guitar was for, and I said, 'To get girls!' And that was that," Salvador was widely quoted as saying on Friday.

"Already when he was very young, he was incredibly good looking. The girls used to swoon in front of him."

After the war, Distel immersed himself in jazz. He went to New York and on his return was the guitar accompanist for Juliette Greco.

Mass appeal

He only moved into song in 1958, with his smash hit Scoubidou - a working of a Peggy Lee number whose title was intended as a French variant on the American scat line Shoo Bidoo Wa.


Distel (right) was a heart-throb to women around the world

That was the beginning of his mass appeal in France - and he is most widely remembered in France today for his commercial hits of the 1960s and 70s, songs like Tu Es Le Soleil De Ma Vie - Stevie Wonder's You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - which have gone out of fashion now but which never fail to touch a chord of nostalgia.

The other story which French people remember is less happy - Distel's 1985 car crash in central France in which he was found to have been responsible for nearly killing his travelling companion, the actress Chantal Nobel.

As he said in a recent interview quoted in France-Soir: "It is a millstone which I will bear round my neck for the rest of my life."

But oddly, Distel's most lasting legacy may be something totally unconnected with music.

So successful was his hit Scoubidou, the word has entered the French language.

It is the name given to a children's game - invented around the time of the song's release and still very popular in France - in which pieces of coloured plastic cord are twined together to make figurines. Innocent days!

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:52 am

Sacha Distel
Smooth-voiced entertainer who brought the charm of the chanson from
Paris to London

by Patrick O'Connor
London Guardian, July 23, 2004

The international entertainer Sacha Distel, who has died aged 71
after a long illness, provided the safe face of French masculine
charm in the 1960s. While his countrymen Serge Gainsbourg and Johnny
Hallyday appeared subversive and dangerous, Sacha -- with his boyish
grin and courteous charm -- appealed not only across the generations
but to audiences in Britain and America.

His father, Léo Distel, was a White Russian soldier who fled the
Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and walked all the way to Paris. He
established himself in an engineering firm, and married Andrée
Ventura, a talented pianist and sister of Ray Ventura, who, with his
group Les Collégiens, was one of the top bandleaders in France before
the second world war.

Their son was born in Paris, and grew up in a world full of backstage
gossip and music. The family was partly Jewish, and although Ray
Ventura went to America during the war, his sister was not so
fortunate. In 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo and interned in a
German camp. Although she survived, and was reunited with her family
after the liberation of France in 1944, their son Sacha always said
that this traumatic experience left him with a deep insecurity for
the rest of his life.

In 1948, he heard the jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's first Paris
concert, which proved a revelation -- he promptly abandoned piano for
the guitar. Ray Ventura's band had many of the best instrumentalists
in France in its line-up, and in his teens Sacha started to take
lessons with the famous guitarist and composer Henri Salvador (author
of Rock And Rollmops and Le Blues Du Dentiste). In 1951, Sacha won
first prize in a nationwide competition for guitar, and went on to
hold the top place three years running.

His first visit to New York, in 1952, proved another inspiration. The
fusion of modern American jazz and the postwar style of French song --
what became known as the Saint Germain sound -- suited Distel's
talents. He accompanied Juliette Gréco, the greatest chanteuse of the
day, and also worked with Georges Brassens, for many the most
inspired songwriter-singer of the 1950s.

Distel made his first recordings as an instrumentalist in the middle
of that decade, with Lionel Hampton (French New Sound) and the Modern
Jazz Quartet (Afternoon In Paris). A shortlived romance with Brigitte
Bardot in 1958 put his photograph on the cover of every French fan
magazine, and shortly afterwards he began his career as a vocalist.
One of his first singles was a tribute to Bardot, entitled Brigitte À
Jamais.

It was the French version of an American hit, Scoubidou, in 1959,
that catapulted Distel to the top. The song became what one historian
called "L'hymne de la jeunesse en France". Dozens of other songs
followed, among them O Quelle Nuit, Personnalités, Mon Beau Chapeau,
Le Boogie Du Bébé, Scandale Dans La Famille, Ces Mots Stupides and
L'Incendie À Rio. In 1967, he recorded Stevie Wonder's You Are The
Sunshine with Brigitte Bardot, as Le Soleil De Ma Vie.

In 1963, Distel married the alpine ski champion Francine Bréaud, and
the following year composed and recorded one of his greatest
successes, La Bell e Vie. At first only the B-side of a 45rpm single,
it was taken up by Frank Sinatra and others as The Good Life.

In 1971, the French version of Burt Bacharach's Raindrops Keep
Falling On My Head, a song featured in the film Butch Cassidy And The
Sundance Kid, became an international hit for Distel, and launched
him on a second career as a television music-show host. He had
already had a success in France with a TV programme, Guitares et
Copains, but the Sacha show became a fixture for several years.
During the 1970s, he spent more time abroad -- especially in Britain -
- than in France, but as the fashions changed he returned to his
first love, the guitar, and recorded Ma Premiere Guitare, and, in
1983, Ma Guitare And All That Jazz.

Distel nursed an ambition to write a stage musical about the life of
Maurice Chevalier, and although this was never achieved, his career
resembled Chevalier's in some respects. Both developed a separate
international persona, while holding on to a more specialised
repertory and image for French viewers and listeners.

In 2001, Distel appeared as the crooked lawyer Billy Flynn in the
London production of Chicago, and last year he brought out two new
CDs. True to form, one was a collection of American standards, in
which he was joined by Dionne Warwick and Liza Minnelli, the other a new set of French songs, which won him a final accolade from the French music industry.
He was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1997.
_____

Sacha Distel, singer and entertainer, born January 29 1933; died July
22 2004

warbachavid
Posts: 268
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:30 pm

Postby warbachavid » Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:49 am

Sacha Distel
Singer and romantic icon who became a latter-day Maurice Chevalier

by Spencer Leigh
London Independent, July 24, 2004

Sacha Distel frequently complained that he was uncomfortable with his
image as the epitome of the French heart-throb. His fame was a two-
edged sword, and although he had the talent to do more substantial
work -- he was an exceptional jazz guitarist and wrote the standard
"The Good Life" -- he rarely pursued these interests. His output was
mostly lightweight and rarely captured the depth of Brel, Gainsbourg
or Aznavour. Many of his albums have not been reissued on CD, and as
a result, there are more Sacha Distel LPs in charity shops than
record stores today.

Distel's father, Leon, came from Odessa and, in 1917, he escaped the
Bolshevik revolution by walking to Paris. With the same
determination, he established himself in the city, opening an
electrical store and marrying into a musical family. His wife,
Andrée, who was Jewish, was a talented pianist and a graduate of the
Paris Conservatoire and her brother became a noted bandleader. Ray
Ventura et ses Collégiens were very popular and, as Ventura still
lived with his parents, the young Distel, who was born in 1933, would
watch him play and compose.

With the Nazi occupation of France, Distel's mother was arrested and
imprisoned outside Paris. For two years, she lived in fear of her
life. His father went into hiding and Ray Ventura went to America,
but the family's maid took Distel to her sister some 200 miles away
and he was educated in a Catholic college.

Following the liberation of Paris, Distel lived with his grandparents
until he could be reunited with his parents. When he was 14, he
switched from piano to guitar and he was given lessons by the up and
coming Henri Salvador, who had played with his uncle. Within a few
years he was winning awards and, for five years, he was voted the
best jazz guitarist in France. He was praised by the Modern Jazz
Quartet and he made an album with their leader, John Lewis, "An
Afternoon in Paris" (1956).

After graduating in philosophy, Distel worked for his uncle's music
publishing company. In 1956 Ray Ventura was publishing the soundtrack
music for "Et Dieu créa... la femme" ("...And God Created Woman") --
the film, set in St Tropez, that established Bardot as a sex symbol
to rival Marilyn Monroe. This was boosted by Bardot's off-screen
performance as her liaisons included the film's director, Roger
Vadim, and its leading actor, Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Distel loved the jazz music on the Left Bank and, when he went to New
York, he played in various jazz clubs. He accompanied Buddy Greco in
America and Juliette Gréco in France and, from time to time, found
himself on stage with such jazz greats as Miles Davis and Lionel
Hampton. An American arranger and songwriter, Billy Byers, who worked
for Ventura, suggested that he should sing his own songs and
gradually he decided to do this.

In 1958 Distel invited Bardot to his birthday party in St Tropez and,
from that evening, Bardot had a new beau. They were pursued by the
paparazzi, but, as with so many celebrities, they encouraged the
attention. They were invited on to "The Ed Sullivan Show", but Bardot
was not interested in a walk-on appearance. Distel, wanting to
further his career, accepted and, although he performed a song, he
found that Sullivan only remarked on his being the most envied man in
the world.

The fame passed to incredulity when it became known that Distel had
rejected Bardot's proposal of marriage, largely because his career
would always be an appendage to hers. She ended the affair in a press
release in 1959. Distel later said, "I don't regret one moment of my
relationship with Brigitte, but I do regret that the newspapers made
me look like nothing but a playboy when I was making a good living as
a music publisher."

Meanwhile, Distel's own singing career, helped by the publicity, was
taking off in a big way. He topped the French charts with his own
song, "Scoubidou" (1958) and in June 1959, he had four records in the
French Top 10 -- "Oui oui oui" (1), "Ce serait dommage" (7), "Oh
quelle nuit" (8) and, still in the charts after several months,
"Scoubidou" (10). In 1960 he had another substantial success
with "Mon beau chapeau". Being multilingual, this led to such
incongruities as Distel, a Frenchman, at the top of German charts
with a German version of an American song with a Spanish
title, "Adios Amigo" (1962). Distel also recorded in Spanish and
Italian.

In the UK he was less fortunate as "Love Is Like a Violin" (1960) was
totally outsold by the version by Ken Dodd, hardly anyone's idea of a
romantic icon.

Considering his appearance -- suntanned, slim and with the clearest
of green eyes -- it is surprising that Distel made so few film
appearances. In 1960 he appeared as an ex-con in "Les Mordus" ("The
Fanatics"). In 1961 he was asked to write a song, "La Belle vie", for
the film "Les Sept péchés capitaux" ("The Seven Deadly Sins"), and
after Jack Reardon had written an English lyric, "The Good Life", it
was recorded by Tony Bennett. The song appears to propagate the
playboy life ("The good life full of fun seems to be the ideal"), but
then takes another direction and shows that lasting love can never be
found that way.

And Distel himself was kissing the good life goodbye. He wanted to
marry someone who would be a good mother to his children. He found
her in the Olympic skier Francine Bréaud and they married in 1963. He
never strayed, telling reporters, "Anything I want in a woman I can
get at home." They had two sons and he doted on his family.

In 1967 he and the actress Joanna Shimkus recorded a French-language
version of "Something Stupid", "Ces mots stupides", with great
success.

In 1969 the producers of the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid" realised that not enough had been done to establish the
relationship between Paul Newman and Katharine Ross. They added an
idyllic countryside scene with the two leads riding the same bicycle
and they showed it to the composer, Burt Bacharach. Newman's
character had troubles all around him but this was a carefree moment
and Bacharach passed a working title, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My
Head", to his lyricist, Hal David. The song, retaining that title,
was performed by B.J. Thomas but it was a cover version by Distel
that was successful in the UK. It made the Top Ten and was on the
charts for six months. Distel's French-language version, "Toute la
pluie tombe sur moi", was a major hit in France.

Distel did not have further UK hits, although he recorded two more
Bacharach/David songs for singles, "To Wait for Love" and "I'll Never
Fall in Love Again". However, he was essentially an albums
artist. "Sacha Distel" (1970) was a big seller and others were "Close
to You" (1972), "Love Is All" (1976), "Forever and Ever" (1978),
and "From Sacha with Love" (1979). The titles tell the story: Distel
became a major concert attraction, playing the attentive lover,
emphasising his accent and appealing to the same market as Engelbert
Humperdinck. Emphasising his charm, he hosted the Miss World contest
in 1978.

Few French stars have succeeded in English-language countries the way
that Distel did and he can be viewed as the Seventies version of
Maurice Chevalier.

More often than not, Distel was performing and recording contemporary
standards such as "You Are the Sunshine of My Life", which he
recorded with Bardot. "Michelle" was an odd choice, as the song
incorporated Paul McCartney's schoolboy French as he romanced an au
pair. He often worked with his friend Petula Clark, and they recorded
a single together, "Lead Me On" (1973). He would also record some six duets with Dionne Warwick.

Distel had several television series in the UK, notably "Sacha and
Guests". In 1975 he appeared in a TV adaptation of a Noël Coward
play, "Fallen Angels", with Susannah York and Joan Collins. In 1978
he found success as a presenter on BBC Radio 2, and he evoked
memories of his past with the albums, "My Guitar and All That Jazz"
(1983) and "Dédicaces" (1991).

In 1985 Distel's Porsche went out of control as he was driving to a
stock-car championship with the actress Chantal Nobel. The actress
was in a coma for a month. Distel was fined and given a suspended
sentence and, racked with guilt, became very depressed.

Four years ago Distel played the lawyer Billy Flynn in the West End
production of "Chicago", although his performance was as much about
Sacha Distel as Billy Flynn. When he recorded a new album, "When I
Fall in Love", he wanted to show he had more to offer. His English
lyricist Gary Osborne recalls: "He was underrated as a composer and I
felt that he was uncomfortable with the image that he had traded on
for 40 years. I took my 17-year-old daughter Lily to meet him and she
fell in love with him instantly. I wasn't surprised, as my wife Lorna
had fallen for him the last time we met."

That he could generate feelings in such a wide range was a major
facet of his appeal.
_____

Alexandre ("Sacha") Distel, singer and guitarist: born Paris 29
January 1933; married 1963 Francine Bréaud (two sons); died Le Rayol-
Canadel, France 22 July 2004.


Return to “The Burt Bacharach Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests