He said he had built his life in songs. The singer Christophe, whose unforgettable blue words rocked several generations, died this Thursday at the age of 74 years following a lung disease, according to his family.
“Christophe is gone. Despite the unfailing dedication of the medical teams, his forces have abandoned him. Today, the words are cracking … and all the long speeches are indeed futile,” wrote in a transmitted statement. to AFP Véronique Bevilacqua, wife of the singer, and her daughter Lucie.
Daniel Bevilacqua, his real name, had been hospitalized and admitted to intensive care on March 26 in a Paris hospital because of “respiratory failure”, according to his show producer, Laurent Castanié. On April 10, Véronique Bevilacqua told AFP that he was “hospitalized in intensive care in Brest […] intubated under deep sedation “.
Véronique Bevilacqua never mentioned Covid-19 in her press releases, and, when interviewed by telephone by AFP on the night of Thursday to Friday, she stressed that he had died “from emphysema “, a lung disease.
“I’m not a singer, I’m not a musician”
Born in 1945 in Juvisy-sur-Orge (Essonne), the icon of French song, author of hits like The blue words, Aline or The lost paradises was pursuing his career at full speed. In 2019, he released two albums, Christophe, etc. volumes 1 and 2, in which he used titles from his repertoire in duet with other artists. He notably invited Étienne Daho, Jeanne Added, Sébastien Tellier or Pascal Obispo and Julien Doré. He was working on a new original album of 10 songs.
Described as a delicate and modest man by those who had the chance to interview him, he was nothing like a star. Always looking for the perfect sound, this eternal melancholy appeared in 2011 in the columns of Madame Figaro like a man “passionate, unconscious and aware of the way to go to transform reality and make it mine”.
He liked to take his time to find his melodies: “I am in pleasure. I do not know the urgency. I do not sit down telling myself that I will write a song or make an album. These are the songs and the albums that come to me, “he said again to Figaro in 2013. Once he found the sound, he let his imagination guide him. Memories, images poured in and words finally came.
Passionate about music who has never sought a career, Christophe kept repeating that he was lucky: “Music is my breath, and I am lucky to be able to live from it. It is a luxury that I have Since I was born rather a player – and not a gambler – I do not hesitate, if necessary, to bluff or try a poker game, a game that I continue to play cheerfully “, he explained l last year in Inrocks. “I remain a player, far from the established system. I took risks, sometimes by doing harm around me, but I lived a free life since my adolescence.”
“I’m not a singer, I’m not a musician. I’m self-taught,” he told Release in 2016. “I try to do stuff, to search, to sound. I haven’t learned the piano for example, I observed it, I took lessons in observation. I wanted to, need, to understand what it is, the mathematics of a keyboard. I never wanted to learn, otherwise I (might) not be there, by the way. ”
“Aline, it’s still a huge stroke of luck “
A rebellious child, he began his career very early, from the age of 15, singing in “yop”, that is to say in yogurt, using invented words. At 16, he met Eddie Barclay. At 18, he released his first 45-lap, Come back Sophie. A failure. At 20, in 1965, his career took off with Aline, yéyé tube inspired by a young dental assistant, Aline Natanovitch, whom he had met shortly before.
One million copies are sold: “Aline, it’s still a huge stroke of luck and this song has marked me for life. There was everything in it, starting with my love of girls, “he said half a century later to Inrocks.
Of a solitary nature, Christophe nevertheless appears on the famous “photo of the century” by Jean-Marie Périer which brings together on April 12, 1966 the stars yéyé. He continued his career with always success in France, but also in Italy, with in particular Estate senza te (1967).
But, quickly, all this tires him. He wants to regain his freedom. The music of the time no longer interested him. We then see it more on the Essonne and Nièvre autodromes. He briefly plans to retrain: “After winning two races, Porsche wanted to hire me as driver, but unfortunately I lost my license because of an overly wet evening with Polnareff,” he said. assured to Inrocks. Fascinated by cinema, in particular Italian and American, he took his first step in this world in 1970 by signing the music of The Salina Route by Gérard Lautner.
Jean-Michel Jarre, a decisive encounter
The 1970s were the years of excess for Christophe, but also of experimentation. In 1971, he made a decisive encounter, that of Jean-Michel Jarre. So unknown, the son of the famous composer Maurice Jarre is his double, with whom he shares his passion for cinema and sound. “JMJ” writes with Christophe the lyrics of the albums The lost paradises (1972) and The blue words (1974), two peaks in the singer’s career, then influenced by Pink Floyd and Lou Reed.
His demons take over. In 1975, this madman stopped his concerts, lamenting the bad conditions and poor quality speakers. He connects the albums – Samurai (1976), The good life (1977), The Beau Bizarre (1978) – but none is successful – although he considers The weird beauty as one of his favorites. In 1979, his wife Véronique pushed him to reissue Aline, which has 3.5 million sales. The single Crazy success, sold in 1983 to 600,000 copies, also allows him to stay afloat while the singer retires from music and lives dark years.
These years were marked by a flamboyant lifestyle, where the singer is devoured by his passions for luxury cars (Lamborghini, Ferrari), poker, collectible guitars and alcohol (Martini Dry, Whiskey Sour, Bull Shot). A film buff, Christophe had a collection of 500 films and organized screenings at his home. His collection was so famous that Federico Fellini asked him to lend him a copy of La Strada which he could not find a good version! In 1989, his dreams of a private cinematheque collapsed when the police ordered him to stop this activity and seized copies of several films from his collection.
Thirteen years after the release of Love shots, an album of covers of Anglo-Saxon standards from the 1940s and 1950s, Christophe returned to music in 1996 with Bevilacqua, considered his most personal album: “You see, this album comes at a time when I want to do the scene again and it looks like me. It’s my experience, my balls, the first time that a guy pushes me to write, “he announced at the time of his release in the columns of Release. This daring album, designed at home, shows that Christophe has managed to renew himself, but he does not achieve the expected success.
“I am a bargain hunter, a luxury tramp”
While he has not done any concerts since 1975, Christophe agrees to go back on stage for the release of How the Earth Leaned, which is very successful. In 2002, he gave a series of memorable concerts at the Olympia. His career is revived. From his apartment on boulevard du Montparnasse, where he settled at that time, he set up a recording studio where he spent his nights in search of the perfect sound.
Often reduced to a singer for midinette, Christophe has always been attentive to the evolution of technology, he reminded the Figaro in 2013: “When you know how to master it and adapt to your advances, you can finally, like a painter, know several periods. This is the thing I am most proud of when I look at my route: my music has always evolving. These albums that I like, The blue words, The weird beauty, The lost paradises, they’re different from each other, but interesting, right? ”
Christoph, who defines himself more as a producer than a singer, indicated to Inrocks: “I always say that I don’t record albums since I’m constantly creating sound. I spend my nights experimenting with sound, not feeling like a singer. I’m a producer who lives locked up in front of his machines.”
The years 2000 and 2010 reveal a Christophe actor in When I was a singer (2006) by Xavier Giannoli and Jeanne (2019) by Bruno Dumont, whose music he also signed. He led this career in contraband, also appearing in short films Jukebox (2013) The Quepa on the Vilni! (2013), and remained modest: “I am not an actor,” he said in The world in 2014. “I am a bargain hunter, a luxury tramp.”
Eternal optimist, he had no regrets at the end of this life which will have made him one of the legends of French music, he summarized in The Inrocks: “:” I experienced something inexplicable. The more I go forward, the fewer regrets. I’m not homesick for the passing of time. “