Jacques Dutronc  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jacques Dutronc (born April 28 1943 in Paris) is a French singer, composer, and actor. He is married to the singer Françoise Hardy, as of March 30 1981, with whom he had a son (Thomas Dutronc, born 1973).


Career history

Between 1963 and 1964, Dutronc played guitar for the group "El Toro et les Cyclones" with Hadi Kalafate. During this time he also appeared at Le Golf Drouot in Paris as backing guitarist for stars including Eddy Mitchell. After performing his obligatory military service, he landed a job as assistant at Vogue Records to Artistic Director Jacques Wolfsohn. In this capacity, he arranged songs for several lesser known artists such as Zou Zou and Cleo. At Vogue Records, he teamed with writer Jacques Lanzmann, then director at Lui magazine, to create songs for up-and-coming artists. One of their first commissions was for the pop singer Benjamin, however, after his first EP failed to perform, Vogue Records unceremoniously booted him from their roster. After hearing one of the demos that Dutronc had produced, Wolfsohn declared that Jacques should perform the record for release. This single, "Et moi, et moi, et moi" was released in 1966, and its popularity turned Dutronc into a star.

With Lanzmann writing lyrics and Dutronc producing the music, the two created several significant songs. Songs such as "Et moi, et moi, et moi", "Les Playboys", and "Le cactus", are still frequently played. Other songs include "Mini, mini, mini", "Le responsable", "J'ai un tigre dans ma guitare", and "L'opportuniste".

Dutronc's songs combine American and British musical influences with French lyrical themes. Many of his early songs feature a British garage sound comparable to that of Ray Davies of The Kinks. Dutronc's "La fille du père Noël" and David Bowie's "Jean Genie" share a riff likely derived from the Yardbirds' accelerated version of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" (the Belgian singer Arno recorded a medley of the Dutronc and Bowie songs ("Jean Baltazaarr") with the American singer Beverly Jo Scott that highlight these similarities). However, Dutronc is distinctive for his mocking attitude toward late 1960s French youth culture. Dutronc's biggest hit was "Il est cinq heures, Paris s'eveille", with the classical flute player Roger Bourdin performing an essential part. In this song, Dutronc paints an evocative portrait of the French capital in the early morning hours.

In 1973, "Et moi, et moi, et moi" was adapted with English lyrics by Ray Dorset, leader of Mungo Jerry. "Alright Alright Alright" became a UK No. 3 hit for the group.

Also in 1973, Dutronc began a second career as an actor in the film Antoine et Sébastien, directed by Jean-Marie Périer. In the following years, Dutronc devoted most of his energies toward his acting career. He has appeared in films directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Lelouch and Maurice Pialat.

Dutronc returned to music in recent years, and also has enjoyed a resurgence of popular interest in his music. Since the early Dutronc songs had a classic late-sixties freakbeat backing (provided by session musicians), his songs were played in the hip retro clubs of the UK and USA in the late 1990s, a practice which continues to this day. (Ironically, most of the people who will be dancing to the likes of "Le cactus" will have no idea what the words actually mean). He is celebrated in the 1997 Cornershop song "Brimful of Asha" with the line: "Jacques Dutronc and the Bolan Boogie/The Heavy Hitters and the Chichi music."

He currently lives in the town of Monticello on the island of Corsica.

Selected discography

Selected Filmography

Further reading

Jacques Dutronc, by Michel Leydier ISBN 2-290-30077-2

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jacques Dutronc" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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