Paul Mauriat – Le Peintre Des Etoiles
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Paul Mauriat (French: 4 March 1925 – 3 November 2006) was a French orchestra leader, conductor of Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat, who specialized in the easy listening genre. He is best known in the United States for his million selling remake of André Popp’s “Love is Blue”, which was #1 for 5 weeks in 1968. Other recordings for which he is known include El Bimbo, “Toccata”, and “Penelope.”
Mauriat was born and grew up in Marseille, France. His father was a postal inspector who loved to play classical piano and violin.
Mauriat began playing music at the age of four and enrolled in the Conservatoire in Marseille at the age of 10, but by the time he was 17, he had fallen in love with jazz and popular music.
During World War II, Mauriat started his own dance band and toured concert halls throughout Europe. In the 1950s, he became musical director to at least two well-known French singers, Charles Aznavour and Maurice Chevalier, touring with them respectively.
In 1957, Mauriat released his first EP Paul Mauriat, a four track RGM release. Between 1959–1964 Mauriat recorded several albums on the Bel-Air record label under the name Paul Mauriat et Son Orchestre, as well as using the various pseudonyms of Richard Audrey, Nico Papadopoulos, Eduardo Ruo, and Willy Twist, to better reflect the international flavour of his recordings.
During this period, Mauriat also released several recordings with Les Satellites, where he creatively arranged vocal backing harmony for such albums as Slow Rock and Twist, (1961), A Malypense (1962) and Les Satellites Chantent Noel (1964).
Mauriat composed the music for several French movie soundtracks (also released on Bel-Air), including Un Taxi Pour Tobrouk (1961), Horace 62 (1962) and Faits Sauter La Banque (1964).
He wrote his first song with André Pascal. In 1958, they were prizewinners in the le Coq d’or de la Chanson Française with Rendez-vous au Lavendou. Using the pseudonym of Del Roma, Mauriat was to have his first international hit with Chariot, which he wrote in collaboration with friends Franck Pourcel (co-composer), Jacques Plante (French lyrics) and Raymond Lefèvre (orchestrator).
In the United States the song was recorded as I Will Follow Him by Little Peggy March and became #1 on the Billboard charts in all categories for three weeks in 1963. In 1992, the song was featured prominently in the film Sister Act starring Whoopi Goldberg. More recently, Eminem included an extract in his song, Guilty Conscience.
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