Mireille Mathieu (born July 22, 1946) is a French chanteuse de variété. She has achieved great success in France, as well as becoming an international superstar. She has performed and recorded songs in at least nine languages. Her home is in Paris, and her mother, who is still spritely in her 80’s, lives with her.
Mireille Mathieu was born in Avignon, Vaucluse, France, the eldest daughter of a poor family of fourteen children. She began appearing in public at the age of four, singing in her church. As a young girl she worked in a factory, where she saved money to pay for singing lessons.
Discovered by Johnny Stark, manager of Johnny Hallyday, she was tutored by the orchestra leader Paul Mauriat and the song writer André Pascal. Pascal wrote “Mon crédo”, “Viens dans ma rue”, “La première étoile” and many other hit songs for her. After a television performance in 1965, and a debut run at the Paris Olympia, she was hailed as another Édith Piaf because of her haunting voice.
Singles such as “Mon Credo” and “C’est Ton Nom” made her a huge star in France and elsewhere in Europe, as well as a great success in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico.Her first album release in 1966 En Direct de L’Olympia – on the Barclay label – featured these songs, and was highly acclaimed.
Following her outstanding performance at the London Palladium, her French cover of Engelbert Humperdinck‘s “The Last Waltz” (“La Dernière Valse”) generated much publicity in Great Britain and was a hit even though the original had been number one only a few months previously. With hit after hit, she soon toured Canada and the United States where she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Danny Kaye Show. While on a visit to Hollywood, she met one of her idols, Elvis Presley and, in Las Vegas, she sang with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra to great applause.
Still much in demand, she continues to perform regularly. She travels frequently, appearing at such venues as New York City‘s Carnegie Hall, the Sport Palace in Montreal, Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and Ice Palace of Saint Petersburg.
She has sold about 150 million copies of her albums in her forty-year career, and recorded about 1200 songs in nine languages. She was the first Western singer in history to give concerts in China. Over the years, she has sung with many famous singers and ensembles, including: Red Army Choir, Charles Aznavour, Barry Manilow, Paul Anka, Plácido Domingo, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones, and Peter Alexander.
Songs such as “Acropolis adieu,” “Ne me quitte pas,” and “Santa Maria de la mer,” are considered classics. Her French version of Roy Orbison’s ballad, “Blue Bayou“, is regarded by many as one of the best covers of that popular song. Noted French/Algerian lyricist Eddy Marnay (who wrote songs for Edith Piaf during her later career) was the author of several songs Mireille recorded and popularized.
In 1989, President François Mitterrand invited Mireille Mathieu to sing a tribute to General Charles de Gaulle. She gave a series of concerts at the Palais des Congrès in Paris in December 1990. Three years later, she released an album devoted to her idol, Edith Piaf.
In January 1996, “Vous lui direz…” was released. Maxime le Forestier wrote one of the titles, “À la moitié de la distance”. She did not perform live in France to promote the album, preferring rather to go to Los Angeles, where she triumphed on November 14 with her vibrant tribute to another of her idols, Judy Garland. The performance was a tremendous success. She was dressed by Provence couturier, Christian Lacroix .
In 2002, she released her thirty-seventh French album De tes mains. Mathieu celebrated the fortieth anniversary of her career at the Paris Olympia, in November 2005, after releasing her thirty-eighth French album, which reached number 14 on the charts in France, and remained in the top 100 for several months.
Many of Mireille’s recordings since 1969 have featured members of “The Fleschettes” (Francine Chantereau, Martine Latorre, Dominque Poulain and Catherine Bonnevay Welch) as backing chorus vocalists. Her sister Monique “Matite” has also been a constant companion, and is her manager.
Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube, Mireille Mathieu Official Website: http://www.mireillemathieu.com/
Here’s a great rendition of “New York New York” by Mireille Mathieu.
“Non, Je ne regrette rien”
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