Bonjour tristesse: Juliette Gréco, RIP

The fabulous French chanteuse who once dated Miles Davis and Quincy Jones at the same time, died today aged 93.

She had class. Albert Camus was one of her boyfriends, Sacha Distel another.

This song says: undress me. not too fast.

This is the seaonal torch song

And this her greatest hit

 

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  • Salut l’artiste. The end of an era: the times when Saint-Germain-des Prés was a place of such wealth of intellectual and artistic activity. Now it is full of luxury clothes shops. The jazz clubs are gone as are most of the bookshops.

  • First Diana Rigg, now Juliette Gréco.
    The two icons of my childhood, both gone in uncanny succession.
    Juliette Gréco and Diana Rigg shaped early on my perception of femininity: graceful, strong, independent, assertive. No man’s damsel in distress.
    (And yes, there was a televisual link between the two: concurrently with Diana Rigg’s accession to The Avengers, Juliette Gréco starred in a dark fantasy miniseries, “Belphégor ou le Fantôme du Louvre” (1965), an improbable but smashing hit that swept the streets of France empty when it ran.)

    Jacques Brel buffs will remember that Gréco collaborated with, then ended up marrying, Gérard Jouannest, the accompanist, melodist and, with François Rauber, co-author of the mature Brel sound.

    An indispensable testimonial of the deep connection between Gréco and Brel is the late recording, “Gréco chante Brel” (2013). Of Brel, Juliette Gréco said:
    «Il dit vrai. Il dit les choses très cruellement, de manière très logique. Il n’a aucune faiblesse, ni dans ses descriptions de l’amour, ni dans celles de la mort, de la vie, des putains, des dames patronnesses, des bourgeois, dans rien! Il n’y a que la terrible vérité.»
    If someone could be said to have lived in similar truthfulness to herself, it was Juliette Gréco.

  • Before he became the immortal Joseph Kosma by writing Feuilles Mortes, he wrote music for avant-garde dance productions in his native Budapest, as Kozma Jozsef. I’ve often wondered what those pieces sound like — written in the same atmosphere in which Satie, Milhaud, Antheil, Hindemith and others were working, and at some remove from French chanson. It’s possible that no scores or parts have survived of those early experimental works.

  • How sad. There isn’t a girl (old lady now) of my generation that did not have their Juliette Greco phase including the black polo neck. eyeliner and mascara. She was a real icon and great singer. As you say: rest in peace.

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