Monday, January 21, 2008
Music Monday - Who IS that Guy and Why is He Singing in French?
For other tales of musical adventure, please visit Soccer Mom in Denial.
I twirled. I whirled. My three-year-old little self was bursting with dreams of dancing, and elegant couples gliding across rooms, and a place that my parents often talked about, called Paris.
Music filled my house growing up. During the day, my mother often played the scores of musicals or the music of one of her favorite singers: Yves Montand. To me, at that young age and forever on, Yves Montand was the last word in sophistication. He was my first crush, my first love, and my dancing partner. Here's a picture of him that I believe graced the cover of one of our albums:
Just look at that face. That scowl? How could I not have been in love? Especially when Yves was the precursor to my many years' obsession with Humphrey Bogart. (No, I'm not that old, but I was an absolute old movies fanatic). Now, there was another plus about Yves. It was that he sang in French. My parents were both passable in French, and it was the language they used when they didn't want their petite enfant to know just what they were saying. So, I was determined to learn French, darn it! And somehow, even at my tender age, I knew that Yves was the key to that special language.
He has continued that hold on me ever since. In fact, one evening in the early 80s, my father was on a research trip to Paris, and I was able to join him, and we were invited by his French publisher to a 2-star Michelin restaurant that was located in the building where Yves Montand and his wife, Simone Signoret lived. And they often frequented this restaurant. It was probably one of the most sublime culinary experiences of my life, but I have no memory of the food at all (which is unusual for me). All I remember is spending the entire evening straining, and looking around, and hoping that The Great One would show. He didn't, and it was disappointing, but for a true fan, just being in a place where he had walked was enough for me.
So in the clip below, he is a bit past his prime in terms of thinning hair, etc., but you can see and hear the charm and warmth of his voice. And what better introduction to Yves, than "A Paris"? Eh bien - Vous vous amusez!*
*And French speakers - please excuse my horrid mistakes - it's been years since I've really used French, and it shows.