Bécaud, Gilbert [Silly, François]
- Patrick O’Connor
(b Toulon, Oct 24, 1927; d Toulon, December 18, 2001). French composer and singer. He studied at the Nice and Toulon conservatories and during World War II was active in the Résistance (Maquis) in Savoie. He began composing songs in 1948, which were taken up by popular singers including Marie Bizet and Edith Piaf, who sang his Je t’ai dans la peau. The poet Louis Amade encouraged him and became one of Bécaud’s regular lyricists, with Pierre Delanoë and Maurice Vidalin. Bécaud performed at the re-opening of the Olympia music hall in Paris (1954) to immediate success, becoming known as ‘Monsieur 100,000 Volts’. His songs were performed around the world in translations: Et maintenant, for example, was recorded by Frank Sinatra as What now, my love?. He attempted large-scale works, such as the cantata L’enfant à l’étoile (1961) with words by Amade. His opera ...