French popular music
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
French popular music is a music of France belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and mostly distributed commercially. It stands in contrast to French classical music, which historically was the music of elites or the upper strata of society, and traditional French folk music which was shared non-commercially. It is sometimes abbreviated to French pop music, although French pop music is more often used for a narrower branch of popular music.
The late 1800s saw the dawn of the music hall when Yvette Guilbert was a major star. The era lasted through to the 1930s and saw the likes of Félix Mayol, Lucienne Boyer, Marie-Louise Damien, Marie Dubas, Fréhel, Georges Guibourg, Tino Rossi, Jean Sablon, Charles Trenet and Maurice Chevalier.
French popular music in the 20th century included singers like superstar Édith Piaf as well as Monique Serf (Barbara) and Georges Brassens plus the more art-house musicians like Brigitte Fontaine. Many present-day stars released their first albums in the mid-1970s, early 1980s including Francis Cabrel, Alain Souchon, Laurent Voulzy, Jean-Jacques Goldman and William Sheller. More recently, the success of the Star Academy television show has spawned a new generation of young pop music stars including Jenifer Bartoli and Nolwenn Leroy; and the superstar status of diva Mylene Farmer inspired pop rock performers like Alizée and Lorie, and R&B-influenced singers like Nadiya and Ophelie Winter.
In particular, electronic music, as exemplified by Jean Michel Jarre, achieved a wide French audience. The French electro-pop bands Air and Daft Punk and techno artist Laurent Garnier found a wide audience in the late 1990s and early 2000s, both locally and internationally. Electronica groups such as Télépopmusik continue to enjoy success.