Nancy Holloway  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nancy Holloway (nee Brown, December 11, 1932 – August 28, 2019) was an American singer and actress who was popular during the 1960s in France, where she continued to perform and live.

She covered American songs translated to French, sung with an American accent.

Her song "Sand and Rain" (1974) is on the Dusty Fingers volume 10 and was sampled on "Your Revolution" (2000).



Born in Cleveland, Ohio, one of ten children of African American heritage, Nancy Brown attended East Technical High School and married when in her teens. The marriage was brief, but she retained her husband's surname of Holloway. She moved to New York City and took menial jobs before working as a dancer as part of the Beige Beauties troupe. In 1954, she traveled to Paris, France, and was persuaded to sing on stage at the Mars Club. Her performance was well received, and she became a regular performer, touring around Europe before returning to Paris. She began singing at the Moulin Rouge nightclub in 1959.

Encouraged by actor André Pousse, she made her debut appearance on French television in 1961 and released her first single, "Le Boogie du bébé". That year she opened her own nightclub, Chez Nancy Holloway, and appeared in her first film, Ballade pour un voyou. She became successful as a yé-yé style pop singer, uniquely attractive in France as "an American singer singing American songs specifically for the French market... with a distinctly American accent [that] only added to her charm." Further successful singles followed through the early and mid-1960s, including "Quand un garçon me plaît" (based on "Big Noise from Winnetka"), "Dernier baiser" (a version of "Sealed with a Kiss"), "Dum dum", "T'en vas pas comme ça" (an adaptation of "Don't Make Me Over"), "Fich’ le camp Jack" (a version of "Hit the Road Jack"), "Bye Bye" ("My Guy"), "Elle t’aime" ("She Loves You"), "Est-ce que tu m’aimes" ("Do You Love Me"), and "Dis-lui que je ne suis pas là", a duet with Nino Ferrer.

She appeared in several films in the early 1960s, including Le bluffeur, Cherchez l'idole, and Le gentleman de Cocody, and for a time her acting work overshadowed her singing career though she continued to record. She became a respected nightclub performer and appeared with such stars as Sammy Davis Jr., Quincy Jones, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1969, her album Hello Dolly marked a shift towards show tunes. The death of her daughter led to a period of retirement, but she returned as a concert performer in the 1980s.

In later life she became an active supporter of AIDS charities. She retired from performing in 2008, and died in Paris in 2019, aged 86.

Selected discography

Singles and EPs


  • Nancy Holloway, 1963, Ricordi 30 RS 061 (France)
  • Nancy Holloway (also known by the title Bye Bye), 1964, Decca 154 073 (France)
  • Hello Dolly, 1969, Concert Hall, SVS 2690 (France)
  • Nancy Holloway, 1976, Les Tréteaux, 6346 (France)
  • Greatest Hits, 1982, Polydor 827 649 1 (France)
  • Boppin' Goldies, 1982, Vogue, 015502 (Belgium)


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nancy Holloway" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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