Sacha Distel  

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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.
"La bise aux hippies" by Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot & Sacha Distel

Sacha Distel (born Sacha Alexandre; January 29, 1933July 22, 2004), was a French singer who had hits such as a cover version of the Academy Award winning "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" (originally recorded by B.J. Thomas), "Scoubidou" and "The Good Life". He was born in Paris.

At age 16, Distel became a professional jazz guitarist. Over his career he worked alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1950s after establishing himself as a French crooner.

Sacha Distel had a much publicised relationship with actress Brigitte Bardot but in 1963 he married skier Francine Bréaud.

In the 1960s, he composed 'La Belle Vie', a tune that made its way across the Atlantic as 'The Good Life', and most famously performed by Tony Bennett. French lyrics were added in the 1970s and it became Distel's signature tune. During the 1960s, he had his own variety show on French television.

During the 1970s, he became popular outside France, and once hosted the Miss World contest in London. In this decade, he spent more time in the UK than in France.

In August 1980, in honour of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Distel performed at Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen Mother's 80th birthday. The Queen Mother was said to have been impressed by Distel's moving voice and later in the night she requested a song originally sung by one of her favourite singers Perry Como, called "You must have been a beautiful baby". It moved many members of the Royal family to laughter as the old Queen sat with amusement.

Distel remained reasonably popular in France in the 1980s and 1990s, including a new show named after his song 'La Belle Vie'.

In 2001, Distel had a part as lawyer Billy Flynn in the London production of the musical Chicago. He did have an ambition to make a musical about the life of Maurice Chevalier, but this remained unfulfilled at the time of his death.

Sacha Distel died on July 22, 2004, aged 71, after a long illness in Rayol-Canadel, south-east France.

His name was used in Peter Sarstedt's song "Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?" and he appeared in the "Paris" episode of the British Series Absolutely Fabulous, where he confuses a very old person with Patsy.

The video for his song Ou Ca Ou Ca has been shown before Morrissey's concerts in Europe and the USA on his latest tour.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sacha Distel" 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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