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Paul Julien André Mauriat (French: [pɔl mɔʁja] or [moʁja]; 4 March 1925 – 3 November 2006) was a French orchestra leader, conductor of Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat, who specialized in the easy listening genre. He is best known in the United States for his million-selling remake of André Popp's "Love is Blue", which was #1 for 5 weeks in 1968. Other recordings for which he is known include "El Bimbo", "Toccata", "Love in Every Room/Même si tu revenais", and "Penelope".
|Birth name||Paul Julien André Mauriat|
|Born||4 March 1925|
Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
|Died||3 November 2006 (aged 81)|
Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France
|Genres||Classical, easy listening, Rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, orchestra leader, composer|
|Labels||Philips, Pony Canyon, Universal|
1925–1956: Early life and careerEdit
In 1925, Mauriat was born and raised in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France His father was a postal inspector who loved to play classical piano and violin. Mauriat began playing music at age four. In 1935, at the age of 10, he enrolled in the Conservatoire in Marseille to study classical music, but by the time he was 17, he had fallen in love with jazz and popular music.
As a young adult Mauriat started his own dance band and toured concert halls throughout Europe throughout the 1940s. In the 1950s, Mauriat became the musical director for at least two well-known French singers, Charles Aznavour and Maurice Chevalier, touring with both of them.
1957–1962: First studio recordingsEdit
In 1957, Mauriat released his first EP, Paul Mauriat, a four track RGM release. One of his first songs, Rendez-vous au Lavandou, co-written with André Pascal, was awarded the 1958 le Coq d'or de la Chanson Française.
Between 1959 and 1964, Mauriat recorded several albums on the Bel-Air record label under the name Paul Mauriat et Son Orchestre, as well as using the various pseudonyms of Richard Audrey, Nico Papadopoulos, Eduardo Ruo, and Willy Twist, to better reflect the international flavor of his recordings. During this period, Mauriat also released several recordings with Les Satellites, where he creatively arranged vocal backing harmony for such albums as Slow Rock and Twist (1961), A Malypense (1962), and Les Satellites Chantent Noel (1964).
Mauriat composed the music for several French movie soundtracks (also released on Bel-Air), including Un Taxi Pour Tobrouk (1961), Horace 62 (1962), and Faites Sauter La Banque (1964).
1963–1997: International acclaim and later careerEdit
Using the pseudonym of Del Roma, Mauriat was to have his first international hit with Chariot, which he wrote in collaboration with friends Franck Pourcel (co-composer), Jacques Plante (French lyrics) and Raymond Lefèvre (orchestrator). In the United States, the song was recorded as "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March and spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. In 1992, the song was featured prominently in the film Sister Act starring Whoopi Goldberg. More recently, Eminem sampled it in his song "Guilty Conscience".
Between 1967 and 1972, he wrote numerous songs with André Pascal for Mireille Mathieu; Mon Crédo (1,335,000 copies sold), Viens dans ma rue, La première étoile, Géant, etc.—to name but a few—and contributed 130 song arrangements for Charles Aznavour.
In 1968, his late 1967 cover of the André Popp/Pierre Cour tune "L'amour est bleu" ("Love Is Blue") became a number 1 hit in the US. The song spent five weeks at the top of the charts. Two other Mauriat singles also made the charts in the US — "Love in Every Room"/"Même si tu revenais" (recorded in 1965; charted in 1968) and the title theme from the movie "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang". "Love Is Blue" was the first instrumental to hit number 1 on the Billboard charts since the Tornados hit with "Telstar" in 1962 and the only American number-one single to be recorded in France. The success of the song and the album on which it appeared, Blooming Hits, established Mauriat as an international recording star.
In 1969, Mauriat started his first world tour with his Grand Orchestra, visiting countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and other Latin American countries.
In 1970s and 1980s, Mauriat released the entire albums that paid homage to his musical roots. "Paul Mauriat joue Chopin", "Classics in the Air" (volumes 1,2,3) features classical music, like Chopin's "Grande valse brillante", Bach's “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”, and Pachelbel's “Canon”, given the “Mauriat” spin. El Condor Pasa peaked at number 34 in Australia in 1971
Paul Mauriat's phenomenon in Japan started in the early 1970s. He is the only international artist who played two sold-out shows in one day at the famous arena Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. In the early to mid-1980s, Paul Mauriat appeared in several Japanese coffee and wine television commercials, which featured music from his orchestra.
For several decades, some of Mauriat's compositions served as musical tracks for Soviet television programmes and short movies, such as the 1977 animated Polygon (film), "In the world of animals" (V mire zhivotnykh) and "Kinopanorama", among others.
1998–2006: Retirement and deathEdit
Mauriat retired from performing in 1998. He gave his final performance in the Sayonara Concert, recorded live in Osaka, Japan, but his orchestra continued to tour around the world before his death in 2006. Mauriat's former lead pianist, Gilles Gambus, became the orchestra's conductor in 2000 and led successful tours of Japan, China, and Russia. Gambus had worked with Mauriat for more than 25 years. In 2005, classical French Horn instrumentalist, Jean-Jacques Justafré conducted the orchestra during a tour of Japan and Korea.
On 3 November 2006, Paul Mauriat died in Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France, at the age of 81. After his death, The Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra also ceased to exist. Mauriat is buried at the Perpignan South Cemetery in Columbarium.
Relative to his peers, Paul Mauriat has one of the largest recording catalogs, featuring more than 1,000 titles just from his PolyGram era (1965–1993). Both Mauriat's single recording "Love is Blue" (1967) and the album Blooming Hits each sold over one million copies. The single was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America in March 1968.
In 1965, Mauriat established Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat, and released hundreds of recordings and compilations through the Philips label for the next 28 years. In 1994, he signed with Japanese record company Pony Canyon, where he re-recorded some of his greatest hits and wrote new compositions. Mauriat recorded many of these albums in both Paris and London, utilising several English classical musicians in these recordings.
He was awarded the Grand Prix (Grand Prize) from the French recording industry, a MIDEM trophy, and in 1997 won the prestigious distinction of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. He sold over 40 million albums worldwide and held 28 tours in Japan from 1969 to 1998.
In 2002, Serge Elhaik published an authorised biography, Paul Mauriat: une vie en bleu.
- "Puppet on a String" (1967)
- "Love Is Blue" (U.S. #1, 1968; AC #1, 1968)
- "Love In Every Room" (U.S. #60, 1968; AC #7, 1968)
- "San Francisco" (U.S. #103, 1968; AC #16, 1968)
- "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (U.S. #76, 1969; AC #24, 1969)
- "Hey Jude" (U.S. #119, 1969; AC # 24, 1969)
- "Je T'aime Moi Non Plus" (AC #35, January 1970)
- "Gone Is Love" (AC #32, September 1970)
- "Apres Toi (Come What May)" (AC #21, 1972)
- "Love Theme from "The Godfather" (Butterfly) (1972)
- "Taka Takata" (1972)
- Faites sauter la banque! (film, 1964)
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Paul Mauriat Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 195. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Abramoff, Alexander (2016). "Paul Mauriat's music will always be with people in Japan". Grand Orchestras. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "Paul Mauriat, 81, French Orchestra Leader, Dies". The New York Times. Agence France-Presse. 7 November 2006. p. A19.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 226. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Obituaries - Paul Mauriat, Orchestrator of 'Love is Blue'". The Independent. 9 November 2006.
- "Ca Ne Fait Rien Les Couilles, Voici Paul Mauriat". Discogs. 1978. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
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