Happy birthday Renaud!

Today, 11th May, is the birthday of one of our greatest French singers, called Renaud. Renaud is his real first name, his full name being Renaud Séchan. 

Renaud is 70 years old today, and has been singing since 1975. 

Renaud is extremely popular in France, where he is loved not only for his great songs, but also for his personality. 

He is an oversensitive, very humane and sincere, discreet and even shy person, very much revolted against war, injustice, inequality and poverty in the world. This is why some of his songs are a bit melancholic and some others quite political. He is also, in a way, a dreamer.

From the beginning of his career, Renaud presented himself as a sort of spokesman for all the people excluded and rejected from society. 

He also sang about Paris, and was, at the beginning of his career, compared to a sort of adult Gavroche. The jacket of his first record plays with this image. He actually was on the barricades in May 1968 when he was 16. 

Renaud had to stop singing for a few years due to a serious problem with alcohol, and eventually started writing songs again. I hope the love that the French people feel for him has contributed to supporting him a little bit. He has just released a new album this month (May 2022). 

Here are some of his best songs 

from the 70s and 80s

Clic on the images to open a new page with a video and the English translation.

I have corrected in green the translations I found.

(I could not translate the songs myself due to a lack of time, sorry about that) . 

1) From his first album. 1975.

Amoureux de Paname

("In love with Paname", Paname being the nickname given to Paris.)

2) From the album "Ma Gonzesse". 1979.
("Gonzesse" is slang for "girlfriend". 
Nowadays, slang has changed and a girlfriend 
would rather be called une "meuf". So the title would then be: "Ma meuf")

Chanson pour Pierrot
This very beautiful, although very melancholic, song was written for the son of his dreams, 
who was not born yet.

3) From the album "Morgane de toi". 1983.
("Morgane" is slang for "Amoureux" = in love with)

Dès que le vent soufflera
(As soon as the wind blows)

4) From the album "Mistral Gagnant". 1985.
Probably one his best albums. Quite melancholic sometimes too.

Mistral Gagnant

A song where Renaud expresses his revolt against the injustices of this world.

Renaud has written many, many more great songs. He is still singing nowadays. 

Renaud is also a fantastic actor and he has played in many films. One of his best role was in 1993 when he played the character of Etienne Lantier in the film Germinal (link in French), also starring Gérard Depardieu (from Germinal, the great 19th century novel by French writer Emile Zola about the minors in the North of France in the 19th century). In this film, extras were played by minors or old minors, and Renaud is the grand-son of a minor himself. 

Happy birthday, Renaud.

Renaud in 2006

Renaud on stage in the Zénith of Paris in 2016
Renaud on stage in the Vieilles Charrues festival in 2017

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