Jacques Dutronc

b. 28 April 1943, Paris, France. Dutronc learnt to play piano and violin during his childhood, but by the late 50s had immersed himself in the local rock 'n' roll culture. In 1959 he left Lycée Condorcet to become the guitarist in Les Tritons, who quickly established themselves as a major attraction at Paris's Golf Drouot club. The following year the group began backing Daniel Dray and changed their name to El Toro Et Les Cyclones. They were signed to Vogue Records at the end of 1961, and released their first EP the following January. Their second EP contained the domestic hit "Le Vagabond", but Dutronc's career was put on hold when he was called up for National Service. After his discharge he played with Eddy Mitchell, Vince Taylor and Gene Vincent, but chose to concentrate on songwriting. Appointed Assistant Artistic Director at Vogue, his principal clients were Zou-Zou (a twist exponent), Les Mods and Françoise Hardy - for whom he penned "Le Temps De L'Amour" and "Va Pas Prendre Un Tambour". Dutronc may have been content to remain a backroom composer had he and Jacques Lanzmann, editor of Lui, not had a similar sense of humour. Setting simple melodies and maddeningly catchy hook-lines to Lanzmann's rapid-fire lyrics - mostly of topical, satiric nature - a career as a pop comedian began Dutronc's Vogue record contract, and hit its stride with a series of EPs, including his first number 1, "Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi", which became a national catch phrase. "Mini Mini Mini" - the skirt not the car - was better known outside France but album tracks such as "Hippy Hippy Hourrah" and "Les Cactus" (with a nonsensical chorus) were more typical Dutronc/Lanzmann fare. In the later 60s, the team reached a wider age group with "Playboys" and "J'Aime Les Filles". These harked back musically to the 20s, in the same style as songs such as "Winchester Cathedral" and "When I'm 64". When his records no longer charted automatically, Dutronc settled down as a "personality' on television chat-shows and panel games. Though he still records, he is more widely known for his acting. Since 1973 he has been acclaimed for his appearances in films by leading directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Lelouch and Barbet Schroeder, and won the French César for his performance as Van Gogh in 1991"s Vincent.

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