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Sacha Distel (January 29, 1933 – July 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.

Born as Sacha Alexandre[1], his uncle Ray Ventura, was a founder of the Original Dixieland Jass Band In the 1930s Ventura promote and participated in the development of “swing” in France. When his uncle settled in Paris with his orchestra, “Les Collégiens”, Distel gave up his piano for the guitar.[2]

Ventura invited Distel, in 1948, to listen to Dizzy Gillespie perform with his orchestra, along with Bruno Coquatrix, Paul Misraki and André Hornez. Distel's efforts led to the orchestra's split, which gave birth to two rival bands: Guy Wormser's New Orleans die-hards and the cool jazz and bebop aficionados led by Distel. After meeting Hubert Damisch, a saxophone player, Sacha founded the band that would allow him to be up with the leaders. With help from Jean Marie Ingrand (bass), Mimi Perrin (piano) and Jean Louis Viale (drums), the band won the Coliseum's Night of Jazz “Meilleur Petit Orchestre Moderne” award (Hubert and Sacha both won prizes as musicians on the same night). 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. He reportedly also had relationships with actress Brigitte Bardot, Francine Bréaud and Dionne Warwick.[citation needed]

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 U.K. 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 "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", a song that had been recorded by Perry Como, one of her favourite singers.

Distel remained reasonably popular in France in the 1980s and 1990s, including a new show named after his song La Belle Vie.[citation needed] In 2000, Distel had a part as lawyer Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago.Sacha Distel died on July 22, 2004, aged 71, after a long illness, in Rayol-Canadel, south-east France.

(Sursa Wikipedia)

 







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