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“Claude François found that I rolled the “r’s” too much”: the confessions of Michèle Torr, “the most beautiful eyes of the Côte d’Azur”

“Her name is Michèle”, she is a “little French girl born in Provence”.

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“Claude François found that I rolled the “r’s” too much”: the confessions of Michèle Torr, “the most beautiful eyes of the Côte d’Azur”

“Her name is Michèle”, she is a “little French girl born in Provence”. Michèle Torr gave a lot of herself in her songs. A somewhat forgotten singer of the yé-yé wave, the artist with a southern accent has punctuated French life thanks to hits like “Emmène-moi danser ce soir”, “J’en appeal to tenderness”, “Him” or “Love is Blue”. A rich discography brought up to date thanks to numerous tours. This April 7, the great Michèle celebrates her 77th birthday. In 2002, she spoke at length to Thierry Ardisson in Tout le monde en parole - available on the INA Arditube channel.

Singing is a vocation. At the age of six, she won a telecrochet by performing “Bonbons caramels” by Annie Cordy. “We're not afraid when we're very little, we don't doubt anything. We are sure of ourselves. I had no doubt: I had to be a singer.” Michèle Torr wins telecrochet after telecrochet and gives her winnings to her parents. One thing led to another and she auditioned. The CEO of the Philipps record company made her record her first songs and she was launched. She is present in the legendary photo “Salut les amis” signed Jean-Marie Périer.

In 1964, she made her first Olympia as a curtain raiser for Claude François. Three songs to convince. “When I arrived on stage and saw Jean-Claude Brialy in the front row, who was carrying me, the stage fright went away,” she remembers. All is well for the woman who was voted “the most beautiful eyes of the Côte d’Azur” in 1964 by a jury made up of Charlie Chaplin and Joseph Kessel. First hitch, Claude François, who never liked competition, tackles the singer. “He thought I rolled the “r” too much and had too much vibrato.”

The following summer, while she was on tour in Marseille, her mother killed herself with the car she had given her with her first salary. His love at first sight with Christophe, the father of his child whom he refused to recognize before reconnecting with him, ends short. To top it off, his record company terminates his contract. “In that moment, my son saved me. And I had an electric shock because it made me react. I said to myself, “What’s with me singing so well? They didn’t understand anything.” And I left,” she says. Until 1980, the hits continued and Michèle Torr became the romantic singer par excellence. Eternal refrains.

An extract to discover here:

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