portrait of a couple united by music and love

This is the story of a meeting between two icons of the genre. On the one hand, the singer-songwriter Michel Berger. On the other hand the singer France Gall. They share the year of birth 1947 in common, but above all a common passion for music. However, these two artists who are known for singing about love will suffer more disappointments in love.

In 1965, France Gall achieved great success thanks to her victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with the title Wax doll, sound doll. As a great career catches up to her, Claude François is jealous of her notoriety and breaks her heart by breaking up with her. Then, in 1969, the young artist was enchanted by Julien Clerc, the star of the musical Hate.

For his part, Michel Berger shared life with the singer Véronique Sanson, for which he composed his first two albums released in 1972. But their sudden breakup left him fuming. “Michel Berger falls into a kind of post-depression. A kind of very complicated burnout”, says the music journalist Fabien Lecoeuvre regarding. Planet. “He is a little disappointed in the love, he felt this betrayal on the part of Véronique Sanson”.

When his ex-boyfriend flees to the United States with his new love, the American Stephen Stills, Michel Berger was inspired by this separation to relaunch his career as a singer. In 1973, Warner released his first eponymous studio opus, also called Heartbreak. As he prepares to release the second disc songs for a fanone of his titles will catch the attention of a very special admirer.

In the summer of 1973, Michel Berger presented the single Listen to the music, from this upcoming second album. A piece that seduces the public, and France Gall in particularwho had heard it for the first time on the radio while driving his car. “She found his voice extremely disturbing and moving,” says her friend and journalist Fabien Lecoeuvre.

While she was going through a crisis in her career at this time, France Gall took her destiny in hand and absolutely wanted to meet the author of the song. “She will do anything to get closer to him. She will meet him in a radio studio,” adds the TV and radio columnist. It was then that France Gall was invited to Europe 1 for a programalso in the hope of approaching this man with whom she has an artistic crush.

During his lifetime, France Gall returned to this key moment at the microphone in Europe 1 in 2015. “We are there behind the scenes, we are waiting in a corridor. He says hello to me and I say to him: “I want you to listen to something that my record company wants to release,” explained the singer. Unfortunately, Michel Berger prefers to decline the invitation and postpone this moment. It is very bad to know the singer who shows stubbornness. “I arrive at his house eight days later, I make him listen to the tape. He tells me it stinks”. Another disappointment for the interpreter of Soother. But his first meeting will nevertheless prove to be fruitful. “We started a dialogue that never stopped”.

Michel’s declaration to his France

In 1974, Michel Berger and France Gall got to know each other through music. For Fabien Lecoeuvre, the singer’s flair has never failed him in discovering an artist’s talent. “In addition to being a great performer, she is a woman with instinct. She immediately perceived that in Michel Berger”, assesses the author for Planet. “She thought he had very avant-garde words for the year 1973-1974”.

Michel Berger first offers the singer to put his voice on My son will laugh at rock’n rollreleased on his album songs for a fan. This rapprochement is equally beneficial to the writer and composer who is healing from his separation. “It’s a beautiful story of friendship that turned into a love story,” says the CNEWS host. While she separated from Julien Clerc at this time, France Gall saw her career relaunched with the most beautiful song written by Michel Berger, The declaration of love.

“I played a lot of piano, he made me sing things. And he had written a song for him called ‘The Declaration’, which he gave to me instead of singing it to him,” the singer recalled in 2015 to Europe 1 , conveyed especially by Marie Claire. The first success in a long list that will breathe new life into their relationship.

For fans, this alchemy between the two soulmates is more than obvious. “France Gall and Michel Berger are connected by music and by love,” admits Pauline, a retired accountant. “It’s a couple that made me dream. I’ve always loved France Gall, even before I was with him. She really took off with him”. Like her, Marine is an admirer of the couple. “They really had a lot of talent. He made France Gall’s career take off,” said the project manager in the medical sector. Like her friend Anne-Laure, who shares the same feeling. “They are very complementary, both in writing and musically”.

Marriage and family life

Of declaration of love to the engagement there is only one step for Michel Berger and France Gall. But… how to tell himto this person that she is also the love of his life, except through a song in 1975. The following year, on June 22, 1976, the couple married and started their family. With the birth of their daughter Pauline in 1978 and later their son Raphaël in 1981.

A united and loving family Michel Berger was not mentioned (or very little) in the media. “He was a very discreet and modest person. He didn’t like to talk much about him. He lived in his inner world, me in mine,” his widow France Gall confessed in 2012 to Paris Match. For some admirers, the creator of the rock opera star mania was above all a man of music and not tabloids. “When I learned to discover him, I didn’t know his personal life at all. I was very focused on his songs and not his private life”, recognizes Anne-Laure, head of talent acquisition for a startup.

A duo at the top of the charts

From this first artistic collaboration, France Gall returns to success with this hit from the summer of 1974 which ranks 25th in sales in France. With his new muse, Michel Berger is a hit maker who shapes his artist in his image. As Fabien Lecoeuvre assures us. “He changed the way he sang. Before the famous declaration of love, France Gall didn’t sing the same way at all. She lost herself in different styles”.

For our reader Pauline, “their collaboration inspires confidence as he was the one who relaunched her career. You really had to believe in France Gall to take her under his wing”. And she doesn’t think so. Michel Berger is the origin of the greatest hits of the singer’s career from the 1980s. Ironically, the pair of artists together topped the charts with their own song. She defends her piece He played the piano standing up and he co-signs the summer hit from 1980 The pianist’s groupie.

“They kept fighting for the top spot, which is very rare in a career, especially when you’re married and you have to share the top,” notes music expert Fabien Lecoeuvre. Afterwards, Michel Berger will be the favorite composer on all his wife’s albums. Among the notable successes of France Gall, born under her husband’s pen, we find titles such as withstand and Diego free in the head (nineteen eighty one), Baba car and Ella She has (1987) without forgetting Naturally (1988).

A legendary pair for the French

From the 1970s to today, Michel Berger influenced the generations with his music with his wife. Near Planet, Marine assures that “the couple he formed with France Gall helped him a lot in his career. In my opinion, he is a composer known thanks to his companion and his notoriety”, notes the young woman. For those who witnessed her rise to fame as Pauline, the pensioner is still marked by her music. “These pipes rocked my life and I still listen to them often with my family”.

The artist duo also continues to be linked to media life. As Fabien Lecoeuvre observes for us. “It’s a couple that obviously makes you dream because there’s a beautiful popular and shared history,” he explains, referring to the singer’s place in his life. “She will be his happiness, as he will give everything to France Gall. He will make her so fashionable that all the girls identify with her in the mid-1970s”.

But like many stars, the couple has not escaped fame and gossip in showbiz. “Furthermore, there were gray areas when, after the disappearance of Michel Berger and France Gall, tongues were loosened”, explains the famous journalist. However, the singer, husband and father lives on through his fans and the artists of the French music scene who perpetuate his memory.

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