Artist Catalog

Pierre Delanoë

Born: December 16 1918
Born in: Paris, France

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  • french
  • european
  • death by heart attack

Pierre Delanoë

Pierre Delanoë (16 December 1918 – 27 December 2006), born Pierre Charles Marcel Napoleon Leroyer in Paris, France, was a French lyricist who wrote thousands of songs for dozens of singers such as Dalida, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Petula Clark, Johnny Hallyday, and Mireille Mathieu. Delanoë was his grandmothers maiden name.

After he obtained a law degree, Delanoë started a career as a tax collector and later a tax inspector. After World War II he met Gilbert Bécaud and began working as a lyricist. He even sang with Bécaud in clubs in the beginning, but this did not last long. He wrote some of France's most beloved songs with Bécaud, including "Et maintenant", translated into English as "What Now My Love", which was covered by artists including Agnetha Fältskog, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Sonny & Cher, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, and The Temptations. "Je t'appartiens" ("Let It Be Me") was covered by The Everly Brothers, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nina Simone and Nofx. "Crois-moi ça durera" was covered as "You'll See" by Nat King Cole.

In addition to Bécaud, he wrote for Édith Piaf ("La Goualante du pauvre Jean"), Tino Rossi, Hugues Aufray, Michel Fugain ("Je n'aurai pas le temps", "Une belle histoire"), Nicoletta, Nana Mouskouri, Michel Polnareff, Gérard Lenorman ("La Ballade des gens heureux"), Joe Dassin ("L'Été indien", "Les Champs-Élysées", "Et si tu n'existais pas"), Nicole Rieu ("Et bonjour à toi l'artiste") and Michel Sardou ("Les Vieux Mariés", "Le France"). He wrote a passionate song about Joan of Arc in "La demoiselle d'Orléans" for Mireille Mathieu. The final lyric: "When I think of all I have given France... and she has forgotten me" was truly how the singer felt as she was made a caricature by the Communists in power.

His song "Dors, mon amour", performed by André Claveau, won the Eurovision Song Contest 1958.

In 1955, Delanoë helped to launch Europe 1 as Director of Programs, the first French radio station to program popular music in a modern way.

Pierre Delanoë served as President of SACEM in 1984 and 1986, then from 1988 to 1990, and 1992 to 1994. He was awarded the Poets Grand Prize in 1997 by the institution.

On 31 March 2004 he was given France's highest culture award, Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

He created some controversy in July 2006 after expressing his dislike for rap music, saying that it is "a form of expression for people incapable of making music" and "not music but vociferations, eructations (belching)".

Delanoë died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of 27 December 2006 in Poissy near Paris. He is buried in the Cimetière de Fourqueux, which is just southeast of Poissy. His wife Micheline Leroyer (née Biesel) died 16 January 2015 at age 97, and is buried beside him. They had three children Pierre-Denis, Sylvie, and Caroline.