French singer France Gall has died at the age of 70.
The singer, who rose to fame in the 1960’s, was suffering from cancer for two years.
France Gall was taken to hospital near Paris last month for a severe infection.
She won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 representing Luxembourg with the song Wax Doll, Rag Doll (Poupée de cire, Poupée de son).
France Gall enjoyed more international success in 1987 with her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Ella, Elle l’a.
The singer was born in October 1947 into a musical family – her father was singer and songwriter Robert Gall, who penned songs for music legends Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour, among others.
France Gall was known for her childish smile and sweet voice and, in the words of Le Figaro website, “embodied the emancipation of French girls in the post-war era”. Her career spanned 50 years and Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen described her as “a timeless icon of French song”.
She was just 16 when her first single, Don’t Be So Stupid (Ne Sois Pas Si Bête), sold some 200,000 copies.
However, it was France Gall’s Eurovision victory with Poupée de cire – written by Serge Gainsbourg, one of the biggest figures in French popular music – that helped catapult her to fame and make her a star on France’s Yé-yé (yeah yeah) pop scene, so-called because of its nod to English music at the time.
France Gall’s death comes a month after the loss of another giant of French music, Johnny Hallyday – widely seen as the leader of the Yé-yé singers.
Her collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg later came under scrutiny, however, after she admitted she had been too young to fully understand the double meanings of some of his songs.
One of France Gall’s biggest hits was Les Sucettes (Lollipops), which tells the story of a girl who is “in paradise” every time “that little stick is on her tongue”.
Once she realized its full meaning, France Gall refused to perform the song and vowed never to work with Serge Gainsbourg again.
Her 1987 album Babacar, which included her tribute to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, saw her shoot to international fame.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted about France Gall’s death: “She leaves behind songs that everyone in France knows and set an example of a life devoted to others.”
France Gall had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-1990s, not long after the death of her husband and fellow singer Michel Berger at the age of 44 in 1992. He had written the music and lyrics for her Babacar album.
She retired from her music career following the death of the eldest of her two children, Pauline, from cystic fibrosis in 1997.
France Gall spent the final years of her life working on various humanitarian projects.
Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks.
Gerard Depardieu’s opposition to plans for a new 75% rate of income tax prompted him to announce last month that he was leaving the country. When Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called the move “shabby”, the actor said he would tear up his French passport.
The row took a new twist last week, when Gerard Depardieu applied for Russian citizenship, professing his love for a “great democracy”. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him his new passport in person at the weekend.
The very public row between a larger-than-life personality and the Socialist government has put the issue of tax exiles to the fore.
But over the years many sportsmen, entertainers and economic leaders have quietly chosen to leave France for a variety of reasons.
Switzerland – the adoptive homes of celebrities from the world over – appears to be the destination of choice for prominent French exiles.
Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks
Singer Charles Aznavour – who had public rows over taxes with French authorities in 1970s – has lived there for four decades.
Actor Alain Delon set up a luxury goods company in his name in Geneva in 1978 and acquired Swiss citizenship in 1999.
Singer Johnny Hallyday moved to the ski resort of Gstaad in 2006. Media reports suggest he is paying much less in tax in Switzerland than he would in France at the moment – let alone if he had to face a 75% rate over 1 million euros in earnings.
World rally champion Sebastien Loeb became a Swiss resident in 2003. Three years ago he gave the following reason for the move: “French taxes are huge and the career of a sportsman does not last forever.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France’s top male tennis player, has resided in Switzerland since 2008, although he has not cited lower taxes as a reason for his decision.
Other past and present French tennis stars who have become Swiss residents include Guy Forget, Amelie Mauresmo, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, Fabrice Santoro, Gael Montfils, Cedric Pioline, Henri Leconte, and Marion Bartoli.
French-speaking southern Belgium is favored by some. Gerard Depardieu announced he was buying a house there last month. The Meunier family, which controls Carrefour, a supermarket chain, lives just across the border from France.
Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods group LVMH and France’s richest man, applied for Belgian citizenship in September – although he denied that this was for tax reasons, and said he would continue to pay taxes in France.
The actor Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu’s fellow star in the Asterix film franchise, moved to London last year. His agent described the move as temporary and not motivated by taxes.
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