The French song in a new look
The French song in einem neuen Look
The French song in een neiuw kleedje
The French song dans une nouvelle version
—This is made without midi files—
The French Song – Lucille Starr – Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes.
Born Lucille Marie Raymonde Savoie in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, Starr was a natural musician who could play guitar and bass as well as the mandolin. Although born in Manitoba, she was raised in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam’s Francophone community of Maillardville, British Columbia starting her musical career with the local group Les Hirondelles. Using the stage name of Lucille Starr, she eventually teamed up with band member Bob Regan both as his wife and to form their own country singing duo called “Bob & Lucille”. Between 1958 and 1963 they released several 45 rpm records that were mainly covers of an eclectic mix of fashionable country, pop, rockabilly and folk songs of people such as Perry Como to Connie Francis. Their records met with modest success on the North American West Coast and in 1963 they were signed by A&M Records with which they began recording as “The Canadian Sweethearts”.
At A&M Records in Los Angeles, California, Starr recorded a song called “The French Song” that was produced by Herb Alpert. It was recorded in both French and English. In 1964, at a time when The Beatles dominated the music charts, “The French Song” was an international success that made Starr the first Canadian artist to have a record sell over a million copies. The song took her from near obscurity to the world stage, touring the United States and appearing on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and on Chicago radio station WLS (AM) popular National Barn Dance. Starr also sang on American television musical variety shows such as Shindig! and Hullabaloo, followed by tours of Pacific Rim countries, Australia, South Africa, and across Europe where she became a particular favorite in the Netherlands. Selling sold over one million copies, it was awarded a gold disc.
In 1967, Starr and her Canadian Sweethearts duo signed a recording contract with Epic Records in Nashville, Tennessee. Divorced from her husband, their musical collaboration ended in 1977. Although she never again had a hit of the magnitude of “The French Song”, Starr enjoyed a long and prosperous career recording primarily in English but also in French and Spanish. For the most part she sang country music, becoming the first female inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association’s “Hall of Honor” in 1987. A capable yodeler, she was hired to do the yodeling for the “Cousin Pearl” character on several segments of the hit TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.
Back to You: the Life and Music of Lucille Starr, a jukebox musical with a script by Tracey Power, opened at the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg on 10 November 2010 and is scheduled to run til 28 November 2010.
In her honour, a street in the city of Coquitlam, British Columbia was named “Lucille Starr Drive”.
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