MICHAEL BERGER. August 2, 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Michel Berger, a French singer famous for dozens of songs.
He will undoubtedly remain one of the most famous artists of French music. Born in 1947, Michel Berger died 30 years ago, on August 2, 1992. The opportunity to retrace the career of the man who gave French music some of his most beautiful pieces. The pianist’s groupie, white paradise, A few words of loveor Diego free in his head… How difficult it would be to draw up an exhaustive list of songs that have become cult songs by Michel Berger.
And his career has also been synonymous with many collaborations, notably with Johnny Hallyday, Françoise Hardy, Véronique Sanson, with whom he was in a relationship until 1972 and of course, France Gall, whom he married in 1976 and with whom he will remain until his sudden death in the summer of 1992. At only 42 years old, Michel Berger left behind him two children and a considerable body of work for French variety. Even today, many of his songs have crossed the ages, making him, still today, one of the icons of music in France.
But at the height of his glory, on August 2, 1992, Michel Berger was struck down by a heart attack, at only 44 years old. At that time, the singer was in his property in Ramatuelle, in the Var, with his wife France Gall. Michel Berger’s heart attack hits him during a game of tennis with their friend Marie-Françoise Holtz, the wife of journalist Gérard Holtz. The singer is buried in the cemetery of Montmartre, in Paris.
From the first successes to starmania
Michel Bergé was born on November 28, 1947 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. He comes from a bourgeois Protestant family: his father, Jean Hamburger, is a professor of medicine and nephrologist, his mother, Anette Haas is a concert artist. He moves quickly towards the music. he released his first album love and soda in 1963 in parallel with his studies, then a second You don’t believe it. This one makes him known, in particular by the Emi record company which then asks him to write songs like Giraffes for Bourvil in 1967. In the meantime, he met Véronique Sanson with whom he fell madly in love. Their union lasted until 1972, when he became an artistic producer at WEA and produced two albums for his girlfriend containing hits like Need anyone. Coming out devastated by his breakup with Véronique Sanson, Michel Berger then took refuge even more in music.
In 1973, he released Broken Heart and works on Françoise Hardy’s album, Personal messagefrom which the success is extracted If you ever believe that you love me. In 1974, Michel Berger recorded song for a fan and met at this time France Gall, with whom he married in 1976. He relaunched his career by writing songs like The statement in 1975, while continuing his personal productions as That love is weird and My piano is dancing. So what comes out disco dancing for France Gall in 1977, Michel Berger worked on his musical comedy project with which he associated Luc Plamondon. This is how the album starmania, bringing together many artists like Daniel Balavoine, was born in 1978 and very quickly became a double gold album in France and first in the Quebec rankings for several months. The musical, meanwhile, is performed the following year.
On the strength of this success, Michel Berger continued to write songs for France Gall with the albums Paris, France in 1980 and Unplug in 1984, or for Johnny Hallyday with Rock’n’roll attitude in 1985. He also collaborates with Elton John and directors for whom he composes film music, such as for All fire all flames in 1982, while working on his personal albums including Beausejour, Beautiful shoreline, Thug and Differences, and by getting involved in several humanitarian projects. Early 1990s, Michel Berger returns with a new musical The Legend of Jimmythen a duet album with France Gall, Double-dealing, released in 1992. It will be his last. Michel Berger died that same year of a heart attack.
After his difficult break with Véronique Sanson, Michel Berger meets France Gall. Inseparable, in the city as on the stage, they first meet in the premises of Europe 1, when they are both 26 years old and they are already two recognized artists. “We are there backstage, we are waiting in a hallway. He says hello to me and I say to him: ‘I would like you to listen to something that my record company would like to release'”, remembered France Gall, at the microphone from the same radio, forty years later. And if he refuses at first, from this first meeting will be born a great story. “I played a lot of piano, he made me sing stuff. And he had written a song for him called ‘The declaration’, which he gave to me instead of singing it to him”, added France Gall on Europe 1.
Three years later, on June 22, 1976, the couple married. From their union will be born two children, Pauline Isabelle, born November 14, 1978 (who died of cystic fibrosis in 1997) and Raphaël Michel, born April 2, 1981. From 1975 to 1992, France Gall and Michel Berger scored together the song French with several unforgettable hits, such as The declaration of love, It swings quite a bit in Paris or resist.
Michel Berger will have offered to the French song some of its most beautiful pieces. Despite his premature death, his repertoire includes many hits. “The pianist’s groupie”, “A few words of love” or “The one who sings” in 1980, “Diego, free in his head” the following year, “The princes of the cities” in 1983, “White paradise” in 1990… It would be difficult to name all the songs by Michel Berger that have become classics of French song.
In addition to his compositions, interpreted by him, by France Gall or even for other artists, it is also the French musical that owes Michel Berger several hits, excerpts from the show Starmania, which he created in 1979 with Luc Plamondon and whose umpteenth recovery will see the light of day in France in 2020.