Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday Francis Lai

Francis Albert Lai was born April 26, 1932, in Nice, France. After studying piano as a child, he later discovered jazz and played with local orchestras in Nice. During the 1950s he met the singer Claude Goaty and followed her to Paris, eventually settling in Montmartre. At the local "Taverne d'Attilio", Lai then met Bernard Dimey, with whom he composed his first song and collaborated on well over 100 more songs. After a short period with the orchestra of Michel Magne, Lai became Edith Piaf's accompanist, for whom Lai also composed a number of songs as well. His work on Claude Lelouch's 1966 hit film “A Man and a Woman” elevated Lai to international renown, and he notched a perennial easy listening favorite with the picture's Brazilian-inflected title tune. He won an Oscar for the 1970 Arthur Hiller blockbuster “Love Story”, and the film's theme, "Where Do I Begin?," also became a Top 40 hit for Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, and even Lai himself. Although the composer never again reached the same commercial heights, he continued working regularly in the cinema, often in conjunction with director Lelouch, and composed a number of instrumental favorites, including "Today It's You," "Happy New Year," and "Love in the Rain." He has written the music for more than 100 films and composed over 600 songs. Lai composed the score for three Euro-westerns: “In the Dust of the Sun” and “The Legend of Frenchie King” (both 1971), “Another Man, Another Chance” (1977). Today we celebrate Francis Lai’s 80th birthday.

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