Sylvie Vartan - Biography 44/2004

Biography 44/2004

The Rest of my Life

 From La Maritza to La Seine

Sylvie Vartan was born in 1944 (the 15th of august) in Iskretz, a small town in the Balkans, in Bulgaria. Her parents were Georges (who worked in the French embassy) and her mother Ilona who was Hungarian. Sylvie has a brother named Eddie who was seven years old when she was born.
After Bulgaria had been invaded by the soviets in September, their house was confiscated and the Vartans had to move to Sofia.
"My life changed a lot,» Sylvie said in the magazine Discorevue in "62 : "It was like any other little girl's life in the city, nothing out of the ordinary. But then something big happened. A friend of my father, a director, was making a movie about the war between Turkey and Bulgaria. He gave me a small part as a schoolgirl. I was very young but it had a lasting impression on me. It made me want to work in the entertainment industry. After that, I often dreamed of becoming an entertainer".

In Sofia, where they had to cope with promiscuity and privations, The Vartans had to think about emigration. Because of their love of France that they got from Robert, (Sylvie's grandfather), Paris naturally came to their mind. The departure was scheduled for December of 1952. Sylvie remembers when they left, her grandfather couldn't go with them but he ran after the train.

When the Vartans arrived in France, it was Christmas time. They were amazed at all the food, cheese and fruit... They moved into the "Lion d'argent Hotel" close to Les Halles, where Georges found a job. Afterwards, some financial problems brought them to the "Angleterre Hotel" where they lived in one bedroom for 4 years.

To adapt was difficult for the kids who didn't speak French. Sylvie learned French in two years. At school, her classmates treated her like she was different which she couldn't stand. So she had to work much harder than the others to keep up with the school work. At 11, she started highschool.

Out of Gas

In 1960, things were going better for the Vartan Family. They move to an apartment on Michel Bizot Avenue, just above Franck Ténot's apartment... Eddie and he had become good friends because of their common interest in Jazz. Eddie was indeed, a good trumpet player.

Sylvie studied in a strict high school where girls were not allowed to wear makeup, pants or high heels. Her mother wanted her to study languages because of Sylvie's good language skills. Sylvie enjoyed music, jazz (like her brother) and, of course, rock. She loved Brenda Lee, Bill Haley and Elvis.

Eddie gave up studying law when Franck Ténot offered him a job with the RCA record company (the same one Elvis Presley was with). Eddie became the artistic advisor for Frankie Jordan, a young medical student who sang to make some money. He is the one who was responsible for Sylvie's career. Indeed, for his fourth LP, he wanted to translate the duet "Out of gas" into French, but he needed a female singer. Eddie thought of the English singer, Gillian Hills. But she declined so Eddie had to find someone else.
He asked his sister Sylvie to sing instead. Frankie liked the idea but her parents didn't want her to miss school. Eddie finally convinced them, and his sister missed class to record the LP. Her voice was much lower than Gillian Hills', so she had to sing in a higher voice but who cared ? The song was not expected to be a hit since Sylvie was not on the cover of the LP. She even sold it in the record shop "Sinfonia" where she worked during the summer vacation.

Surprisingly, the LP "Panne d'essence" became a hit. RCA wanted to make the schoolgirl a star but her parents were against it. Their daughter had to finish school. Her Highschool didn't like the way she was photographed at the end of class. The press gave her the nickname : La lycéenne du twist (Twist schoolgirl).

At home, Sylvie finally had to give up school. She signed a contract with RCA for a solo career. Her first LP "Quand le film est triste" was out at the end of "61. It was the French adaptation of "Sad movies make me cry". She was on stage for the first time at the Olympia in Paris, the 12th of December in "61.

Yeah yeah !

Sylvie quickly recorded other LP's such as "Est-ce que tu le sais ?" (What'd I say).

At her second Olympia, where she sang with Vince Taylor, she met "the French Elvis" Johnny Hallyday. He now says how they met : "I came to see my friend, Vince Taylor. I was with another friend Eddie Vartan. When I saw Sylvie, I didn't know she was Eddie's sister. I said : "Have you seen that girl ? I have a crush on her". Then Eddie called Sylvie and said : "Sylvie let me introduce you to Johnny. Johnny, this is my sister, Sylvie". Johnny laughs : "I was so embarrassed !".

Johnny was in love but Sylvie was far too serious to be interested in him. Besides, she was in love with somebody else.
When Daniel Filipacchi launched the magazine "Salut les copains", it was an incredible success (50 000 copies were sold). Sylvie was often featured in it and she was getting more and more famous.
In the fall of '62, she released the French version of "the locomotion" by Little Eva, and her first LP simply called "Sylvie". The year after, she sang at the Olympia her first big hit "Tous mes copains" written by Jean-Jacques Debout. Sylvie also appeared in a movie called "Un clair de lune à Maubeuge", which everyone quickly forgot.
Johnny still tried to get to know her better and from February to March, they sang on the same Tour. Eventually, they fell in love. They were even in a movie together "D'où viens-tu Johnny ?" by Noël Howard. Sylvie and Johnny had always kept their relationship private but one day, on a radio program, a journalist asked them : "Are you still good friends?" They surprisingly answered that they were engaged ! The same day, they sang at "La Nation" in front of 200 000 noisy fans.

La plus belle pour aller danser

At the end of that year, the newly engaged couple visited NYC. Sylvie also had to go to Nashville. She recorded a new LP with the Jordanaires, the same musicians who had worked with Elvis Presley. Thanks to them, and Nashville vibes, she made her two biggest hits : "Si je chante" (My whole world is falling down) and "La plus belle pour aller danser". In 1964, Sylvie was on the program at the Olympia featuring Trini Lopez ("If I had a hammer") and the Beatles, who weren't as famous as they were in Hamburg (Eddie even thought of hiring them to appear with Sylvie !). Though Sylvie had to sing in between those two sensations, she was definitely "La plus belle pour aller danser".

Surveys revealed that she was the most successful female singer, ahead of Françoise Hardy and Sheila.

But many people disliked these "Yéyé girls", they found them to be too clumsy, they laughed at them ... Or were shocked when on a TV program, Sylvie was dressed in pants and sang "I would like to be a boy", which was ahead of it's time for French television.

These "Yéyé girls" were the target of male rockers who destroyed chairs in the theatre. Sylvie had to leave the stage. She would have to justify in front of journalists on TV news.

Her Nashville album was a commercial success. With the movie "Cherchez l'idole", "La plus belle pour aller danser" became one of her biggest hits in Japan (1 000 000 LP's were sold). When Sylvie went to Japan, she was welcomed by a crowd of fans. The commercial for the clothes "Renown" made her even more famous.

At the end of 1964, Johnny joined the military. Sylvie was alone and made friends with Carlos, Françoise Dolto's son, who gave up his studies to become her secretary. She worked a lot and mades her real film debut with the movie "Patate" (which means "Potato"). It was a screen adaptation of a play by Marcel Achard. Sylvie played Alexa Rollo and costarred with Jean Marais, Anne Vernon, Mike Marshall and Pierre Dux. She thought it was an opportunity for her to start an acting career. As a matter of fact, many directors thought she had potential : Jacques Demy ("Les parapluies de Cherbourg"), Godard ("Pierrot le fou") or Rappeneau ("La vie de château"). But when Sylvie was on tour, her agent declined all movie offers without even asking her. When she learned from Jacques Demy himself, of all the opportunities she had missed, she broke down in tears. She would have to wait 30 years for another opportunity. Until then, she sang better and better. She now had her own musical style. Her brother Eddie hired two brilliant musicians : Tommy Brown on drums and the young Micky Jones on guitar (he later became the lead singer of "Foreigner"). The two of them wrote her first original songs : "Gonna cry", "I made my choice", etc...).

Still unknown in the US market, she went back to NYC to record her first American album "A gift wrapped from Paris" that was released in Germany, Japan, South America and the USA (but not in France). She promoted this album making several appearances on hit TV Shows such as "The Ed Sullivan show", "Hullabaloo" and "Shindig" with Chuck Berry ! This international tour included Canada, South America and Polynesia.

Sylvie traveled all over the world. 1965 will remain a big year for everyone who was lucky enough to be a teenager at that time.

Just married

The 12 of April, in Loconville (where the Vartan family were established), Johnny Hallyday AKA "the French Elvis" married "The" Yéyé girl. The wedding ceremony should have been intimate but the priest couldn't keep it a secret, so hundreds of fans and 180 paparazzi invaded Loconville to attend the event.

The next day , the couple was on the cover of all the magazines. The magazine "Salut les copains" had its best sales ever. Sylvie's picture crying was spread everywhere ("Paris Match", "Jours de France"...). Some journalists still thought it was a fake marriage (what for ?), but the couple was far away, on a honeymoon in Las Palmas. Once back from Las Palmas, Johnny returned to his military duty and Sylvie started her first fan club. When Johnny came back, Sylvie and he gave a "Royal Command Performance" in front of Queen Elizabeth, and starred in a TV show...

1966 was another special year since Sylvie was pregnant. She mainly rested in Loconville and also recorded a few songs (the French version of "Sloop John B" by The beach boys). David was born on the 14th of August (almost like his mother). When she went back to work in October, Sylvie left for Turkey and asked her mother to take care of her son.

Black is black

The weeks following the birth of his son, Johnny couldn't get used to being a father. He even said he preferred to go out with his old pals. Sylvie looked after their son alone. Things were getting worse and she filed for divorce. When he learned of it, Johnny was at a party with friends. Already shaken by tax problems and declining success, he broke down. He locked himself in the bathroom and took some pills. At the emergency room, Sylvie arrived, crying. Eventually, they reconciled.

In 1967, the couple seemed to be OK. They traveled together to Brazil and decided to give concerts at l'Olympia. But they wondered if their fans would enjoy a duet. The audience was hysterical when they sang the French version of an Ike & Tina Turner song ("Fool for your love") : "Je crois qu'il me rend fou". Therefore, Sylvie remained independent and starred in another show alone, at the Olympia, in April "68. Unfortunately, the young woman got into a terrible car accident. Her car was hit by another one and the co-driver, her friend Mercedes, died. It took Sylvie a long time to get over this terrible accident.

In December, she was back on stage in Paris and in tour. She was no longer a timid young Yéyé girl but a terrific sexy dancer, more into cabaret than rock n' roll.

Just as she did two times a year in France with the great producers Maritie & Gilbert Carpentier, the first 9 weeks of 1969, Sylvie was the guest star of an Italian TV show called "Doppia coppia". On this occasion, she sang her greatest hits in Italian. The Italian channel "RAI UNO" offered the best in Europe at that time. Every Saturday, the Italian viewers could enjoy her appearances, dressed in short skirts and Barbarella boots. Each song had a different costume. An Italian cartoonist even drew a Sylvie lookalike simply called Vartan (the same happened in France with "Jodelle").

In June "69, Sylvie faced the African public with her friend Carlos for a big tour in Senegal, Congo and Morocco. In February "70, Sylvie and Johnny recorded an LP together ("Les hommes") and intended to go on tour. But they were in a car accident when their car slid off the road and crashed. Johnny was okay but his wife was bleeding. Sylvie was seriously injured. She spent several months recuperating in a NYC. During her recovery, Sylvie met Jojo Smith (Barbra Streisand's choreographer), who was at the beginning of a new start in her career.

Olympia Godess

Most of Sylvie's friends tried to talk her out of singing and dancing at the same time, like on American TV. They thought French audiences would not be used to that. But she decided to work on this project anyway. The show took place at the Olympia. When the curtain opened, she played guitar and sang the French version of "Bad Moon Rising" - "C'est bon de vous voir" ("Good to see you") - and "Let the Sun Shine" as the finale with the "Voices of East Harlem". The show was a success during its three weeks and won a special award.

She sang in Tokyo in May, where she also recorded in Japanese. Nobody forgot "La plus belle pour aller danser", "Irrésistiblement"...

Sylvie and Johnny traveled through the USA. This trip was filmed by François Reichenbach "Mon amie Sylvie". Sylvie also made a real movie. She was a prostitute named Bets in "Malpertuis", by Harry Kumel with Orson Welles, Michel Bouquet, Mathieu Carrière and Susan Hampshire. She had a small part in which she sang "He was made for me" ("Lui"). She thought she deserved a better part. From then on, she decided only to accept parts that she found interesting.

In 1972, she came back to the Olympia with a new choreographer, Howard Jeffrey. She sang "Proud Mary" and danced in "Shaft". She also sang a moving tribute to her deceased father ("Mon père"). But her husband wasn't at the premiere. Of course, the journalists quickly announced a split and even thought the song "If you go away" sung by Sylvie was directed at her husband ! They eventually worked out their problems. In 1973, Sylvie often sang overseas. In France, she recorded a new duet with Johnny "J'ai un problème", but without conviction. Even so, the LP was a hit. That summer, they went on tour together, showing that they were still a couple. In October, she went back to Japan. Her Italian song "Caro Mozart" was an unexpected success. The following year, she released "La reine de Saba", which contained French classics (by Montand, Brel or Piaf).

At the beginning of 1974, Sylvie and Johnny announced they were going to have another child. But in March, a miscarriage put an end to their joy. Afterwards, they tried to adopt a child but without success.

Sylvie focused on her professional projects. From March until May, she was back on Italian TV, on a program called "Punto e basta". As she had done for "Doppia coppia", she sang in Italian ("Da dou ron ron", "Bye bye Leroy Brown" and "Shang shang a lang"). Johnny even sang their famous duet "J'ai un problème", in Italian. They both went on tour in the south of France and then went to Canada for two concerts in front of 30 000 people. They seemed happily married. But how long would it last ?

In 1975, Sylvie had a new producer named Jacques Revaux. Thanks to him, she was on the top of the charts with two songs "La drôle de fin" ("Last tango) and "Danse-la,chante-la" ("Tambourine"). For the last ten years, she had only sung at the Olympia theatre. Now, she wanted a bigger stage so she could make her shows more elaborate. Once again, her friends tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined. She finally found the funds in order to offer herself this bigger stage. Then, she began to work on a new show with the American choreographer Walter Painter, who worked with Elvis Presley on the movie "Viva Maria". At the premiere, the critics expected a bad show. But when Sylvie appeared on stage, they found her to be better than ever. Whether it was a Walter Painter saloon dance or an incredible tango – all were brilliant. All the shows on the tour were sold out. When she went to California on vacation with her son, Johnny stayed in France. The tabloids talked about a split, which was confirmed by Johnny : "Sylvie and I have nothing in common". Sylvie decided to stay away from France and its press. David even went to an American school. But in 1977, she was back in France and in Johnny's life. Her summer hit "Petit rainbow" seemed to be directed at him.

During that same summer, she made another TV show "Dancing Star" with Marie-Paule Belle, Jean-Cl. Brialy, Carlos, G. Lenorman and Michel Sardou. Her new choreographer was Claude Thompson. He created several dances for her brand new show at The Palais des Congrès. With her curly blond hair and her long legs, she looked sexier than ever wearing an open dress and tiger stripes. For "Le temps du swing", Sylvie reminded us of the Andrews Sisters. For "Tout le bazar" she did an incredible tap dance. In the second part of the show, she danced two tangos, disco and a wonderful finale. She was, indeed, the "Dancing star" she sang.

In 1978, she appeared calmer. Johnny released a biography "Johnny talks about Hallyday" in which he told of his love for his wife. This seemed to dispel the rumors of their troubled marriage. In France, disco was the latest fashion. Sheila and the B. Devotion, Patrick Juvet and Karen Cheryl, all sang in English. RCA encouraged Sylvie to make a whole album in this language. Sylvie released "I don't want the night to end" which met with little success in France, probably because Sylvie's fans wanted her to stay French. Despite the fact that she was not the "Disco Queen" she sang the year before, she recorded a new hit with "Nicolas" a sort of echo to "La Maritza".

Last Tango

At the end of the year, all the tabloids announced Sylvie and Johnny's divorce. This was certainly not the first time, but unfortunately, this time, it was the truth. Both of them had decided to put an end to their marriage. Johnny claimed he still loved his wife, but Sylvie kept silent. Though she acknowledged she couldn't push the past aside, for the sake of their son, she was determined to keep matters private. This was the end of a passionate relationship, scandals and tabloid gossip. The previous summer, Sylvie and Johnny sang together in Orange and Béziers. "On stage, our relationship hasn't changed at all" she said.

The Eighties were a new era for her... In the Fall, her new album "Bienvenue solitude" ("Welcome loneliness") sounded autobiographical. She said she had not found the man of her dreams yet...

Love again

1981 will remain very special for Sylvie. In Spring, she met Tony Scotti in Japan at a music festival. Tony was an American producer of Italian decent. He was known for producing "Baywatch". Sylvie did not expect to fall in love. She was preparing a book of souvenirs and pictures, while working on her new show and recording a new album. It's "Love again"...

Sylvie started working on her new show with Claude Thompson. She rented Le Palais des sports where Johnny had already sung many times. In November, Sylvie was back in Paris. She gave the audience quite a show. She sang Rock and Roll songs and some of her old hits, dressed as the Yéyé girl she used to be in the 60ies. The second part of the show was amazing : She came down on a plastic cloud singing "Enough is enough". The carnival dance called "Tape-tape" was also a success.

Sylvie wanted to sing in Las Vegas, with Tony Scotti's support. It was a new challenge for her. Of course, she had already sung in many foreign countries, but Las Vegas was the ultimate. The best performers had sung there : American stars (Sinatra, Dietrich) and French artists (Piaf). Sylvie was thrilled.

Her billboard, claiming she was "the best gift from France since the statue of liberty", showed her lying in a sexy straight gilded fourreau, made many journalists write : "Who is the Lady on the billboard ?"

At the premiere, Gene Kelly introduced Sylvie to her new American public. The show was a shorter version of the one she made for Paris. It was considered "the show of the decade". She did the same show in Los Angeles. Critics compared her with Cher and Liza Minelli.

That spring, Michel Sardou contacted Sylvie to work on her next show in Los Angeles. She had often told him she wanted to sing a duet together. They chose three songs which they recorded while she worked on her new show for the Palais des congrès. The Duet and LP were both "Gold", which was not surprising. Both she and Michel Sardou were among the most popular singers at that time. For her next album, Sylvie sang French covers of "Sweet dreams" by the Eurythmics and "What a feeling" by Irene Cara.

At the Palais des congrès, Sylvie danced and sang in Spanish and in English, "Raining men" (a sexier dance than the one the Weather sisters performed). But she also sang beautiful love songs : Brel, Piaf and one of her most beautiful hits : "Aimer", "Le dimanche" and "Encore".... In "84, she recorded a new duet ("Love again") with John Denver. This song was a gift from John to the couple for a special event...

Made in USA

The 2nd of June, in Los Angeles, Sylvie, dressed in white with her favorite flowers in her hair, said "I do" to Tony. Her new husband gave her a luxurious home in Beverly Hills.

Maybe because of her American marriage, Sylvie was more American than ever (even though she kept her French citizenship). Like Victoria Principal and Raquel Welch, she wrote a "Beauty Book". In France, it was the first of its kind made by a French star. The book, which showed a glamorous Sylvie, was popular among her female fans. Like "Si je chante" a few years earlier, it was a best seller.

Meanwhile, she recorded her third American album "Made in USA". In spite of its quality, her die-hard fans didn't seem to like when she sang in English... So she made a new album called "Virage" which was more an end than a beginning. It was her last album for RCA.

In the following years, Sylvie decided to calm down. She took care of her husband and her son, David's career. David grew up between Normandy and LA, hidden from paparazzi. Today, he is an accomplished musician who plays piano as well as drums. After he got his degree, he worked for his stepfather a bit, and said he wanted to become a singer like his parents. Not surprising, but everyone was waiting for his debut, to see if he will be as good as they were.

He starred in a comedy called "He's my girl" produced by Tony Scotti, and he recorded an album in English ("True Cool") which was a great success. Sylvie could go back to work. In 1989, except for the single "Femme sous influence" and a Japanese CD (a boom-boom version of "Irrésistiblement"), Sylvie had recorded nothing since the split with RCA. Phonogram (Johnny and David's company) released her new album "Confidanses". Two videos were shot : "C'est fatal" and "Il pleut sur London". And a few months later, a new version of one of Sylvie's old hits - "Quand tu es là" - reunited old fans with a new generation. Sylvie was in the French Top 50.

She also sang on a double CD called "Urgences" to raise money to fight AIDS. Sylvie had matured and wanted to help others. The wind of change blowing behind the iron curtain also caught her attention...

Back to Sofia

In October "90, thanks to Maritie & Gilbert Carpentier, Sylvie and her husband Tony, Eddie, David and his young wife (top-model Estelle Lefébure) went to Bulgaria. Sylvie's mother was too old to go with them. In the evening, she was on stage. During the concert, she sang tributes to John Lennon ("Imagine" and "Il pleut sur London"), the song by Trenet that her grandfather used to sing to her. The audience was particularly moved when she sang "La Maritza" and the forbidden revolutionary hymn "Mila rodino". This concert was the most moving event of Sylvie's career. Then, Sylvie was moved and surprised to see her house and the landmarks of her childhood. Back from Bulgaria, Eddie and she decided to fund an association in order to help childhood. They refused to work with "La croix rouge" because they didn't want the nomenclatura to get the funds.

Je vous salue Paris

Sylvie was back in the record stores but still not on stage. She had not sung for seven years. She said she missed performing for a live audience of her French fans.

She was back in January 1991. She chose The palais des sports where she had enjoyed herself so much ten years earlier. The concert was called "Je vous salue Paris" and two people wanted Sylvie to sing her old tunes : her husband and Etienne Daho. Sylvie started singing "Par amour, par pitié" and other memorable hits. The dances by Jerry Evans were the most modern she'd ever made. For "Donne-moi ton amour" ("Gimme some lovin'"), she looked like Barbarella. The first part ended with a rap ("Comme un garçon").

In the second one, Sylvie was dressed by Paco Rabanne. She sang "Quand tu es là" and gave us a Motown performance with "Moi je danse" ("Same old song"), "Garde moi dans ta poche" ("Can't help myself"), "Je n'ai pas pu résister" ("Keep me hangin' on") and "Dancing in the street". She also made us travel to Nashville ("La plus belle pour aller danser"/"Te voici"). Thanks Etienne ! But the show didn't last because of the conflict in the Gulf.

Afterwards, Sylvie sang in Italy and Japan.

In "92, she put out a new album, "Vent d'ouest".

Tender Years

On June "93, Johnny Hallyday turned 50 years old and celebrated during concerts in the huge stadium "Parc des Princes" with many friends, his son David and ex-wife Sylvie. Despite her friends' opinions, she decided to sing accapella. During the concert, she sang "Tes tendres années" (Tender years) in front of 60.000 moved fans. The single was a hit which showed that Sylvie and Johnny were still tied to their fans...

Right after their divorce, their relationship had its ups and downs until they became good friends, special friends, which explains why tabloids claim they are still in love.

Star of the Silver Screen

In August "93, Sylvie began "l'Ange noir" ("Black angel"), a movie by Jean-Claude Brisseau. They had met at the Cannes Festival. He had approached her to tell her that he had chosen Vanessa Paradis in "Noce Blanche", because she looked like a young Sylvie Vartan. Brisseau told Sylvie he wanted her in his next movie. But the film would have to wait three years.

"Black angel" was not a comedy like "Patate". It was an ambitious movie in which Sylvie had a chance to display her acting ability for the first time. She played Stéphane Feuvrier, a dark criminal. As Godard did with Johnny Hallyday in "Détective", Brisseau got rid of Sylvie's image. It was a new role for Sylvie, and she proved to be a good actress. The movie got conflicting reviews from the different magazines, "Studio", "Première", "Libération", "Télérama" or "Les cahiers du cinéma. But nobody doubted that Sylvie had real talent.

Unplugged Sessions

Then, Sylvie recorded for unplugged sessions some of her old hits such as : "Tous mes copains", "La plus belle pour aller danser", "Par amour, par pitié", and of course "La Maritza". She now had a more classic style and a shorter haircut.

At the end of "94, she was everywhere. "Black angel" was out, and several concerts were scheduled. Her album was a success. Sylvie was back.

Her son David announced that she would be a grandmother soon. His wife Estelle was expecting a little girl in May "95. Her parents named her Ilona, after Sylvie's mother.

In January, Sylvie was back on stage. She chose the legendary Casino de Paris. At the premiere, everybody was wondering what her new show would be like. Sylvie, dressed in black, emerged from the stage dancing and sang "Qu'est-ce qui fait pleurer les blondes ?", "Irrésistiblement", "L'amour c'est comme une cigarette"... If the first part of the show was rather pop, the second one was more glamorous. She ended the show by singing Leo Ferré and Brel. One night Johnny joined her on stage. The show was a success : all the seats were sold out.

Century Concert

But Sylvie didn't want her success to be due to a revival of her old hits. She recorded a new album with the best songwriters of the decade : Jean-Louis Murat, Luc Plamondon, Yves Simon, Marc Morgan and Richard Cocciante. The album "Toutes les femmes ont un secret" was a success (100 000 sales) according to the critics who thought it was her best album in ten years.

Sylvie came back to the Olympia in October 1996, a few months before it moved. For her and the public, being back in the theatre where she made her debut was very moving. When the red curtain opened and her unchanged silhouette appeared, we could hardly believe thirty years had gone by since her concert with the Beatles. She sang old Yéyé tunes with a lot of humor and also beautiful songs like "Petit bateau" for her granddaughter and "Quelqu'un m'attend" which dealt with adoption. The restless tabloids wrote that she intended to adopt a child and indeed, even though she was already very happy with her granddaughters (a second one, Emma, was born in 1997) she had always wanted to adopt a baby girl. So she did by adopting Darina, a young girl born in Bulgaria. For her daughter, Sylvie released two albums for children, proving that childhood was her universe.

After her Japan Tour in 99, Sylvie made another Concert at the Olympia. She wanted to celebrate the year 2000 by singing the most popular songs of the beginning of the 20th Century :
Mistinguet and Joséphine Baker but also Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Fréhel or Maurice Chevalier in an expected Century Medley. It was funny to hear the Yeye Girl to sing this old fashionned tunes. But it was also the opportunity to realize she is now a part of the french popular culture.

After her tour in France and another special TV program called "Qu'est-ce qui fait rêver Sylvie ?", our blonde singer made a TV-movie "Mausolée pour une garce" in 2001. The painful death of her beloved brother Eddie happened during the shooting. Eddie was her manager, her musician, her support, her friend...

Afterwards, Sylvie was not really able to go back singing.

After a two years long break, she eventually published her Memories : "Entre l'ombre et la lumière" ("Between shadow and light") in which she confesses in a way she never did before. This book, moving and sincere, becomes a Best-seller in a few weeks (200 000 sold copies).

In fall 2004 she started recording and giving concerts of jazz ballads in francophone countries and Japan. She performed two weeks in the Palais des congrès in 2004 and 2008 (sold out concerts each time). Since 2009 she regularly tours in Turkey, France, Japan, Switzerland, Quebec,USA, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium.

Everlasting Star

Today, the press doesn't criticize Sylvie Vartan as they used to, but rather, they consider her a sixties monument, as if her long career had taught them a certain sense of respect. She had now become a cult phenomenon.

First female rocker in French music history, best collectors seller, she deserved all her titles and awards (ordre des Arts et Lettres in "85, ordre du mérite in "87, légion d'honneur in "98).

Her career is constantly celebrated : there is half a dozen books on her, her complete studio and live recordings were released on CD, her TV appearances attract more viewers than any other guest-star... even an exhibition of her Wardrobe -including Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier or glamourous Bob Mackie's outfits- was shown in the Palais Galliera of Paris.

Why is she still so popular ? Some people say it's her looks but it isn't only that, even though "Gentlemen prefer blondes".

Others say it's the incredible support she had at the beginning of her career : Daniel Filipacchi and Johnny Hallyday... As for Johnny Hallyday, if she had a prosperous career as long as she had been married to him, it would be really sexist to explain her success through his... since she also had to face severe critics...

We also consider the work she puts into each album or concert. Sylvie, who is honest enough to acknowledge she must work to succeed, gets irritated with people who say she must work because of lack of talent. Indeed, let's admit her success can simply have this explanation : her talent.

Sylvie Vartan