Maurice Chevalier

About Maurice Chevalier


Maurice Chevalier: Valentine 

Born in Paris, France, Maurice Auguste Chevalier (1888 – 1972) humbly began his career performing in the theaters of suburban slums and second-rate resorts. His suave manner and half-speaking style of singing, together with his trademark tilted straw hat gained him international fame as a stage personality, and he became known as “the most popular Frenchman in the world.”

Maurice Chevalier

He was imprisoned as a POW in World War I. When he was released, he moved to Paris where he paired up with vaudeville star Mistinguett at the Follies Bergere. Their act soon became a renowned success, propelling Chevalier into a celebrity in France and the cabaret community. Adored by the public, he began acting in Hollywood films such as Silence is Golden and more famously Gigi in the 1950s with Leslie Caron. Chevalier used an intentionally thick French accent, teasingly insinuating songs, and his suave, sophisticated demeanor to captivate international audiences, transforming him into an iconoclastic symbol of French culture and society in the 1930s.

Maurice Chevalier wasn’t simply a cabaret singer; he was also a first-class entertainer, and someone who took great pride in being a showman. Like Edith Piaf, he was among the most famous French singers of the 20th century, but that’s where the similarity ends. In contrast to Piaf’s many deeply introspective and emotionally intense performances, Chevalier favored fun, happy entertainment. Spanning 1928-1942, Valentine boasts many of the essential recordings he was famous for. Chevalier’s charm and charisma are hard to miss on such exuberant classics as “Paris Sera Toujours Paris,” “Fleur De Paris” and “Donnez-moi La Main, Mama’Zelle” (not to mention “La Choupetta” and the title song). While Piaf’s singing could bring tears to your eyes, Chevalier knew how to inspire laughter.

Seldom seen without his signature tuxedo and hats, Chevalier’s playful sarcasm, magnificent voice, and intoxicated stage presence made him a natural on stage and in films.

Maurice Chevalier also appears on these albums:

75107 | 75109 | 75110

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