The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary French Singers of all time. This list of famous French Singers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of French Singers.
With an HPI of 86.20, Édith Piaf is the most famous French Singer. Her biography has been translated into 118 different languages on wikipedia.
Édith Piaf (UK: , US: ; French: [edit pjaf] (listen); born Édith Giovanna Gassion, French: [edit dʒɔvana ɡasjɔ̃]; 19 December 1915 – 10 October 1963) was a French singer-songwriter, cabaret performer and film actress noted as France's national chanteuse and one of the country's most widely known international stars.Piaf's music was often autobiographical and she specialized in chanson and torch ballads about love, loss and sorrow. Her most widely known songs include "La Vie en rose" (1946), "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960), "Hymne à l'amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "La Foule" (1957), "L'Accordéoniste" (1940), and "Padam, padam..." (1951). Since her death in 1963, several biographies and films have studied her life, including 2007's Academy Award-winning La Vie en rose—Piaf has become one of the most celebrated performers of the 20th century.
With an HPI of 81.21, Charles Aznavour is the 2nd most famous French Singer. His biography has been translated into 77 different languages.
Charles Aznavour ( AZ-nə-VOOR, French: [ʃaʁl aznavuʁ]; born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, Armenian: Շահնուր Վաղինակ Ազնավուրյան, Shahnur Vaghinak Aznavuryan; 22 May 1924 – 1 October 2018) was a French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a career as a composer, singer and songwriter, spanning over 70 years, he recorded more than 1,200 songs interpreted in 9 languages. Moreover, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others.One of France's most popular and enduring singers, Aznavour sold between 180 and 200 million records during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He was dubbed France's Frank Sinatra, while music critic Stephen Holden described Aznavour as a "French pop deity". He was also arguably the most famous Armenian of his time. In 1998, Aznavour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognized as the century's outstanding performer, with nearly 18% of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Jean Cocteau once said: "Before Aznavour despair was unpopular".Aznavour sang for presidents, popes and royalty, as well as at humanitarian events. In response to the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his long-time friend impresario Levon Sayan. In 2008, he was granted Armenian citizenship, and was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland the following year, as well as Armenia's permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.He started his last world tour in 2014. On 24 August 2017, Aznavour was awarded the 2,618th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Later that year, he and his sister were awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Award for sheltering Jews during World War II. His last concert took place in the NHK Hall in Osaka on 19 September 2018. He died on 1 October 2018, aged 94.
With an HPI of 77.78, Serge Gainsbourg is the 3rd most famous French Singer. His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Serge Gainsbourg (French pronunciation: [sɛʁʒ ɡɛ̃sbuʁ]; born Lucien Ginsburg; 2 April 1928 – 2 March 1991) was a French musician, singer-songwriter, author, filmmaker and actor. Regarded as the most important figure in French pop whilst alive, he was renowned for often provocative and scandalous releases which caused uproar in France, dividing its public opinion, as well as his diverse artistic output, which ranged from his early work in jazz, chanson, and yé-yé to later efforts in rock, funk, reggae, and electronica. Gainsbourg's varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize, although his legacy has been firmly established and he is often regarded as one of the world's most influential popular musicians.His lyrical works incorporated wordplay, with humorous, bizarre, provocative, sexual, satirical or subversive overtones, including sophisticated rhymes, mondegreen, onomatopoeia, spoonerism, dysphemism, paraprosdokian and pun. Gainsbourg wrote over 550 songs, which have been covered more than 1,000 times by a range of artists. Since his death from a second heart attack in 1991, Gainsbourg's music has reached legendary stature in France, and he is regarded as one of France's greatest ever musicians and one of the country's most popular and endeared public figures. He has also gained a cult following in the English-speaking world with chart success in the United Kingdom and the United States with "Je t'aime... moi non plus" and "Bonnie and Clyde", respectively.
With an HPI of 77.00, Mireille Mathieu is the 4th most famous French Singer. Her biography has been translated into 58 different languages.
Mireille Mathieu (French: [miʁɛj matjø]; born 22 July 1946), is a French singer. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages, with more than 150 million albums sold worldwide.
With an HPI of 75.51, Carlos Gardel is the 5th most famous French Singer. His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.
Carlos Gardel (born Charles Romuald Gardès; 11 December 1890 – 24 June 1935) was a French Argentine singer, songwriter, composer and actor, and the most prominent figure in the history of tango. He was one of the most influential interpreters of world popular music in the first half of the 20th century. Gardel is the most famous popular tango singer of all time and is recognized throughout the world even in the most remote places on the planet. He was notable for his baritone voice and the dramatic phrasing of his lyrics. Together with lyricist and long-time collaborator Alfredo Le Pera, Gardel wrote several classic tangos. Gardel died in an airplane crash at the height of his career, becoming an archetypal tragic hero mourned throughout Latin America. For many, Gardel embodies the soul of the tango style. He is commonly referred to as "Carlitos", "El Zorzal" ("The Song thrush"), "The King of Tango", "El Mago" (The Wizard), "El Morocho del Abasto" (The Brunette boy from Abasto), and ironically "El Mudo" (The Mute).
With an HPI of 74.21, Johnny Hallyday is the 6th most famous French Singer. His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.
Jean-Philippe Léo Smet (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ filip leo smɛt]; 15 June 1943 – 5 December 2017), better known by his stage name Johnny Hallyday, was a French rock and roll and pop singer and actor, credited for having brought rock and roll to France.During a career spanning 57 years, he released 79 albums and sold more than 110 million records worldwide, mainly in the French-speaking world, making him one of the best-selling artists in the world. He had five diamond albums, 40 golden albums, 22 platinum albums and earned ten Victoires de la Musique. He sang an estimated 1,154 songs and performed 540 duets with 187 artists. Credited for his strong voice and his spectacular shows, he sometimes arrived by entering a stadium through the crowd and once by jumping from a helicopter above the Stade de France, where he performed 9 times. Among his 3,257 shows completed in 187 tours, the most memorable were at Parc des Princes in 1993, at the Stade de France in 1998, just after France's win in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, as well as at the Eiffel Tower in 2000, which had record-breaking ticket sales for a French artist. A million spectators gathered to see his performance at the Eiffel Tower, with some 10 million watching on television. Usually working with the best French artists and musicians of his time, he collaborated with Charles Aznavour, Michel Berger and Jean-Jacques Goldman, while his shows were produced by Jean-Claude Camus, considered to be one of the greatest producers in France. Hugely popular in France, he was referred to as simply "Johnny" and seen as a "national monument" (like Édith Piaf or Charles Aznavour) and a part of the French cultural legacy. He was a symbol of the Trente Glorieuses when he emerged in 1960 and a familiar figure to four generations. More than 2,500 magazine covers and 190 books were dedicated to him during his lifetime, making him one of the persons most widely covered by the media in France. His death from cancer in 2017 was followed by a "popular tribute" during which a million people attended the procession and 15 million others watched the ceremony on TV. He remained relatively unknown in the English-speaking world, where he was dubbed "the biggest rock star you've never heard of" and introduced as the French version of Elvis Presley.
With an HPI of 73.30, France Gall is the 7th most famous French Singer. Her biography has been translated into 56 different languages.
Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall (French pronunciation: [izabɛl ʒənvjɛv maʁi an gal]; 9 October 1947 – 7 January 2018), better known by her stage name France Gall, was a French yé-yé singer. In 1965, aged 17, she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg. Between 1973 and 1992, she collaborated with singer-songwriter Michel Berger.
With an HPI of 72.96, Françoise Hardy is the 8th most famous French Singer. Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Françoise Madeleine Hardy (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swaz madlɛn aʁdi]; born 17 January 1944) is a French singer-songwriter. She made her musical debut in the early 1960s on Disques Vogue and found immediate success with her song "Tous les garçons et les filles". As a leading figure of the yé-yé movement, Hardy "found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene" and became "France's most exportable female singing star", recording in various languages, appearing in movies, touring throughout Europe, and gaining plaudits from musicians such as Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Mick Jagger. With the aid of photographer Jean-Marie Périer, Hardy began modeling and soon became a popular fashion icon as well.As the yé-yé era drew to a close in the late 1960s, Hardy sought to reinvent herself, casting off the fashionable, girl-next-door image that Périer had created for her and abandoning the "cute" and catchy compositions that had characterized her repertoire up to that point. She began working with more accomplished songwriters such as Serge Gainsbourg and Patrick Modiano. Her 1971 album La question represented an important turning point in her career, moving towards a more mature style; it remains her most acclaimed work and has generated a dedicated cult following over the years. The early 1970s also marked the beginning of Hardy's renowned involvement with astrology, becoming an expert and writer on the subject over the years.Hardy remains a popular figure in music and fashion and is considered an icon of French pop and of the 1960s. The singer is also considered a gay icon and has "repeatedly declared that her most devoted friends and fans are gay". Several of her songs and albums have appeared in critics' lists.
With an HPI of 72.08, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo is the 9th most famous French Singer. His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Guillaume Emmanuel "Guy-Manuel" de Homem-Christo (French pronunciation: [ɡijom emanɥɛl ɡi manɥɛl də ɔmɛm kʁisto]; born 8 February 1974) is a French musician, record producer, singer, songwriter, DJ, and film director. He was one half of the French house music duo Daft Punk, along with Thomas Bangalter. He has also produced several works from his record label Crydamoure with label co-owner Éric Chedeville.
With an HPI of 71.40, Maria Malibran is the 10th most famous French Singer. Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Maria Felicia Malibran (24 March 1808 – 23 September 1836) was a Spanish singer who commonly sang both contralto and soprano parts, and was one of the best-known opera singers of the 19th century. Malibran was known for her stormy personality and dramatic intensity, becoming a legendary figure after her death at age 28. Contemporary accounts of her voice describe its range, power and flexibility as extraordinary.
Pantheon has 120 people classified as singers born between 1155 and 1999. Of these 120, 85 (70.83%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living singers include Mireille Mathieu, Françoise Hardy, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. The most famous deceased singers include Édith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, and Serge Gainsbourg. As of October 2020, 19 new singers have been added to Pantheon including Christophe, Line Renaud, and Mady Mesplé.
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Which Singers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Singers since 1700.