The Most Famous

SINGERS from France

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This page contains a list of the greatest French Singers. The pantheon dataset contains 3,541 Singers, 120 of which were born in France. This makes France the birth place of the 4th most number of Singers behind United Kingdom and Italy.

Top 10

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.

Photo of Édith Piaf

1. Édith Piaf (1915 - 1963)

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 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 réaliste 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 La Vie en rose. Piaf has become one of the most celebrated performers of the 20th century.

Photo of Charles Aznavour

2. Charles Aznavour (1924 - 2018)

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 Ազնավուրեան, Shahnur Vaghinak Aznavuryan; 22 May 1924 – 1 October 2018) was a Franco-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive vibrato 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. Aznavour is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters in the history of music and an icon of 20th-century pop culture.One of France's most popular and enduring singers, 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 concert at the NHK Hall in Osaka, on 19 September 2018, would be his final performance. Between 1974 and 2016, Charles Aznavour officially received around sixty gold and platinum records around the world, representing several million cumulative sales. He remains the best certified French singer in the United States and, in fact, one of the few French artists to hold a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. At the time of his death, according to his record company, the total sales of the artist's recordings were over 180 million units (which implies the total distribution of the titles made in all the discs released in the world, both in his works and in those of other artists and multi-performer records).

Photo of Serge Gainsbourg

3. Serge Gainsbourg (1928 - 1991)

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: [sɛʁʒ ɡɛ̃zbuʁ] (listen); born Lucien Ginsburg; 2 April 1928 – 2 March 1991) was a French musician, singer-songwriter, actor, author and filmmaker. Regarded as one of the most important figures in French pop, 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, zouk, 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. 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 has become one of the country's best-loved public figures. He has also gained a cult following all over the world with chart success in the United Kingdom and Belgium with "Je t'aime... moi non plus" and "Bonnie and Clyde", respectively.

Photo of Mireille Mathieu

4. Mireille Mathieu (1946 - )

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] (listen); born 22 July 1946) is a French singer. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages, with more than 122 million records sold worldwide.

Photo of Carlos Gardel

5. Carlos Gardel (1890 - 1935)

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-born 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. 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). In 1967, a controversial theory was published by Uruguayan writer Erasmo Silva Cabrera, asserting that Gardel was born in Tacuarembó, Uruguay. Other authors expanded upon this theory, and a museum to Gardel was established in Tacuarembó. But Gardel's friends and family all knew him as a French immigrant from Toulouse. Scholarly researchers analyzed the contradictory evidence, especially French birth and baptismal records, and confirmed his birthplace as Toulouse.

Photo of Johnny Hallyday

6. Johnny Hallyday (1943 - 2017)

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. Hugely popular in France, he was referred to as simply "Johnny" and seen as a "national monument" 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.

Photo of France Gall

7. France Gall (1947 - 2018)

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 (9 October 1947 – 7 January 2018), known professionally as 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.

Photo of Françoise Hardy

8. Françoise Hardy (1944 - )

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 former singer and songwriter. Mainly known for singing melancholic sentimental ballads, Hardy has been an important figure in French pop music since her debut, spanning a career of more than fifty years with over thirty studio albums released. She rose to prominence in the early 1960s as a leading figure of the yé-yé wave, a genre of pop music and associated youth culture phenomenon that adapted to French the pop and rock styles that came from the United States and the United Kingdom. The singer differentiated herself from her peers by writing her own material, a rare feat in an industry dominated by older, male composers and producers. France's most exportable female singer of the era, Hardy rose to international fame and released music sung in English, Italian and German, in addition to her native French. She also landed roles as a supporting actress in the films Château en Suède, Une balle au cœur and the American big-budget production Grand Prix, although she never pursued a serious acting career. In the mid-1960s, she also established herself as a pop and fashion icon with the aid of photographer Jean-Marie Périer, becoming a muse for top designers such as André Courrèges, Yves Saint Laurent and Paco Rabanne. In the English-speaking world, her trendy public image and personal style led her to become an icon for the Swinging London scene, and attracted the admiration of several famous artists. Long after the height of her career in the 1960s, Hardy remains one of the best-selling singers in French history, and continues to be regarded as an iconic and influential figure in both music and fashion. Her work has appeared on several critics' lists. Born and raised in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, Hardy had a troubled childhood marked by the strict upbringing of her single mother and a largely absent father. As a teenager, she discovered English-language rock and roll performers including Elvis Presley and Brill Building pop acts such as Paul Anka through the radio, and decided to pursue a singing career. Hardy made her musical debut in 1962 on French label Disques Vogue and found immediate success through the hit song "Tous les garçons et les filles", which remains one of her most popular compositions. Disliking the production of her early releases, she began to record in London in 1964, which allowed her to broaden her sound with albums such as Mon amie la rose, L'amitié, La maison où j'ai grandi and Ma jeunesse fout le camp.... In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hardy sought to assert herself as an artist, although this implied less commercial repercussion. The albums Comment te dire adieu, La question and Message personnel—released during this period—are among her most influential and critically acclaimed works. In them, Hardy began to work with more renowned songwriters such as Serge Gainsbourg, Patrick Modiano, Michel Berger and Catherine Lara. Between 1977 and 1988, she worked with producer Gabriel Yared in a string of successful albums, including Star, Musique saoûle, Gin Tonic and À suivre. Her 1988 record Décalages was widely publicized as Hardy's final album, although she returned eight years later with Le danger, which completely reinvented her sound to a harsher alternative rock. Her following albums of the 2000s—Clair-obscur, Tant de belles choses and (Parenthèses...)—saw a return to her mellow style. As a public figure, Hardy is known for her shyness, disenchantment with celebrity life and self-deprecatory attitude—attributed to her lifelong struggles with anxiety and insecurity. In addition to music, Hardy has developed a renowned career as an astrologer, having written extensively on the subject since the 1970s as a proponent of the "conditionalist" school of thought—outlined by Jean-Pierre Nicola—which rejects the divinatory use of the discipline. Since the 2000s, she has also worked as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction books, including a bestselling autobiography and two essays. Through these works, Hardy has been noted for her frankness in discussing her family life and health problems related to MALT lymphoma and old age, as well as her sometimes controversial political ideas. In 2006, she was awarded the Grande médaille de la chanson française honorary award given by the Académie française, in recognition of her career in music. In the 2010s, Hardy released her last three albums: La pluie sans parapluie, L'amour fou—released alongside her eponymous first novel in celebration of the 50th anniversary of her music career—and Personne d'autre—which brought her out of a previously declared retirement. She has been married to fellow French singer-songwriter Jacques Dutronc since 1981 and their only son, Thomas, is also a musician. In 2021, Hardy announced that her health had worsened and that she would not be able to sing again owing to the effects of cancer therapy.

Photo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo

9. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (1974 - )

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, film director and composer. He is known as one half of the former 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.

Photo of Maria Malibran

10. Maria Malibran (1808 - 1836)

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 in Manchester, England, 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.

Living Singers

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Deceased Singers

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Newly Added Singers (2020)

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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.