A Greek/Italian from Egypt,
conquers France and the world..
My tribute to the life of a lost STAR...
Dalida (January 17, 1933 – May 3, 1987)
Yolanda Gigliotti (her real name) was an Egyptian born singer, of Italian/Greek origin, who lived most of her life in France. She received 55 gold records and was the first singer to receive a diamond disc..
On May 3, 1987 Dalida died as a result of an overdose of barbiturates (commited suicide), leaving a suicide note reading "Life has become unbearable ... Forgive me."
Dalida was buried in the Cimetiere de Montmartre, Paris, and a life-size statue of the singer stands outside her tomb. Since her death, Dalida has become a cult figure to a new generation of fans.
In 1988, The Encyclopedia Universalis commissioned a poll which was eventually published in daily newspaper Le Monde, the aim of which was to reveal personalities that had the greatest impact on French society. Dalida polled second, behind General de Gaulle..
The road to the top
Cairo to Paris, 25th December 1954 : At the dawn of her twenty-second birthday, a young dark-haired lady with a queenly bearing is experiencing in this plane the adventure of her life. Mid-way between the lights of her city and an idealised city of lights, flying from the East to the West, Yolanda Gigliotti gives herself up to the thousand and one dreams buzzing through her head. Crazy, naïve and childish dreams, dreams of glory and happiness, but also - and above all - dreams of becoming a star, the reason for her exile. Driven by a faith and determination strong enough to shake the Pyramids, Yolanda is waiting for her time to come up.
Dalida, a singer that could not be ignored, magnified by an exceptional career, but also a fragile, shy and touching person who, through her tunes sewn up all on edge, assembled and dismantled the jigsaw of her life.
Dalida somehow went down in legend in the same beautiful way as she used to make her entrance: both queenly, touching and dignified under a thunder of applause. Standing up right into the sunlight, a Madonna of flesh and blood in the crossfire of the spotlights: that was how she chose to live her life. Without concealing any of her cracks, sharing it all with her vast public.
Punctuated by an impressive list of achievements, her career is a model on more than one account: Dalida was the first artist ever awarded a gold record, she was the first singer in Europe to have fans, she was the pioneer of French disco music and she was the first ever female singer to keep the Palais des Sports concert hall in Paris full for three weeks. From her first appearance under the joint leadership of Lucien Morisse, Eddie Barclay and Bruno Coquatrix, to her "light-years" alongside her brother and producer Orlando, Dalida lived through and transcended her destiny until it had become a myth.
Either tender, triumphal or painful, the main stages of her life nearly always took place in the shadow of another myth: the Olympia., the famous concert hall where it all started for her in 1956 when she was invited on Europe 1 radio station for the "Numéros uns de demain" ("Tomorrow's number ones") broadcast. The Olympia once more, when after a ruthless conspiracy mounted against her, Dalida managed to reverse the situation in her favour and to have one of her most triumphant successes ever, and again several years later when she celebrated her return to life eight months after her suicide attempt. The Olympia too, to mark the end of her "winter years" and offer a "love rendezvous" or receive eight Oscars for singing. The Olympia finally, to celebrate her twenty-five years in the show business and to give her last public performance in Paris.
But beyond the golden lady with the profile of an Etruscan goddess (hundreds of gold records, golden hair galore and, above all, a heart in solid gold sheltered from any dishonest compromise), beyond the honours paid by many countries throughout the world, the most evocative and even touching testimonies from the Dalida universe remain above all her songs. These platinum-awarded vinyl delights have acquired a certain sheen through time and have definitely become part of our collective memory. Masterpiece of any self-respecting survival kit, the Complete "Orlando Years" includes all Dalida's recordings come out in France since 1970 under the "International Show" label set up by Orlando who was the singer's younger brother, but also her art director since 1966.
The "Darla Dirladada" enormous hit acted as the singer's launching pad, but the real change came with several purple passages tailor-composed by Mykis Theodorakis, the Jacques Revaux/Michel Sardou duo and Michel Legrand, not to forget Gilbert Bécaud or Didier Barbelivien. Several classic such as "Avec le temps" by Léo Ferré, "Je suis malade" by Serge Lama or "Que reste-t-il de nos amours?" by Charles Trénet (who would later offer her "Le Visage de l'Amour" were performed and sometimes reinvented, or even reappropriated by Dalida, to great satisfaction of their respective creators, who saw their songs enjoy a new lease of life and herald the new "Dali".
The radiant mastermind of many young authors (the inescapable Pascal Sevran, Michaële Lana and Paul Sébastian, later followed by Michel Jouveaux, Jeff Banel and Gilbert Sinoué among others), who made up her twenty-four-hour guard, the singer then enjoyed her golden age with songs such as "Pour ne pas vivre seul", "Paroles, Paroles", a legendary duo with Alain Delon, "Il venait d'avoir dix-huit ans", or the great "Gigi l'amoroso", that reached the top of the chart in France and in various other countries world-wide, including Greece, Canada, Spain and Japan.
A short while later, to everybody's great surprise, Dalida brilliantly and forcibly made a name for herself in a field where no one was expecting her: that of disco music. An undisputed pioneer (the 1976 version of "J'attendrai" was France's first ever disco hit), she even offered herself the luxury of beating several masters on their own territory, with "Génération 78" - France's first ever video clip - "Ca me fait rêver", and later "Monday-Tuesday".
An avant garde show woman dressed in gorgeous sequin dressed slit up to her hip, forging ahead on her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, Dalida started taking a resounding turn. At the Palais des Sports concert hall, under the leadership of Lester Wilson - John Travolta's choreographer in "Saturday Night Fever" - she performed a great show that was radically different from all she had done before.
Several months later, the singer performed this show in the Near Eastern countries dear to her heart: Egypt and Lebanon where, as in all territories of that region, Dalida was an absolute star, revered and acclaimed by frenzied crowds during each of her live performances.
It was also for that part of the world that Dalida recorded in Egyptian the song "Salma ya salama", that owed her the title of "Peace Singer" when it was broadcast on all the area's radio stations on 19th November 1977, the date of President Sadate's historical visit to Israel.
In France in 1981, Dalida celebrated her twenty-five years in the show business by giving her last public performance at the Olympia concert hall. In order not to be outdone, the French television turned Dalida into the favourite guest of the Maritie and Gilbert Carpentier show, where she was invited countless times. These programmes included songs, special duos and a number of amazing variety sketches that revealed a genuine unsuspected sense of the comic. Another major television encounter brought together Dalida and the great Jean-Christophe Averty for the purpose of the "Dalida Idéale" show, an aptly named visual firework display.
Over that period of time, Dalida recorded three songs in total contrast with the rest of her repertoire. Echoing to the song "A ma manière", which had come out several years earlier, her "Pour en arriver là" and "Mourir sur scène" sounded like unusually clear-headed and detached acknowledgements, like Dalida's manifesto. With the passing of time, one can stand back and view these songs in a completely different light.
Responding to her will to get rid of all flourishes, film producer Youssef Chahine offered her the lead part in his "Le Sixième Jour" ("On the Sixth Day"), a film that was to receive excellent critics when it was released. However, from the top of their chima pedestal, even goddesses feel vaguely melancholic and depressed.
Dalida was not an exception to the rule. Hidden away in the depths of her soul for such a long time and lost among the big names, the Yolanda Gigliotti-born little girl of the sun no longer wanted to play. On 3rd May 1987, she threw in the sponge and lowered the curtain. For ever. Irreparably. The legend, that feeds on tragic and exceptional destinies, was already on the move.
Ten years, 120 millions records and one thousand songs later, Dalida is more present than ever. "Comme si j'étais là" and "A ma manière", the two new CDs recorded by Antoine Angelelli with completely updated arrangements and produced by Orlando, make the headlines, throwing discos, radio stations and above all record-dealers" stalls into a turmoil. In movie theatres, Dali's hits punctuate some of the greatest French films: "Mina Tannenbaum", "Gazon Maudit", "Pédale Douce" or "Un air de famille".
Supreme elegance: Dalida is all set to rally the year 2005, that she celebrated as soon as… 1969 in her song "L'an 2005". Is that anything to be surprised of ? Absolutely not. After all, the stars are always right. And above all those born under the skies of Egypt, which have inevitably always shone and which will keep on shining forever…
Dalida Le Film:
Le suicide de Dalida - The suicide
Dalida's record of achievements
Dalida used to record in seven languages. It would be difficult to list all the songs that she recorded: in the area of 500 songs in French, 200 in Italian and 200 in various other languages: German, Spanish, Japanese, etc…
She sold 100 million records throughout the world and her hit have been crowned with: 1974 Oscar for the World Song Success. During the year 1974, Dalida was number one in 12 different countries: in 9 countries with "Gigi l'amoroso" and in 3 countries with "Il venait d'avoir dix-huit ans". Platinum Record in the Benelux countries.
On 13th January 1975, at the Olympia concert hall, Dalida was awarded a Platinum Record for "Gigi l'Amoroso", the most ever sold record in the Benelux countries, beating Franck Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night", which had been holding the title since 1966. On 12th February 1975, at Paris City Hall, Dalida received the Prix de l'Académie du Disque Français (Prize of the Academy of the French Record), song category, for "Il venait d'avoir dix-huit ans".
The Bravos du Music-Hall in 1958 with Yves Montand. Five Oscars of Radio Monte Carlo. 1963 Oscar for the World Song Success. Platinum Record in 1964 (the only female star to have received it).
An Oscar rewarding a star who has sold more than 10 million records. Several Oscars of Radio Luxembourg, the last one being offered to her on 28th October 1970 in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In 1968, Medal of the City of Paris.
The Oscar of "Canzonissima", Italy's most popular television programme, in 1967-1968. Oscar for the Song Triumph for the year 1973. 20 Medals from various countries and 52 Gold Records. In June 1968, the Maison des Intellectuels made Dalida "Commandeur des Arts Sciences-Lettres" ("Commander of Arts-Sciences-Literature") and awarded the Croix de Vermeil (Vermeil Cross) at the Palais de la Mutualité de Paris.
That same year, on 5th December, at the Paris City Hall, she received the Médaille de la Présidence de la République (Medal of the Presidency of the French Republic) from the hands of Général de Gaulle - no other artist has ever been awarded that medal. That medal she received not only rewarded her for being one of the greatest ambassadors of the French song, but also for her kindness and her modesty which" are - as the President of the Paris City Council said while he was presenting her with the medal - the noble finery of her undisputed talent"
1981: Diamond Record for her 25 years of success. 1981: Goldene Europa awarded in Germany for being the most popular star of the year. 1982: accord to an opinion poll carried out by Paris-Match magazine about women with the greatest influence over the French population, Dalida was the only representative of show business. She came after Simone Veil but ahead of Danièle Mitterrand for the year 1981.
1985: Télé 7 jours" magazine "Female singers preferred by the French" referendum - Dalida is in the top three. January 1986: "VS.D." magazine "Female singers preferred by the French" opinion poll - Dalida is classified between Mireille Mathieu and Jeanne Mas.
20th January 1988: on the occasion of its 20th birthday, the Encyclopedia Universalis commissions an opinion poll from SOFRES about the events that have had the greatest impact over the French between 1968 and 1988. The results are published in an article in "Le Monde" newspaper, called "La mémoire des Français depuis vingt ans" ("The memory of the French over the past twenty years"). "French or foreign personalities (of the worlds of politics, sciences, culture, etc…) that have had the greatest impact over the French between 1968 and today. Results: Général de Gaulle: 16%. The lonely death of Dalida: 10% John Paul II: 7% and Mother Teresa: 3%.
Epilogue: Je suis malade (I am ill)
JE SUIS MALADE
Je ne rêve plus je ne fume plus
Je n'ai plus envie de vivre ma vie
Je suis malade complètement malade
Je suis malade parfaitement malade
Comme à un rocher comme à un péché
Je bois toutes les nuits mais tous les whiskies
Je suis malade complètement malade
Je suis malade parfaitement malade
Cet amour me tue et si ça continue
Je suis malade complètement malade
Je suis malade c'est ça je suis malade
I AM ILL
I don't dream no more, I don't smoke no more
I don't feel like living my life no more
When you leave I am ill, completely ill
I am ill, perfectly ill
Like to a rock, Like to a sin
I drink every night, but all whiskies
I am ill, completely ill I pour my
I am ill, perfectly ill
This love is killing me,
I am ill, completely ill Like when
I 'm ill, that's right, I am ill