French singer France Gall dies, aged 70 | News | DW | 07.01.2018
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French singer France Gall dies, aged 70

France Gall, who achieved international fame when she won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965, has died at the age of 70. She was particularly successful in Germany.

The French yé-yé singer France Gall died in Paris Sunday after a bout with cancer — she was 70.

Her spokeswoman Genevieve Salama announced the death and said the singer had fought the disease "with dignity" over the past two years.

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a tribute to Gall on Twitter, saying that "she leaves behind songs that are familiar to all French people and the example of a life devoted to others."

France Gall sings in 1988.

Gall was married to French songwriter Michel Berger

Gall's international breakthrough came in 1965 (top photo) when she won the Eurovision Song Contest, representing Luxembourg with a song by Serge Gainsbourg, "Poupée de cire, poupée de son ("Wax Doll, Rag Doll"). The single sold 16,000 copies in France the day after her win, and more than half a million copies within four months.

But her relationship with Gainsbourg, who was nearly 20 years her senior, soured after a subsequent collaboration. The song, "Les Sucettes" ("Lollipops") was a hit, but the young Gall was subsequently embarrassed by the sexual references in the lyrics, which she failed to grasp at the time.

Gall jump-started her career again in the 1970s with Michel Berger, another prominent French songwriter, whom she eventually married, and with whom she had two children.

Her 1987 song, "Ella, elle l'a" (Ella, She Has It), a tribute to jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald written by Berger, also became a No. 1 hit in Germany, where she achieved considerable success in the sixties and early seventies.

Gall singing in 2012.

Gall's career spanned five decades

Personal tragedies

After her husband died in 1992, Gall began to withdraw from public life, giving very few concerts. A year later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four years later, in 1997, her daughter Pauline died of cystic fibrosis. After that, Gall's withdrawal from public view was virtually complete.

But in 2015 she reappeared with the musical "Résiste."

France Gall was born Isabelle Genevieve Marie Anne Gall in Paris on October 9, 1947. Her father was the lyricist Robert Gall, and her mother, Cecile Berthier, was also a singer.

Her death comes almost exactly a month after that of another French music star, Johnny Hallyday.

 bik/tj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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