Henri Salvador, who died aged 90, was a versatile French singer, most famous for eccentric and silly songs that became popular on French television and the Scopitone video jukeboxes of 1960s Europe. For songs such as Le Blues du Dentiste (Dentist Blues), Mais Non, Mais Non (But No, But No), Minnie Petite Souris (Little Mouse) and Juanita Banana (Miss Banana), he would film early precursors to the music video, often dressed in ludicrous costumes and pulling silly faces.
Despite this, he was originally a jazz musician and had also played on early French rock вЂ™nвЂ™ roll records. As well as his novelty songs, he recorded love songs and ballads and turned his velvety voice to many forms of music during his 70-year career.Henri Gabriel Salvador was born in Cayenne, the capital of French Guyana. His family moved to France when he was seven and a few years later he discovered the music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.From that moment on he was determined to be a jazz musician, taking up the guitar and learning to play along with Django Reinhardt records. At 16 he began performing in Parisian cabaret clubs, gaining plaudits for his playing and for his comic approach.In 1935, his hero Django Reinhardt hired him as an accompanist and he also began working for American jazz violinist Eddy South.
The Second World War interrupted his jazz career for several years until he was demobbed in 1941.
In occupied France he joined Bernard Hilda's jazz orchestra in Cannes before Ray Ventura spotted his talents as a novelty musician. They went on an English-language revue tour in South America where they entertained American GIs. On returning to France, M Salvador decided to branch out with his own show.By 1949 he was playing at the most prestigious venues in Paris and won the Grand Prix du Disque. During the 1950s he played to packed auditoriums in France and was interviewed by Ed Sullivan in America.Towards the end of the decade he began to experiment with blues, rock and even Caribbean styles.At the start of the вЂ?60s he concentrated on television presenting in France and Italy, but also founded his own record label. His releases during this decade were his biggest hits. He was also backed by the Walt Disney Corporation and recorded several numbers inspired by their feature films, taking advantage of his popularity with children.
During his later career he returned to his first love, jazz, giving recitals in Europe, North and South America. He was particularly popular among French-speaking communities in Canada and was also awarded the вЂ?Order of Cultural MeritвЂ™ by BrazilвЂ™s culture minister.
1 Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway 2 C'est La Premiere Fois 3 J'Aurais Donne Dix ans de Ma Vie 4 Clopin Clopant 5 Maladie d'Amour 6 Silence on Tourne 7 Le Petit Souper aux Chandelles 8 Bon Appetit Mademoiselle 9 Tout Ca 10 Mon Ange 11 Parce Que Ca Me Donne du Courage 12 Le Portrait de Tante Caroline 13 Chanson Surrealiste "I" 14 La Samba de La-Bas 15 Prends-Moi dans Tes Bras 16 Cheveux dans le Vent 17 Un P'tit Air dans La Caboche 18 Parce Que Ca Me Donne du Courage (Le Pas Du Factieur) 19 24 Heures Par Jour 20 Ma Doudou 21 Qui Sait...Qui Sait...Qui Sait ! 22 Ela Diz Que Tem (Elle A Dit Qu'Elle Avait) 23 Bedelia 24 Comme J'Aimais 25 Son P'tit Bonhomme de Chemin 26 Je Ne Suis Pas 27 Charlot 28 Les Maris.... Papas et Chats 29 Adieu Foulards, Adieu Madras 30 Ti Paule 31 Saint-Germain-Des-Pres 32 Que Si, Que No 33 Quand Je Me Souviens 34 C'est Noel M'Amie 35 Si Jolie 36 Leger 37 Le Loup, La Biche et le Chevalier (Une Chanson Douce) 38 Avec un Tout Petit Rien 39 Un Clin d'Ceil 40 C'est le Be-Bop 41 Le Marchand de Sable 42 Re-Bonjour 43 Enfance de Mon Coeur 44 Ciel de Paris 45 La Vie Grise 46 La Gamme (Dors Mon Petit Ange)