Claude Antoine Marie François (February 1, 1939 March 11, 1978) was a French Singer-Songwriter, composer, music producer, drummer and dancer.
Born in Ismailia, Egypt to a French father and an Italian mother, he is a strong contender for most famous French singer of The '60s and The '70s (the reach of his appeal nationwide has been compared to that of the Beatlemania for the UK) and certainly was the leading figure during the heyday of French Disco. His first hit was the song "Belles, belles, belles" in 1962.
He co-wrote the lyrics and/or composed the music of a number of songs that wound up being Covered Up in the USA, including "Comme d'habitude" (composed by Jacques Revaux and himself), which is none other than the original version of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, and "Parce que je t'aime mon enfant", the original version of "My Boy" by Elvis Presley.
Also among his other famous hit songs, which are major staples of retro nightclubbing and wedding parties still to this day, are "Le Téléphone Pleure", "Le lundi au soleil", "Magnolias for Ever", "Alexandrie Alexandra" and "Cette année là".
He was planning to export himself to the USA in 1978 after meeting with Motown's Lamont Dozier, but that wasn't to be. While taking a bath, he noticed that a light fixture was not straight on the wall, tried to straighten it (while being wet) and died of electrocution at age 39.
A Biopic film about him was released in 2012, titled Cloclo and starring Belgian actor Jérémie Renier in the title role.
Tropes & Trivia about his career:
- Break-Up Song:
- "Comme d'habitude" ("As usual") was inspired by Claude's breakup with French singer France Gall.
- "Reste" ("Stay") is about a man wanting the love of his life to stay by his side.
- Chorus Girls: Inspired by shows he saw in Las Vegas, Claude François surrounded himself with four, then five, then six female dancers (most often for fanservice considering their outfits) when performing for music videos and concerts. The roster often changed as there were 30 of them in total, and they were nicknamed "Claudettes".
- Fan Nickname: He was famously nicknamed "Cloclo".