Georges Moustaki, Who Wrote Songs For Edith Piaf, Dies | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Georges Moustaki, Who Wrote Songs For Edith Piaf, Dies

Play associated audio

Georges Moustaki, one of France's most beloved songwriters, died Thursday in Nice after a long illness. He was 79. Moustaki was known for infusing French song with sounds from around the world.

In 1959, Moustaki wrote the lyrics to Edith Piaf's international hit "Milord," a song about a working-class girl who falls for an English gentleman. At the time, Piaf was in her early 40s and the handsome Moustaki was in his mid-20s.

Piaf was smitten with Moustaki's music, as well as his great charm. Carolyn Burke, who wrote a biography of Piaf, says the two were lovers. They wrote "Milord" while they were on vacation.

"He started writing words down on a paper napkin. One of them was the word 'milord.' Piaf chose it, drew a circle around it and told him, 'Start from there,' " Burke says.

Although Moustaki did not write the music for "Milord," Piaf liked how his compositions were flavored with jazz and styles that went beyond France's borders. She sang a number of his songs, including "Le Gitan et La Fille" and "Eden Blues."

Moustaki was born in Egypt to Greek parents and moved to France when he was a teenager. He wrote poetry and worked as a journalist for an Egyptian newspaper. As a solo artist, Moustaki became popular for songs about freedom and individuality. His first hit — "Le Meteque" (or "The Mongrel") — is about being an outsider.

In one of the many tributes being written today, France's culture minister wrote that Georges Moustaki was "an artist committed to humanist values."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland (Rebroadcast)

Acclaimed ballerina Misty Copeland joined Diane to talk about her remarkable career and how she is challenging physical stereotypes that she says keep ballet stuck in the past.

NPR

Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers

West African cocoa farmers earn less than $1 a day. Those low wages could jeopardize the future of chocolate labor, as young farmers find better opportunities to earn a living, a new report warns.
WAMU 88.5

Danielle Allen: "Our Declaration" (Rebroadcast)

For the Fourth of July: A fresh reading of the Declaration of Independence, and how ideas of freedom and equality have been interpreted over the years.

NPR

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

After the firing of a key figure at the website, moderators of many of Reddit's most popular sections have gone private in apparent protest.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.