Listening: Francis Cabrel | French music and musicians

The troubadour guitarist Francis Cabrel is very popular in France. Photo credit © CLAUDE GASSIAN

We explore the career of the native singer-songwriter Agen Francis Cabrel, a troubadour guitarist whose sensitive lyrics and catchy melodies make him very much loved in France.

His popularity is such that one of his albums – 1994’s Saturday night on earth – ranks as the third best-selling long player in the history of France. He moved a whopping 3,385,000 copies, with only Celine Dion and Michael Jackson above him in the all-time list. The album contains perhaps his most famous song, the magnificent plaintive mega-hit single I love you, I love you, I will love you. Find him online and you’ll probably recognize him, even if you didn’t know it was Cabrel singing.

Cabrel’s first record came out in 1974 and his string of hits over the decades is quite extraordinary – he sold millions of albums in 1980, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2008.

The 2020 lockdown prompted Cabrel, 67, to regularly post home videos of himself playing some of the songs he doesn’t normally play live, and then at the end of the year he released his 14th album studio, the typical folklore At dawn coming back which, lyrically, tackles a wide range of themes. Forward, forward, François …

If you like it, you might like …

BOB DYLAN: Cabrel was strongly influenced by the poet singer Dylan very early on. Highway 61 revisited. British Records

JEAN-JACQUES GOLDMAN: Legend of the writing, friend and collaborator of Cabrel. Best of. Amazon Music

KENDJI GIRAC: Cabrel sometimes sang in Occitan, inspiring Girac, another Occitan singer. Kendji. Mercury discs

Read more articles in the On Écoute series:
Yael Naim
Alain Souchon
Charles Aznavour
French Kiwi Juice
Erik Satie
The Undecided
Stuck in the sound
Oliva Ruiz

From France Today magazine

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