Dick Rivers Died at the Age of 74

Singer Dick Rivers has died at the age of 74

French rocker Dick Rivers died on the day of his 74th birthday, his manager announced Wednesday (April 24th).

The singer Dick Rivers died of cancer Wednesday, April 24, 2019, the day of his 74 th birthday, reports the website Disney Co.

It is his manager Denis Sabouret who announced the news in a message on social networks. The former leader of the group Wild Cats has died in a hospital in Paris, said his manager.

In the lineage of Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday

In the trinity of those who introduced rock in France in the early 1960s, it was the provincial, the youngest after Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday . Despite his 35 albums, he sold less records than them but he embodied a certain musical authenticity.

Born April 24, 1945 in Nice, the only son of a butcher, Hervé Forneri founded Les Chats Sauvages at the age of fifteen and became Dick Rivers inspired by Deke Rivers, a character played by Elvis Presley in Hal Kanter’s film “Loving You (1957). He adopts banana gominée and cowboy boots.

“I’ve been singing for fifty years, I live my life, the life I invent (…), the 1960s is yesterday, I still breathe their dust”, will sing in 2011 the ex-black jacket that aged with the old Indian, keeping the boots.

The American dream turns the head of the young Hervé, a wise child with a pointed face. He listens to Elvis singing, it’s the shock: “I found God! “. He decides to sing.

With Les Chats Sauvages, he published in April 1961 his first single, “Ma p’tite amie est vache”, goes up to Paris: “je suis passé brutalement de la Mobylette à la Cadillac ” he says. Two years later, after “Twist à Saint-Tropez” and other hits adapted from Anglo-Saxon hits, he starts solo.

He is confined to the role of interpreter, remains faithful to his choices despite the crossings of the desert: “I have never recorded soup to be fashionable”. He meets Elvis in Las Vegas in 1969 – a photo attests in his living room – but the hippy movement of the late 1960s is almost fatal.

Singer Dick Rivers during one of his performances in Paris, April 4, 1987.
Singer Dick Rivers during one of his performances in Paris, April 4, 1987. (© AFP / Archives / GEORGES BENDRIHEM)

Boudé by the TV

The audience sulks “L’interrogation” (1969), concocted by Gérard Manset with 72 musicians. Twenty years later, “Linda Lu Baker”, another concept album with the Golden Gate Quartet and … Frédéric Mitterrand, will not sell much more.

In the early 1970s, he worked with Alain Bashung, artistic director of three of his albums, which he will find in 2011 the lyricist Jean Fauque for “Mister D”. Following are successes such as “Maman n’aime pas ma musique” (1974) or “Faire un pont” (1976), adapted from John Denver’s “Country Roads”, in the album “Mississipi River’s” with the cover designed by Morris .

In 1984, it was “Nice Baie des Anges” and two years later, a book of memories, “Hamburger, pan-bagnat, rock’n’roll”, reissued in 1996 under the title “Very Dick”. He will also write two novels, “Complot à Memphis” (1989) and “Texas Blue” (2001).

The 1990s mark a turning point. He returned to the scene in 1995 after 19 years of absence, the popularity of his televised cartoon “Didier l’Embrouille” benefits him.

In cinema, he began in 1999 in Jean-Pierre Mocky’s “La candide Madame Duff” that he will find for “Le Furet” (2003). He is invited to the 2005 Cannes Film Festival by George Lucas, then a companion of his adopted daughter.

He also plays at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in “Les Paravents” by Jean Genet (2004). His records become more and more personal, he calls on young talents: Benjamin Biolay or Mickey 3D, then Joseph of Antwerp for “L’homme sans âge” (2008) or Oli the Baron for “Mister D”, released for his fifty years of career.

In an interview book with Sam Bernett published in parallel, he says his frustration at being the “third wheel of the cart” of French rock and complains about the “lack of recognition” of television hosts like Michel Drucker who never invited.

In 2018, although he did not appreciate nostalgia, he participated in the tour “Age tender” throughout France with several other stars of the 60s and 70s. “You must never take yourself seriously, and always postpone the cover. Every time I make a new record, I feel like it’s the first one, “he said.

Singer Dick Rivers at the third Telethon, December 9, 1989 at the Maison de la Radio in Paris.
Singer Dick Rivers at the third Telethon, December 9, 1989 at the Maison de la Radio in Paris. (© AFP / Archives / JEAN-PIERRE MULLER)

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