This was the first Paul Mauriat interview for media in
after success of "Love Is Blue"
The Robesonian 1968/02/21
FRENCH INSTRUMENTALIST IS TOP By Mary Campbell - AP
The La Crosse Tribune 1968/02/21
"LOVE IS BLUE" CONDUCTOR IS SURPRISED AT SUCCESS By Mary
Campbell - AP Newsfeatures
The El Dorado Times 1968/02/22
FRENCH INSTRUMENTAL IS TOP By Mary Campbell - AP
Janesville Daily Gazette 1968/02/23
FRENCHMAN SURPRISED HIS RECORD IS NO. 1 By Mary Campbell -
Binghamton NY Press 1968/02/24
INTERVIEW WITH PAUL MAURIAT By Mary Campbell - AP
Santa Cruz Sentinel 1968/02/25
FRENCHMAN SURPRISED HIS RECORD IS NO. 1 By Mary Campbell -
AP Newsfeatures Writer
Santa Cruz Sentinel 1968/02/25
POPULARITY OF "LOVE IS BLUE" SURPRISED COMPOSER MAURIAT By Mary
Campbell - AP Newsfeatures Writer
The Bridgeport Post 1968/02/25
INSTRUMENTAL RECORDINGS PACE CHARTS By Mary Campbell - AP
The Post-Crescent 1968/03/03
PAUL MAURAIT SURPRISE HIT BIGGEST INSTRUMENATLA IN YEARS By
Mary Campbell - AP Newsfeatures Writer
The Lincoln Star 1968/03/03
A MEETING WITH NO.1 - THAT'S PAUL MAURAIT By Mary Campbell -
AP Newsfeatures Writer
The Oil City Derrick 1968/03/22
FRENCH INSTRUMENTAL IS TOP U.S. HIT By Mary Campbell - AP
The Odessa American 1968/03/30
FRENCH TUNE GOES STRONG IN AMERICA By Mary Campbell - AP
Casa Grande Dispatch 1968/04/01
FRENCH INSTRUMENTALIST SAID TOP U.S. HIT By Mary Campbell -
AP Newsfeatures Writer
The most popular single record in the country just now
is a "good music" instrumental, "Love is Blue". And the most
popular long-playing record in the country is a "good music" instrumental, titled
"Blooming Hits", which includes among
its tracks "Love is Blue".
The LP jumped from No. 25 to No. 5 on the Feb. 17
best-selling-records charts and to No. 1 on the charts
published Feb. 24. In that week it by-passed albums by the
Beatles, Herb Alpert, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.
The single jumped from No. 36 to No. 5 on Feb.
3 and stayed at No. 1 for the three weeks thereafter.
A Frenchman, Paul Mauriat, is arranger and conductor of the
orchestra, which was recorded in Paris by Philips Records.
Mauriat was interviewed, through an interpreter in New York,
after he arrived, with his wife, for an appearance on the Ed
He was as surprised as anybody else, Mauriat said, when a
recording by an orchestra went to No. 1 in Americas heavily
rock and contemporary record market.
"It is a surprise, but
it is like a proof that there is no law in the music
business. There are fashions and all of a sudden a reaction
to the fashions."
record is good, it is good for everybody, not just the young
or just the old."
Mauriat says, "Love is Blue" was written by a Frenchman,
"He composed it for Luxembourg, for Eurovision, a contest
held in Europe every year to pick the best song of the year.
It got fourth prize last April. England won with "Puppet on
It may be easier to get a No. 1 song again, Mauriat thinks,
because now radio station programmers and record buyers have
heard of him. Although "Blooming Hits" is his fourth LP
released in the United States following "Listen Too!", "Of
Vodka and Caviar" and "More Mauriat", he knows that many
people had never heard of him until now.
But, he says, France is even less aware of instrumental
conductors and arrangers. He says that in the event one of
his instrumentals is played on a Paris radio station, his
name is not announced.
"And orchestras alone don't become
popular. We never have had an orchestra record become No. 1
in France, not even a foreign orchestra".
Mauriat has arranged for singers, as well as for orchestras
alone. He has known Charles Azavour as a friend for 17 years
and haa been writing his arrangements for the past nine
"When I arrange for a vocalist, I forget my own personality
and try to adapt to the singer. In accompaniment, there
should never be any difference between the accompaniment and
the singing. It should run into one sound if you say, That
accompaniment is good, already it is too important.
"When I arrange a score for an orchestra, I can let my own
personality come through".
Mauriat started his musical career with classical piano.
"I won my first piano prize at 14. But at 17 I went to jazz.
I went around the world with a small jazz orchestra. In the
beginning it was hot jazz, then it became cool."
"Ten years ago I went back to Paris and started arranging
and composing for big orchestras, for records and for films.
I didn't do any touring. Not since 15 years have there been
touring orchestras in France."
"But Philips Records had a meeting and decided that they
would vend me and an orchestra on a tour, to do concerts. I
think we'll start in Canada with two weeks in May, then next
September start going all over the world."
"I'm eager to do it. You know, when you are cutting records
you never have the audience's reaction right away".
The following Paul Mauriat interview taken by Jim Howard Witt
for WMOH radio in Hamilton, Ohio (near Cincinnati, USA) in October '1970. Jim
remember fantastic evening when I got to spend an evening with Paul Mauriat when
he visited Cincinnati, Ohio: "That day arrived and I nervously called the
hotel in New York and was put right through to Paul's room. His manager, Loic
Mirabaud, answered the phone and put me at ease right away. Loic got my
information, the radio station's and my home phone number. Paul had just
finished his shower and wanted to talk to me... truly a gentleman who made me feel
comfortable from the first word. Later, Loic would call me with the name of the
hotel where they would be staying in Cincinnati and when we would get together.
At the hotel in Cincinnati, I was welcomed into their suite as if they had known
me for a long time. For being a big named star, I was impressed with Paul's
humbleness and friendliness. Of course I didn't want to talk a lot about Mireille Mathieu.... even though I had a bunch of questions... because I was with
him and it would not be polite. Later at dinner, Paul discussed with me about Mireille's chances on the American record scene. After dinner, we went back to
the hotel suite where we interviewed Paul for broadcast on WMOH. I was studying
French at Berlitz School of Languages at the time but Paul wanted to speak in
English. His English was much better than my French. When the interview was
finished, we just sat around and talked about everything.
Paul's concert at Music Hall was outstanding and a very enjoyable evening. This
all happened in October '1970. Most of the evening remains in my mind as if it
were yesterday. I still have the reel-to-reel tape of the interview which has
now been put on CD. My thanks to Paul, his wife, Irene, and Loic for a very
pleasurable evening in my life."
Jim Howard (right), music director at WMOH, Hamilton, Ohio, greets French
band leader Paul Mauriat and wife Irene during Mauriat's recent concert
engagement at the Taft Theater, Cincinnati. The meeting was arranged by a mutual
friend, Johnny Stark, manager of Mireille Mathieu, one of France's top female
Cincinnati, Ohio - USA (October
PAUL MAURIAT INTERVIEW
By Jim Howard Witt
Jim Witt: And
from Cincinnati you will go to?
Paul Mauriat: Well, I go in... After Cincinnati
and Chicago and after many cities in Texas, then we come back to New York, and
little tour in Canada, Montreal, and some city around New York.
Jim Witt: Will you be doing on a television while you are in the United States?
Paul Mauriat: No. Some television but only talk television, because when I arrive to a city,
sometimes I take the plane and the musicians are on the road and I can't do a
concert only by myself.
Jim Witt: Mostly it will be local television (television on the local level) or it will
be any network television?
Paul Mauriat: Both.
Jim Witt: I imagine, a lot of people would like to know, and I would like to know as
well, how did you get your start in the music field and the show business?
Paul Mauriat: I started very young. I was seventeen years old, and I decided one day to have
my own orchestra. And then with this orchestra we work in all cities of the
south of the France and foreign countries like Italia, Belgium and Egypt. How do
you say Egypt / Agypt?
Jim Witt: Egypt.
Paul Mauriat: Egypt. And I come back in Marseille, because I was born in Marseille. Then I
decided to go to Paris about twelve years before, twelve years ago. And I began
to accompaniment for many French artists like Charles Aznavour, Dalida, Salvador,
Maurice Chevalier, Danielle Darieux. And about five years ago, I signed a
contract with a record company in France to have my own orchestra, a big
orchestra with about 45 and... or between 45 and 50 musicians. And I worked very
hard because I have two ways: one way for arrangement for artists, one way for
my own orchestra. And one day I was very lucky because I got a very big success
with "Love is Blue," and now I am in the States for just because the Love is
Blue's success here.
Jim Witt: Right. How did
"Love is blue" come about as far as your arrangement, you
arranging the song?
Paul Mauriat: First of all, I didn't compose "Love is Blue".
"Love is Blue" was written by a
French composer Andre Popp. And this song... You know, in Europe you have each
year contests, contest song, and each country of Europe presents one song. And
this song was for Luxemburg, and it got little success, but I loved very much,
this song, and I took it for my LP. And the LP came into the Sates and walked
into Minneapolis, you know, and other the states.
Jim Witt: Of course "Love is Blue" is well-known in this area as well, because it's sold
quite a few copies, shall we say, and of course it made the local charts, and
people like it very much both young and old, because of your arrangement (very
pretty arrangement, I might say).
Paul Mauriat: Thank you.
Jim Witt: And, of course, now you have your current hit of
"Gone is Love" will get there
in just a moment. Now, what is your favorite type of music? I know in your
concerts, you play everything from classical, semi-classical, to pop. What would
be your favorite type?
Paul Mauriat: Yes, on stage it is very different, because I have many different ages, you
know, I have young people, medium and old people. And I play many kinds of music,
like pop music and rhythm and blues, and classical music. And I have a fantastic
comic too, you know a French guy, I brought him from France, his is a very good
musician, a fantastic comic. But myself, I like very much classical music, the
old classical music like Bach and Mozart. And in the pop music, above all, I
like rhythm and blues.
Jim Witt: Like rhythm and blues. That's very... kind of a contrast between the old
classics and the pop music or the rhythm and blue.
Paul Mauriat: I don't think so because now, you know, rhythm and blues and pop music are
closer than before. Classical music and pop music are very close now. You know,
some groups (English groups and American groups) very often play classical music
and arrange it, of course, for the whole group. They take Beethoven, Bach,
Mozart. And now, I think, it's natural to like both.
Jim Witt: That's like lately, in fact, this song was popular all over the world and
that's the last movement from Beethoven "The Ode to Joy" or the renamed "The
Song of Joy".
Paul Mauriat: Yes, and I think if Beethoven was here certainly he'd like it.
Jim Witt: It is a very good arrangement.
Paul Mauriat: Very, very good.
Jim Witt: And of course from the end of the word story was Blue Spanish, Miguel Rios did
a fantastic job on a vocalization.
Paul Mauriat: Yes, yes, I know.
Jim Witt: What do you think, this is kind of a question that I know how the American men
feel, about the new mini-length - the dresses that are trying to break down.
Paul Mauriat: Yes. I like very much when the fashion for women change. I like the very short... How do you say?
Jim Witt: Mini?
Paul Mauriat: Mini jupe. And then, after in France during one year of the very long dress
- maxi. And now in France it is just the beginning of the mini, but I think in
five or six month it will be a very big success. And I like it very much,
because the fashion of the women needs to change very often, you know.
Jim Witt: In this country now course men's fashions are starting to change, where the
fashion designers are putting just as much pressure on the American men to keep
up with the styles. Has this happened yet in France?
Paul Mauriat: Yes, it is the same problem in France, because I have in my home about ten or
twelve suits that I can't use now, because fashion in France changes every year
now, and French people accept it. And they have to accept. Because I like to
change very often, like for women.
Jim Witt: It makes it better, I think, for a man to have to change fashions because it's
Paul Mauriat: Yes, Yes, I agree.
Jim Witt: But fashions are something else sometimes. In some of the cloths now are the
ties are going back to the wide ties again, like they were in the 40s and the
Jim Witt: What is the most embarrassing or unusual thing, that's ever happened to you
during a life performance?
Paul Mauriat: May be when I was to Japan for a tour, and I decided before the tour to
announce my entire program in Japanese. And I learned all of my sentences in
Japanese, but I did not understand what I was saying. And then one day on stage
I had a very long sentence, you know. After two or three words, I don't remember!
And I don't understand what I was saying, and it was impossible to continue. And
I was on the stage, you know, without one word.
Jim Witt: No script on the stage with you then.
Paul Mauriat: Yes, I came back to my stand to take the paper, to read the paper. And I come
back to the microphone and I forgot, again. And I came back two or three times,
and at the end (it was the last number), and at the end I said: "Excuse me, now
here is вЂ�The Love is Blue'" in English, you know.
Jim Witt: Then, I imagine, they understood
"The Love is Blue."
Paul Mauriat: Yes.
Jim Witt: In English.
Jim Witt: Paul Mauriat, an American producer, sometimes called "A and R" man, artist and
repertoire, which they look for artists, material for artists, and sometimes to
the artists if they want to produce a song or play the song, in your case, to
conduct your orchestra. And Paul Leka is Paul Mauriat's American producer, and
may be you, a lot of you might remember the song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"
done by the Steam, as well as "Green Tambourine" - these songs were written and
produced by Paul Leka. Of course he helped out in "Gone is Love" - your current
hit right now on the American scene.
Paul Mauriat: Yes, but "Gone is Love" was written by an American woman from Los Angeles,
Gloria Sclerov, and by a man whose name is Joel Reed. And I choose Paul Leka
because now I am an artist, a French artist, but I need many American songs
because, really, I am more American artist than French artist. And many many
American songs, but I can't realize in France what kind of song the public like,
you know. And Paul Leka chose many songs for me. For the last recording, he sent
me about 70 songs, and I chose from these songs. Another thing very important,
Paul Leka likes very much technique, you know. And him and I... I think we are now
a good team because he is in New York; he is very often contact with groups,
with rock-and-roll music, and he is very up-to-date, you know, and for me as
French, it is very important for me.
Jim Witt: Helps you out with American public
- what's current, what's going on, so you
could be right on top, as they say. Of course now you have a new album out, it's
been out for a short time now and has a title song, your current hit "Gone is
Love" we've just been talking about, and you have Maison Williams song on your
album as well, don't you?
Paul Mauriat: Yes. "Classical Gas". I think you know this song, because it was a big success
in the States some months or some years ago. And "Let It Be" by the Beatles and
"Bridge Over Trouble Water" by the Simon and Garfunkel, and about two titles
were in France these two numbers. Big success in the same time, and for this
reason, I think, it could be interesting to blend the two titles and to make a
medley with the two titles.
Jim Witt: And on the album, you do each one separately and then you do a medley of songs.
And what I like about the two songs you are doing together as a medley is the
free style you use, more or less you get away from the written notes and you get
involved, you feel your way through almost like jazz, really.
Paul Mauriat: Yes, yes. Because sometimes the arranger, one arranger, needs to write
something just likewise, you know. And when I write an arrangement like "Let It
Be" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water", I am very easy, and I am very happy. And I
hope the people will be too.
Jim Witt: Wish you come across very beautifully on the album. If people don't have the
album, they should get it because it is a fantastic album. Of course, it has the
current hit-song as well "Gone is Love".
Jim Witt: We've been talking to Paul Mauriat who will be in concert at the Tuft
Auditorium in Cincinnati, Ohio, and would like to thank him for taking time to
talk to us and welcome him again in Cincinnati and wish him success on the rest
of his tour.
Paul Mauriat: Thank you very much, and I'd like to be back soon.
Jim Witt: I hope you can come back to Cincinnati again.
Paul Mauriat: Thank you very much.
Jim Witt: And thank you now. This is Jim Howard reporting from Cincinnati, Ohio.
STILL TOURING AND RECORDING AT
70, MAURIAT IS ANYTHING
By Emmanuel Legrand
The week of
Feb. 10,1968, an instrumental track hit the top of Billboard's Hot 100 singles
charts and stayed in the No. 1 slot for five weeks. The song, "Love Is Blue",
was performed by a Frenchman, Paul Mauriat, who remains the only Gallic
performer to have ever scored a No. 1 hit single in the States.
At age 70, Mauriat still leads an active career. During three decades, he has
established himself as the king of instrumental music, selling millions of
records in the world, especially in Japan and South America.
During his long career, he has been associated with artists such as,Charles
Aznavour, Maurice Chevalier, Henri Salvador and Mireille Mathieu. His first
international hit dates back to 1963, with the song "I Will Follow Him", known
in France as "Chariot", a title he co-composed under the pseudonym Del Roma. It
reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as performed by Little Peggy March.
In 1965, Mauriat created "Le Grand Orchestre De Paul Mauriat" and embarked on an
international career that has not faded since. He recently met with Billboard's
correspondent in France, Emmanuel Legrand, reviewing three decades of success
and looking ahead to plans for the future.
BB: How did you start out in the music field?
Paul Mauriat: I was lucky to have a father who
played music. When I was between 3 and 4, I started playing piano and was
quickly able to play full tunes. My father had the wisdom not to show me around
like one of those brilliant young puppets. He took care of me, and when I was 8,
he gave me music lessons. He was a fantastic teacher, always finding the right
words. After my 10th birthday, he sent me to the music school in Marseille, and,
before 1 reached 15, 1 earned the First Prize. As our family was modest, I
decided to start working, and I applied for a job as a postman and was hired.
One day, I went to see my father-it was in 1942, and I was 17- and told him I
was offered a job as a band conductor for 250 francs a day, which was more than
he earned. He told me to go for it. I still have that contract-my first.
BB: When did you move to Paris?
Paul Mauriat: I stayed in Marseille until 1958.
I was friends with Franck Pourcel, who comes from Marseille too. He was already
established as a composer and instrumentalist as well as a conductor. He really
helped me find my way. When I arrived in Paris, I got a job as a band conductor
at the Casino in Enghien, in the Paris suburbs, where 1 stayed for six months.
Then, Pourcel asked me to do the musical arrangements for two songs for Gloria
Lasso. Once I did that, he called everybody he knew in Paris, telling them he
had found a great young arranger. I did some work with Quincy Jones while he was
in Paris studying with Nadia Boulanger and working for Eddie Barclay as an
arranger. Quincy encouraged me to continue. I learned a lot from all these great
people, including Barclay, who was a master at his job.
BB: Your real breakthrough was Aznavour.
Paul Mauriat: Yes, indeed. 1 was blessed to
know him. I consider him one of the greatest artists and performers of our time.
I did the
arrangements to some 135 songs performed by Charles Aznavour-"La Boheme", "La
Mama", "Tu Tlaisse Aller" and so many more. We could have continued for a long
time, but I was following other paths. I had signed with Philips, which later
became Phonogram, and my career was taking off as an instrumentalist. I was
touring all year long, and it came to a point when I had to tell Aznavour I
could no longer work with him.
BB: When did you start recording on your own?
Paul Mauriat: In 1965. The record company was looking for someone to
compete with Franck Pourcel, who was the leading figure at that time. I talked
to Franck,and he told me there was enough room for everybody. We are still
friends-he is 81 now, and what a wonderful man. This is how I started my
recording career as Paul Mauriat. When I signed my contract, I told the record
company that I didn't want any artistic director. I wanted to be my own artistic
director, which I still am. I had a good reputation as an arranger and I went
into the instrumental genre because 1 was asked to. It was a very busy period
for me. I was recording three albums a year and constantly touring.
BB: Do you know how many records you've made?
Paul Mauriat: No, frankly, 1 don't know! But I know I have recorded more
than a thousand different titles. A lot of people write to me, asking if I could
provide them with some of my old recordings on vinyl. Some have become
collectors' items...I have tried to store at least one copy of each record.
BB: What's the story behind "Love Is Blue"?
Paul Mauriat: To be honest, I wasn't very fond
of the song (the track composed by Andre Popp with lyrics by Pierre Cour was
known in France as "L'Amour Est Bleu", was performed by Vicky Leandros and was
the Luxembourg entry for the 1967 Eurovision song contest). The song was
published by Philips, so I covered it. It was quite an instant hit. In the U.S.,
a Minneapolis DJ called Alan Mitchell started to play the song and asked the
audience to react. He was flooded with phone calls. It quickly took off in the
BB: How did you react when you heard the song was on the U.S. charts?
Paul Mauriat: I couldn't believe it when the president of Philips told me
the song was climbing the Billboard charts. I was astounded, because it
illustrates quite well the saying that you're never a prophet in your own
country, as it had sold less than 30, 000 units in France. In the U.S., we sold
2 million singles and 800,000 LPs. The irony was that, in 1967, my contract was
about to expire, and someone called [label executive] Lou Reisner and suggested
that Philips sign me for an additional three years because he was sure I would
score a major hit soon. He was right!
BB: Did this success change your life?
Paul Mauriat: Of course it did. But I didn't realize at that time what it
meant. For me, it was just a name on a listing. And it affected my whole life.
But afterwards, I took it as a challenge. I had to prove that I was still able
to sell, without the help of a No. 1 hit. Many in the industry said it would be
a one-off, but the truth is that I have never stopped recording and selling
records. Today, I still sell an average of 800,000 units a year, which by all
standards is not bad.
BB: Japan looks like your second country. Why is that ?
Paul Mauriat: I have performed more than 1,000 concerts there. I like
Japan and the Japanese public. I think the Japanese are very romantic, and so am
I. I remember being the first to announce all my songs in concerts in Japanese.
This is probably why this relationship has lasted so long with these people.
Compared to our Western countries, the musical knowledge of Japanese is amazing.
Besides, everything there is wonderfully organized. They are very precise and
meticulous, which are qualities I enjoy.
BB: What's your recording situation right now?
Paul Mauriat: Well, our relationship with PolyGram ended in 1993, and
they have the rights to all the back catalog. I have, since January 1994, a
contract with Pony Canyon in Japan that covers the Japanese market and Southeast
Asia. We hold the rights to the rest of the world. Valentin Coupeau, who handles
my business operations, went to Japan and met with the different record
companies. At Pony Canyon, they told him, "We want him." So we cut a deal. It is
a very dynamic company. The deal with Pony goes through 1997, and we owe them a
total of six albums. We agree on artistic projects. Everything is recorded in
Paris and London, and the final artistic decisions are always mine.
BB: How involved are you in the recording of these albums?
Paul Mauriat: Totally involved, and I like it.
I choose the songs and the musicians. I conduct the recording sessions. I do the
arrangements and I am there for the mixing. I used to do albums covering hit
songs, now I am more into theme albums-like music for films, music from a
certain period or from a country.
BB: Do you still tour?
Paul Mauriat: I had given up touring, because I thought that, at my age,
I should take some time to enjoy the pleasures of life, to listen to music. But
I missed the joy of living the music onstage and I decided to embark on another
tour. Nothing beats the music on
stage. In the next months, I'll tour, I'll finish the album I am
recording for a mid-1996 release and then I'll try to keep a mezzo-tempo rhythm
to fully live my life.
CHARLES AZNAVOUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Paul Mauriat: I first met Charles
Aznavour in 1951, through a friend who told me there was a guy
looking for an arranger. I went to the Editions Breton and met with
him. Aznavour told me he knew nothing about music and needed an
arranger. He offered to share credits and rights with me on the
music we would cut together. I went back to my friend and I told him
that this guy would never make it as a singer... Actually, I just
did the arrangements to one of his songs in 1951 - "Poker". Aznavour
was kind enough to call me back at the beginning of the 1960s. The
first song we penned together was "Les Deux Guitares" - God, I was
scared to death. Put we worked together until I had no more time,
after the international success of "Love Is Blue". I must have made
arrangements to 135 of his songs. He loved to work with me because I
am very quick, and he hates being in a studio. To me, Aznavour is
the greatest artist I have ever worked with. He has it all -
intelligence, musical instinct, class."