Edith Piaf

30 Jun

Returning to one of our favorite subjects, the Weimer Era in Europe, we’re going to feature a famous and iconic-y stellar singer who got her start in Paris during the mid 1930s: Edith Piaf

Ms. Piaf got her start singing on the streets of Paris. From 3 to 7 she was apparently blind and the rumor is that she was miraculously cured after her grandmother, who was a cook at a brothel, got the prostitutes to all pitch in and send her on a pilgrimage honoring Saint Teresa de Lisieux. On the pilgrimage they say, her blindness was healed.

At 14 she joined her father performing on the streets. Within a year she had separated from him. She made her living singing on the streets (your author has done the same playing piano) for 6 years and in that time had her share of troubles. A local pimp wanted to recruit her and when she refused demanded she pay him large percentages of the money she pulled. At 17 she had a child who dies 2 years later. Finally, just after this, she was discovered by a nightclub owner.

He arranged for her to sing at his club, billed and promoted the living Bejeexus out of the evening, and the rest is history. From 1935 onward she was a star that continued rising and after WWII she went on to international fame.

The love of her life, a French boxer, was killed in 1949 and in 1951 a car crash she was in and the resulting pain started her on a morphine and alcohol addiction that followed her the rest of her life.

From 1955 to 1962 she was at her most famous, selling out theaters such as Carnegie Hall all over the world.  IN 1963 she died of liver cancer at age 47.

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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


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