French music icon Françoise Hardy dies at 80

Françoise Hardy, 1964.

PARIS (AP) — Françoise Hardy, a French singing legend and pop icon since the 1960s, has died. She was 80 years old. Hardy has been battling lymphoma since 2004, and she’s been very open about her illness. She died on Tuesday.

Born in Paris on January 17, 1944, Hardy’s career began in 1962 when she was 18 years old and recorded her first single, “Tous les garçons et les filles”. The song she wrote quickly became a hit, marking her as a key figure in the “yé-yé” movement, the French answer to rock ‘n’ roll.

Her lyrics often capture the anxieties and longings of adolescence, deeply resonating with young audiences. Her melancholy and introspective tone set her apart from the more effervescent pop of her peers.

Hardy’s influence extended far beyond France. In 2023, she became the only French artist to be included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 200 greatest singers of all time. Her ethereal voice and unique beauty captivated audiences around the world, earning praise from music legends such as Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and David Bowie.

“I loved her passionately. So did every man in the world, and many women,” Bowie once said.

Hardy has a unique approach to songwriting, emphasizing the importance of melody in her creative process. In a 1996 interview with The Associated Press, she discussed songwriting, explaining: “I always put lyrics on music. It’s always been that way. I didn’t write songs before, and then I was looking for music. First of all, I get the music and then I try to express it in words. This approach gives her music a unique quality, blending poetic lyrics with evocative melodies.

Hardy is also known as a fashion muse. Her androgynous appearance and understated elegance have made her a darling of the fashion world, with her slender figure, angular features and long, straight hair. This aesthetic coincides with the modern fashion of the 1960s, which emphasized simplicity and a certain boyish charm. She often wore designs by André Courrèges, Paco Rabanne and Yves Saint Laurent, styles that defined the era. Her impact on the fashion world lasted for decades.

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Hardy’s relationship with fellow musician Jacques Dutronc was an important part of her life and work. They met in the mid-1960s and had son Thomas in 1973. They live on different floors of the same Parisian building, and their lives reflect their bittersweet partnership, which is also reflected in Hardy’s songs.

She also has a keen interest in astrology, writing several books on the subject and hosting a radio show. Her lyrics and public persona often reflect her introspective nature and fascination with celestial bodies.

Hardy’s battle with cancer was a long one. She underwent multiple treatments, including radiation therapy, which left her deaf in one ear. Despite her failing health, she continued to create music and released her last album, Personne d’autre, in 2018. Characterized by facing the following issues: Death.

Tributes poured in from around the world. French Culture Minister Rima Abdel Mallak hailed her as “a timeless legend of French song”, while musicians such as Carla Bruni, Michel Polnareff and Etienne Daho Expressed deep condolences and appreciation. International artists, including Blur’s Graham Coxon and Public Enemy’s Chuck D, also paid tribute.

Reflecting on his lifelong love of melody, Hardy once said: “My whole life I have been looking for beautiful melodies. Listening to them transports me to seventh heaven.”

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