Alain Bashung ( born Alain Baschung 1 December 1947 – 14 March 2009) was a French singer, songwriter and actor.
In France, he is considered one of the most famous singers in French chanson and French rock.
He rose to prominence in the early 1980s with hit songs such as “Gaby oh Gaby” and “Vertige de l’amour”, and later had a string of hit successes from the 1990s onward, such as “Osez Joséphine”, “Ma petite entreprise” or “La nuit je mens”.
He has had an influence on many later French artists, and is the most awarded artist in the Victoires de la Musique history with 12 victoires obtained throughout his career.
Alain Baschung (he later dropped the “c” from his surname) was the son of a Breton mother working in a rubber factory and an Algerian father, whom he never knew.
His mother remarried, and at the age of one, Bashung was sent to Wingersheim, near Strasbourg to live with his stepfather’s parents.
He spent his childhood in the countryside, in a rather conservative environment, alongside a grandmother who did not speak French.
He discovered music during his childhood, notably Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny, and began to practice with a Rosebud harmonica offered to him when he was five. He also practiced basketball and cycling and sang in the church choir of Wingersheim.
He came back to Paris in 1959, where he discovered the great chanson artists, and then rock artists such as Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly (whom he admired deeply), and Elvis Presley.
While studying (before dropping out after he was awarded a BTS in accountancy from the École nationale de commerce in 1965), he formed a band called Les Dunces playing folk music and rockabilly.
On 1 January 2009, Bashung was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur. On 28 February 2009, he received three prestigious Victoires de la Musique awards for his final album Bleu pétrole.
The 2009 award ceremony was his last public appearance. He appeared frail, but still performed “Résidents de la République.” He won the Best male artist of the year, Best album and Best tour awards.
Bashung died in Paris on 14 March 2009 from lung cancer at the age of 61 at the Hôpital Saint-Joseph in Paris.
After a religious ceremony at the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, he was buried on 20 March 2009 in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.