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Henri Dès

Beginning with his full-length album debut in 1977, Henri Dès was among the most successful Francophone children's music singer/songwriters of his time. Born Henri Destraz on December 14, 1940, in Renens, Vaud, Switzerland, he moved to Paris in 1960 with hopes of becoming a professional musician. While he struggled to find success amid the yé-yé scene of the time, he honed his craft as a songwriter during the 1960s and began to experience some success late in the decade, most notably winning the Sopot International Song Festival in 1969. In the wake of his win at Sopot, he was elected to represent Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 with the song "Retour," and finished in fourth place. Also in 1970 he released the 7" single Alle Mädchen Sind Gefährlich on the Liberty label. During the early to mid-'70s Dès began writing children's music, and after nearly being selected as the Swiss representative to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976 with his song "C'est Pour la Vie," he made his full-length debut in 1977 with the children's album Cache-Cache on his own label, Productions Marie-Josée. He proceeded to release new albums every year or two, and did so well into the new millennium: La Petite Charlotte (1979), Flagada (1980), L'Ane Blanc (1982), Dessin Fou (1984), Les Trésors de Notre Enfance, Vol. 1 (1985), Le Beau Tambour (1986), La Glace au Citron (1988), Toni et Vagabond (1989), Les Trésors de Notre Enfance, Vol. 2 (1990), Les Bêtises (1991), Le Crocodile (1993), L'Évasion de Toni (1994), Far-West (1995), On Peut Pas Tout Dire (1997), Du Soleil (1999), C'est le Père Noël (2001), Comme des Géants (2002), Polissongs (2005), L'Hirondelle et le Papillon (2008), et al. Many of his best songs were eventually compiled on the double-disc collection 15 Gâteau (2007).
© Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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