RAYMOND LEFEVRE.

When you think of composer Raymond Lefèvre do you like me think straight away of his big international instrumental hit Soul Coaxing which was played on loop on the radio back in the 1960’s? During the 1960’s and pretty much throughout the 1970’s the music charts were in my opinion more varied and contained many instrumental recordings by the likes of Lefèvre, Goodwin, Barry, and Mancini to name just three.

For example, in 1964 the theme that the BBC used for the Tokyo Olympics Tokyo Melody by Helmut Zacharias reached a high position in the British hit parade. It was a period that also saw a lot of covers of film themes which became hits. Ernest Gold’s Exodus for example and Bernstein’s The Magnificent Seven and even Morricone’s The Good the Bad and The Ugly were all given a lease of life away from the movies that they were originally written for via cover versions by the likes of Ferrante and Teicher, Al Cailo, and Hugo Montenegro respectively.

The easy listening market was a lot more popular then than it is nowadays, music was in general more commercial as in it was appealing to all ages and youngsters listened to it and accepted it even if it was not that cool. Film music benefitted because many artists such as Ron Goodwin and Henry Mancini would release albums of film themes and not only include their works but also the work of other composers. Raymonde Lefèvre released numerous easy listening albums in the 1960’s some containing original tunes and songs by the composer alongside standards and popular titles that he arranged for his orchestra, I suppose Lefèvre was the French equivalent to James Last, and Bert Kaempfert, but he also wrote film scores as well like Goodwin and Mancini.

His film scores contained that easy listening sound, and a sense of romanticism as well as providing the movies he scored with support and a musical enhancement that was effective and at the same time memorable. His first film score was for the 1957 movie Fric-frac en Dentelles. Raymond Lefèvre was born on November 20, 1929, in Calais, France, his birth name was Raymond Lefèbvre. He is best known for the now classic melody Soul Coaxin’ (Ame Caline), which became a global hit in 1968. He also wrote soundtracks for movies directed by Louis de Funès such as La Soupe Aux Choux (1981), as well as working on the iconic series that focused upon Le Gendarme De Saint Tropez which ran from the mid 1960’s to the early 1980’s on which he collaborated with fellow composer Paul Mauriat  who also released many easy listening albums and had a hit with his arrangement of L’Amour est Bleu (Love Is Blue) also in 1968.

Lefèvre accompanied Dalida on most of her recordings (Bambino, Por Favor, Tu Peux Tout Faire de Moi, Quand on N’A Que l’Amour) during the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s. Lefèvre was accepted at the Paris Conservatory at just 17 years of age. During early the 1950’s he played the piano for the Franck Pourcel orchestra. But it was in 1956 that his musical career as an artist in his own right began on the Barclay label when recorded his debut album in the same year. He worked on various the French television programmes, one being Musicorama in the 1950’s and then later Palmarés des Chansons from 1965, through till 1967 where he would accompany famous artists with his own orchestra and did arrangements of popular songs. H

is recording of The Day the Rains Came was a best seller in the United States in 1958 with Ame Caline (Soul Coaxin’) following a decade later and La La La (He Gives Me Love) also being a minor hit in 1968 in Canada and the United States. In 1969 his recording of La Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) became a big hit in Japan where he toured in 1972 and in the early 2000’s. Lefèvre passed away on June 27th 2008.

One thought on “RAYMOND LEFEVRE.”

  1. “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez” was the first piece, I met his great enthusiastic notes of him, when I was a little boy. Always will be remembered with his joyful musics and wonderful arrangements.

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