French singer François Deguelt, best known for his participation on behalf of Monaco at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1960 and 1962, passed away yesterday at the age of 82.
Deguelt gave up his studies to become a cabaret singer in Paris in the early 1950s. In 1956, he was the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque of the Académie Charles Cros. Following a period of military service in Algeria, Deguelt returned to France, and was offered the chance in 1960 to sing for Monaco in the fifth Eurovision Song Contest, held in London on 29 March and won by France’s entry Tom Pillibi performed by Jacqueline Boyer. Deguelt’s song Ce soir-là nevertheless proved popular with the juries, finishing in third place out of 13 entrants.
Deguelt returned to Eurovision, again representing Monaco, in 1962 with the song Dis rien. This contest took place on 18 March in Luxembourg, where he went one better by finishing second out of 16 participants, the event being won once more by his homeland France with Isabelle Aubret’s Un premier amour.
François Deguelt is one of five acts in Eurovision history (alongside UK’s Cliff Richard, Germany’s Katja Ebstein, Malta’s Chiara and Serbia’s Zeljko Joskimovic) to have finished second and third without having won the competition.
Later successful singles included Le Ciel, le soleil et la mer (1965), Le printemps (1966), Minuit, le vent, la nuit (1968) and La libération (1968). François Deguelt continued to tour and perform on the nostalgia circuit throughout the Francophone world until very recently.
The esctoday.com team offers their deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of François Deguelt.