Émile Gardaz died at his home in Villars-le-Terroir, Switzerland at the age of 76 this morning. He was the lyricist of various Swiss entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, most notably of Refrain, the first winning song in the contest back in 1956.
Émile Gardaz was born in 1931 and shot to fame as a radio presenter of Radio Suisse Romande, a broadcaster he has worked for since 1955. He was also a succesful book author releasing many novels and collections of poems like Frères comme ça, Le pays d’Echallens and La courte échelle.
Furthermore, he wrote the lyrics to about 600 songs, five of them were entries in the Eurovision Song Contest: Refrainwas performed by Lys Assia in 1956 and won the competition. The year after, L'enfant que j'étais was also performed by Lys Assia but only finished 8th out of ten contestants. His third songtook part in 1961 – Nous aurons demain finished 3rdperformed by Franca Di Rienzo. 1962, Le retour, which was presented by Jean Philippe, was less succesful and reached 10th place out of 16. In1963, Esther Ofarim sung T'en va pas and the song wasa comercial success but also succesful in London, where it finished 2nd.
A special thank you to Jürgen Haepersfor his contribution to the article.