There’s no way of knowing how many great songs we’ll never get to hear because they never reached the public. “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “Starman” by David Bowie and Prince’s “When Doves Cry” are all examples of songs that came very close to never being heard, and were only included on the artists’ album at the last minute. The same story applies to the Canadian song Vivre en amour written by Luc Cousineau and Roger Magnan. Cousineau was in the midst of recording session, when his sound engineer suggested including a ballad on his latest album. He later returned to the studio with his group of musicians and recorded an instrumental version of the song. To the surprise of Cousineau, his engineer had already contacted Roger Magnan to write words to the music. And the rest, well, that’s history!
Vivre en amour is a utopian vision of love and harmony among peoples, in keeping with the 1960/70s “peace and love” movement. The song was released on May 19, 1976 and quickly shot onto the Quebec radio play charts the following week, enjoying a total of 13 weeks on the charts including one week at No. 1.
Now a widely recognized Quebec classic, Vivre en amour earned a SOCAN Classics Award in 1995 for over 25,000 radio airplays. It has been performed at events such as the Montreal en Lumière festival and at venues ranging from Montreal’s Place des Arts to school auditoriums.
Watch Canadian singer-songwriter Jill Barber perform her version of Vivre en Amour to celebrate the song’s induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame via our Covered Classics series.
Vivre en amour
Written by Luc Cousineau and Roger Magnan
Performed by Jill Barber (accompanied by Marshall Bureau on drums, Dean Drouillard on guitar,
Robbie Grunwald on piano, Drew Jurecka on violin and Steve Zsirai on bass)
Click here for more information on the song Vivre en amour
Covered Classics: Watch Jill Barber perform CSHF-inducted song, When My Baby Smiles at Me
At first listen, what sets Jill Barber apart is her distinctive voice. But it’s her ability to write an immediately memorable song that has made her one of Canada’s most recognizable artists. On Fool’s Gold, her 6th studio album, Jill continues to explore different musical styles, from traditional country, to jazz and Motown, though she rarely works neatly within the confines of any one genre. Instead she writes in the spirit of the Brill Building era where hook and melody reigned.