Chante-la ta chanson

Year Inducted: 2016
Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Written In:1978
Lyricist(s):Jean Lapointe, Marcel Lefebvre
Composer(s):Jean Lapointe, Marcel Lefebvre

At first, you hear a tuba, slowly repeating G, C, G, C. Then the voice of a young girl sings the chorus:

Chante-la ta chanson (Sing your song)
La chanson de ton cœur, la chanson de ta vie (Your heart’s song, your life’s song)
Chante-la ta chanson
L’oiseau le fait, le vent le fait, l’enfant le fait aussi (The birds do it, the wind does it, even children do it)

Chante-la ta chanson, n’aie pas peur, vas-y ! (Sing your song, don’t worry, go)
Chacun a sa mélodie au fond de lui (Everybody has their own melody inside)
Chante-la ta chanson, elle est sûrement jolie (Sing your song, I’m sure it’s beautiful)
Chante-la qu’elle est belle ta vie ! (Go on and sing how wonderful your life is!)

The idea that “everyone has their own melody inside” had been bouncing around Marcel Lefebvre’s head for quite some time. It was while driving back from the family cottage that the famous chorus came to him spontaneously. He sang it during the whole trip, afraid he would forget it, but thankfully, his children had the tune stuck in their heads.

Marcel then contacted Jean Lapointe with whom he had been writing songs for a few years now. They each added a sentence or melodic line to round off each verse and the chorus. They knew they had a hit with Chante-la ta chanson; so much so that the song’s title became the album’s title, an album Jean Lapointe recorded in October 1978 at Montréal’s famed Studio Tempo. Yves Lapierre was in charge of arrangements. The young girl’s voice on the recording was Jean Lapointe’s daughter, Élizabeth. But to avoid making anyone jealous, Lapointe also included his other children, Maryse, Catherine, and Jean-Marie, as well as Martin Lefebvre and a few other children.

Lapointe’s recording of Chante-la ta chanson first appeared on the Radio Mutuel chart on May 4, 1979, and stayed there for seven weeks. It quickly became a classic of Lapointe’s repertoire. Its simple and memorable melody made it a favourite of choirs and instrumentalists. The most famous cover, however, is the 1979 release by Les Compagnons de la Chanson, which made the song a huge hit in Francophone Europe as well. The song was also among the very first recorded by a young Celine Dion. Chante-la ta chanson became a SOCAN Classic (for 25,000 radio plays) in 1995.

Jean Lapointe was born in Price (near Mont-Joli) on December 6, 1935. Wanting to become a singer, he made his professional debut in Québec City in 1952. Three years later, he founded a duo with composer, guitarist and comedian Jérôme Lemay. Les Jérolas (JEROme LApointe) sky-rocketed to fame and their career lasted for 17 years.

Lapointe then turned to acting in movies and his talent is undeniable. He has featured in over thirty films. He also played for television productions, most notably as the infamous Québec Premier Maurice Duplessis in a series aired in 1977. His acting side-career lasted over 40 years and earned him several awards and distinctions. A seasoned stage artist, he also did stand-up comedy and song recitals that established box-office records in Canada and Europe.

In 1982, Lapointe founded Maison Jean-Lapointe, an organization that operates addiction treatment rehab centres. He was also a senator from 2001 to 2010. He returned to music in 1975 and had 25 years of success collaborating mainly with his friend Marcel Lefebvre.

Born in Québec City on October 26, 1941, Marcel Lefebvre was first interested in studying philosophy but switched to music in the early 60s. Yet, from 1964 to 1967, he taught philosophy at Collège de La Pocatière. While still in school, he wrote songs for Marc Gélinas, Renée Claude and Dominique Michel, and he penned a long list of French adaptations of Anglophone hits. He also wrote both screenplays and the words and music for several movies in the early 1970s. He began collaborating with Jean Lapointe in 1975. Over the next 40 years, the pair wrote over one hundred songs!

A very talented ‘jack of all trades,’ Marcel Lefebvre has written many novels and he has also worked in advertising, where he won several awards. Over the last 25 years, he has devoted most of his attention to his other passion: painting.