Les nuits de Montréal

Year Inducted: 2006
Era Inducted To: Radio Era
Written In:1949
Lyricist(s):Jean Rafa
Composer(s):Émile Prud'homme

Written during the golden era of Montreal nightclubs, Les nuits de Montréal combines the Quebec lyrics of Jean Rafa and the French traditional music of Émile Prud’homme. It was recorded by the Quebec artist Jacques Normand and frequently performed at the Faisan Doré, Montreal’s first great Francophone cabaret.

Originally from France, Jean Rafa, born Raphaël Jean Febbrari, immigrated to Quebec in 1948 and was readily adopted by his new fellow citizens. After starting his career singing at the Faisan Doré, he soon started touring the leading Quebec nightclubs of the 1950s and 1960s (including the famous La Porte St-Jean club in Quebec City). Rafa made his mark as a cabaret artist for his ability to improvize songs on the spot using lines suggested by members of his audience.

Besides his work as a performer, Rafa spent 17 years as the host of the daily show A et P vous appelle. He also took part in countless variety shows on radio (Chez Miville) and television (Du Coq à l’Âne) for Radio-Canada. He was the host of the very first variety show presented live in 1952 when Radio-Canada first went on air.

His interest in sports brought him to become a promoter of the game of petanque in Quebec and a commentator of cycling races. He was variously known as “the most Quebecois Frenchman” or “the eternal optimist.”

Born in France, Émile Prud’homme started studying piano at his mother’s prompting. Showing scant interest in piano, he turned to the accordion, his uncle’s favourite instrument. During his career, Prud’homme recorded many accordion music albums and received his first gold record in 1955. With his typically Parisian music, Prud’homme continued to perform worldwide with his band until his death in 1974.

Les nuits de Montréal brings the memory back to the golden age of Montreal’s nightclubs with singers like Pierre Roche, Charles Aznavour and Aglaé and a cast of stars that gravitated around the Faisan Doré, a leading meeting place for Montrealers at the time.


Les nuits de Montréal