Claude Dubois

Montreal, Quebec, 24 April, 1947
Year Inducted: 2008
Era Inducted To: Modern Era

Claude Dubois began his singing career at the age of 12 with Les Montagnards, a country-flavoured band whose first album was titled Claude Dubois et ses Montagnards. By 1966, the times were changing and Dubois, who had been influenced by Bob Dylan, Donovan and Gilles Vigneault, recorded his first solo album, and succeeded in making a name for himself among such well-established peers as Claude Gauthier, Robert Charlebois, Georges Dor and Raymond Lévesque. Vigneault gave Dubois his first break when he hired as the opening act on his Quebec tour. Dubois went on to sing at the Festival du Disque as well as Place des Arts, Comédie Canadienne and Expo 67, and received a Discovery of the Year award from the popular Montreal singer-songwriter club Le Patriote. Inspired by the 1960’s social and musical changes, Dubois rapidly went back to the studio to record a new psychedelic-rock-influenced album.

In 1972, following the Paris recording of his third album, which included the now classic Le Labrador, Dubois took some time off performing to travel the world, find himself and recharge his batteries. A few months later, in 1973, he released Touchez Dubois, a signature album that yielded some of the artist’s greatest hits, including Femme de rêve, Bébé jajou la toune and La vie à la semaine. Dubois was on a roll: he sang with Diane Dufresne and Offenbach, and was offered his own variety show at Radio-Canada in 1973 and later TVA from 1975-76. Décibels and Showbizz, the shows he hosted for these networks, are still fondly remembered by many music lovers.

Claude Dubois’ fifth album, Mellow Reggae (1976), was recorded in Paris, London, Miami and Montreal. Two years later, in 1978, Dubois became a star performer of the Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon musical Starmania, where his performance of the song Le Blues du Businessman became a classic of the international Francophone music scene, bringing him the 1979 Félix Award for Best Male Singer of the Year.

The early 1980s were a difficult period for Claude Dubois, who was arrested for drug possession in 1981 and spent the rest of the year in detox. Dubois used this unscheduled hiatus to jot down the music and lyrics of yet another signature album, and made a strong comeback the following year with a sixth album titled Sortie Dubois, a tongue-in-cheek pun meaning ‘Out of the Woods’, that marked the end of that painful time in his private life. This new release included the hit singles Plein de tendresse and Femme ou fille, and sold over 200,000 copies. Dubois headlined performances at the Montreal Forum and Quebec City’s Colisée with the internationally renowned Quebec jazz-fusion group Uzeb, and went on to receive five Félix awards, including one for Best Male Performer – a distinction he was to be given two years in a row. He continued to perform for sold-out audiences through the early 1990s and, in 1996, recorded his seventh album, a tribute to Frederico Fellini titled Gelsomina.

In 1998, Claude Dubois had a stroke as he was poised to start a series of performances at the Montreal Casino. He recovered in a matter of weeks and rapidly went back to performing. In 2001, he was awarded SOCAN’s National Achievement Award, given to an artist for outstanding success predominantly in the Canadian music industry over the span of his/her career, as well as the ADISQ Tribute Award. Since then, he has continued to perform a series of shows at the Montreal Casino and to give sold-out performances throughout Quebec.

In 2007, Claude Dubois indulged himself with the release of an album of his most popular songs performed as duos with prominent French and Quebec singers such as Gilles Vigneault, Richard Desjardins, Patrick Bruel, Francis Cabrel, Céline Dion, Isabelle Boulay, Garou and many others. Duos Dubois was a resounding success and turned platinum with 100,000 copies sold within three weeks of the album’s release. By the end of August 2007, the album had passed the double platinum mark with over 200,000 copies sold.

Claude Dubois