Pauline Julien (1928–1998) recorded 24 albums throughout a career that started in 1962. She penned the lyrics to L’âme à la tendresse in 1972 alongside pianist François Dompierre, who wrote the irresistible melody of this iconic song which appeared on Julien’s thirteenth album, Allez voir vous avez des ailes, released in 1973. Now inducted to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, L’âme à la tendresse has endured the test of time and left a deep impression in everyone’s mind. A soft and unifying piece about love and friendship, the emotions expressed in this heartfelt song are authentic and true.
Ce soir j’ai l’âme à la tendresse
Tendre tendre, douce douce
Tresser avec vous ce lien et cette délicatesse
Vous mes amis d’hier et d’aujourd’hui
Flashback to December 1972 when Radio-Canada’s TV show Femme d’aujourd’hui showed Julien and her pianist Gaston Brisson fine-tuning the song while listening to Dompierre first draft on a tape recording. Once we’ve rehearsed it enough, we’ll build the arrangements and record it in the studio, she said.
François Dompierre remembers that day in 1972: Pauline gave me the lyrics and I wrote the music in an hour! She fine-tuned a few of the words to fix the meter, but we had no clue this song would be a hit. When you hear only the song’s music, you also hear the words, and if you simply read the lyrics, you hear the music. That’s the sign of a great song. The osmosis between what Pauline is singing and the melody is perfect. There was no point in overthinking it. We trusted each other. And although, in the studio, Pauline was both self-assured and insecure, on stage she was fully able to express her feelings.
Aujourd’hui pourtant en vain, je vous espère
Où êtes-vous j’appelle je tends les bras
Nos amitiés se sont-elles évanouies ?
Peut-être n’avons-nous plus rien à nous dire je chavire
L’âme à la tendresse is a 3 minutes and 24 seconds-long song. Launched as a 45 rpm on Zodiac (ZO330) in 1974, the B-side was the song Chu tannée, Roger, also from Allez voir vous avez des ailes.
Pauline Julien was made Chevalier des arts et des lettres (France) in 1994, Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 1997 and also won the Grand Prix du disque Charles-Cros in 1970 and 1985. An homage show titled La renarde was presented at the 2018 Francofolies and an album with the same title was released by Spectra Musique in February 2019.
François Dompierre was born in Ottawa on July 1, 1943. He worked as an orchestrator and musical director for the likes of Pauline Julien, Monique Leyrac, Renée Claude and Félix Leclerc. His eponymous album released in 1975 sold over 500,000 copies thanks to the success of his instrumental piece Saute-Mouton. This prolific composer also has an impressive track record as a screen composer. He is a member of the Order of Canada (2014) and of the Ordre national du Québec (2014).