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« The Jacques Canetti Productions are to the French song what “Blue Note” is to jazz»*

 

In the summer of 1962 Jacques Canetti resigned from Philips for whom he had created, as artistic director, the most prestigious catalogue of chansons françaises including authors, composers and performers who were to become, in under 50 years, the standard against which a whole new generation of singers, comedians, musicians…and artistic directors, measured themselves.

In September 1962, Jacques Canetti founded the first independent record label in France: Les Productions Jacques Canetti.

By doing so he made it clear that he wanted to continue to produce music as a “craftsman”, as he always had done. At the height of the pop music revolution when singles were taking over the music market, when artists became famous for a single song, when radio was blasting out hits*, Jacques Canetti proved to be resolutely against the flow of what the music industry was becoming: show business. *A phrase coined by Boris Vian

A mythical graphic design

Jacques Canetti was the first to create a “house-style book” for his label that music fans would rapidly recognise and which some of them would remember for a long time.

Jacques Canetti personally wrote the names of the artists that he signed on the 12” sleeves of the vinyls: a style of handwriting that is recognisable anywhere.

To begin with, the albums are printed in two colours – black/white and red – with a rich palette of greys that run through the inside pages. Original and elegant, the look remains timeless.

Notable albums
Brigitte Fontaine -Dévastes moi
Produit Fontaine Higelin - Chansons d'avant le déluge
Signoret -Cocteau La voix humaine
Jeanne Moreau

Between 1963 and 1995, Jacques Canetti produced and conceived every album on the basis of 12 to 15 songs; “the time it takes to allow an artist to express a part of his inner self”.

In 1964 Jacques Canetti produced the album Jeanne Moreau chante Bassiak.

In 1965, he convinced Serge Reggiani to take his first steps in the music business and entrusted him with previously unpublished songs by Boris Vian. The actor turned out to be a great performer. The first album did not enjoy great commercial success, but Canetti persisted and produced Reggiani’s second album with songs that even now are still on everyone’s lip : les Loups, le Petit Garçon, Ma Liberté, le Déserteur

In 1966 he produced the first albums of two young unknown performers : Jacques Higelin and Brigitte Fontaine. These albums were to be successful…only much later.

In 1967, he recorded a collection of  Boris Vian‘s songs, in 1975 one by Jacques Prévert, in 1985 songs by Jean Cocteau… He also recorded live albums by Simone Signoret (La voix humaine from Cocteau in 1963), Cora Vaucaire (at the Théâtre de la Ville in 1973), Catherine Sauvage (sings Léo Ferré at the Théâtre de l’Est Parisien en 1984). He also recorded shows: in 1972, Boris Vian’s only musical, « La bande à Bonnot, the French version of Bertold Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. He also created a repertoire of recordings for children including the songs of 20th century artists (Prévert, Queneau, Desnos, Vian, Tardieu, etc..).

Almost every disc from the Jacques Canetti label has received a Grand Prix du Disque upon release.

“When at the age of 53 our father became “independent” by creating his own music label, we lived with the ups and downs, swinging between euphoria and disappointment. A wonderful way to learn, at the age of 12 or 13, that life is no merry-go-round”

Françoise Canetti

The Canetti shows and tours

Jacques Canetti has always been a showman…Even if he had to give up on the Théâtre des Trois Baudets, which he was forced to shut down in 1967…he produced a multitude of shows involving “his” artists. Between 1978 and 1988, he went to Avignon for several years running, where he produced the shows of Vian, Prévert and Cocteau with Sarah Boréo, Jean Bourbon, Renaud Marx, Bee Michelin, Bruno Brel, Jean-Marie Hummel et Liselotte Ham.

In June 1965, he opened one of the first “café-théâtres” at the Bilboquet to present “Ciné-Song” where a young Jacques Higelin would polish some of the songs from his first album. And what to say of Eus, a village perched in the Roussillon region where Lucienne and Jacques Canetti loved to spend their ‘studious holidays’. There, Canetti created, along with his friends and children, a “café de village” to present “his” artists. Certain artists chose to make Eus their summer residence.

 

« Développer quelqu’un, c’est avoir de la patience, parler, insister, le défendre, croire durablement en lui, lui insuffler sa confiance. C’est imaginer son ‘à venir’ et lui donner les moyens d’aller jusqu’au bout de lui-même »

Jacques Canetti, extrait de « Jacques Canetti Mes 50 ans de chansons françaises »

The label after Jacques Canetti

In 1997, at the passing of their father, Bernard and Françoise Canetti took over the management of the Jacques Canetti label. They experienced all the passions and all the determination of their father and resisted to the siren calls of all the major labels that wanted to buy the titles in the catalogue.

Up until 2004 the label was under licence with Universal and remarkable work was done with Christian de Tarlet. But in 2004, Françoise embarked on another strategy. No more licensing ! She took the risk of producing the label’s records and looked for a distributor. At this point Emmanuel de Buretel launched the Because venture. The Jacques Canetti label was to be his first signing as a distributor. An admirer and friend of Jacques Canetti, Emmanuel de Buretel remains Françoise’s best advisor.

Françoise therefore made it a point of honour to republish the recordings of the label with the same house-style book that her father had created…In under 30 years, some of the recordings have become “classics”. She brought together and completed Jacques Canetti’s work with new recordings such as the recordings of Serge Reggiani‘s Letters read by himself, Jacques Prévert read by Jeanne Moreau, Annie GirardotRichard Bohringer, Ludmila Mikaël, Catherine Arditi, or even the songs of Boris Vian directed by Laurent Pelly and recorded with the artists of the National Dramatics Centre in Grenoble.

Finally, with the priceless help of FNAC, Françoise Canetti was able to publish exclusive collections.

In May 2009, BORIS VIAN – 100 chansons was a compilation of the greatest performers of Boris Vian.

In 2011, a compilation of the greatest performers of Jacques Canetti label were reissued… Finally, in 2012, the “unfindable” records of the Jacques Canetti label were republished with the help of the FNAC.

In 2015, The Jacques Canetti Productions are opening overseas and distributed in Canada for the first time by Select.

At the end of 2014, The third “exclusive” is out. It’s focusing on the read texts of the label with original work : Elias Canetti’s texts read by the actor Pierre Arditi.

Les Introuvables Coffrets 1 et 2