"I want to make people cry even when they don't understand my words"
French singer Édith Piaf (née Édith Giovanna Gassion), was born on this day in 1915, in Paris.
She had a tumultuous life, laden with tragedies: she was abandoned by her mother at birth, had an affliction causing her to be blind for five years as a child, had a daughter at the age of 17 (who died two years later), was in multiple car accidents which led to her dependence on narcotics and alcohol, and lost the love of her life, French boxer Marcel Cerdan, in a plane crash.
Édith Piaf came from a family of street performers, and was discovered singing for pocket change in the streets of Paris.
The unique timbre of her voice separates her from most of her contemporaries, and her prolific songwriting and singing lends itself to the "chanson réaliste" style, though she did not fully identify with it.
Édith Piaf died on October 10th, 1963.
Writer and friend Jean Cocteau wrote and delivered an hommage to her: Édith Piaf is "inimitable. Never before has there been an Édith Piaf. Never again will there be one." Cocteau died hours later.
"I want to make people cry even when they don't understand my words."