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Michel Delpech: The French Pop Singer Who Loved the Lord

FRANCE, Paris: A portrait of Michel Delpech during the burial ceremony of late French singer Michel Delpech, on January 8, 2016 at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris. French singer Michel Delpech, whose songs Chez Laurette and Quand j'etais chanteur helped capture the mood of the 1960s and 1970s, died on January 2. He was 69. - CITIZENSIDE/LOUIS-MARIE GAUTIER
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The late singer and songwriter revealed his double life in 2014 in his book called "I Dared God"

The singer and songwriter Michel Delpech, age 69, passed away on January 2, said his wife. He died of throat cancer, which he had been battling for several years.

Six months ago, television host Michel Drucker told the general public that his great friend Michel Delpech had only a few months left to live. He who sang in his latest hit: “This is the end of my road on earth … I am yours, welcome me, Father. Here is my soul; dry your tears, my brothers; I am going where the light shines.”

Between faith and sequins

Who is God? What are the rites, the pope, the Mass all about? What is the meaning of life? What door does death open? These are the issues that interested Michel Delpech, the star of the peace-loving ’60s, when he was not on stage, thus leading a double life: glitter and believer.

He finally revealed his double life to his audience early in 2014 at the age of 68 in a small, 240 page book called I Dared God. The pop star was recovering at the time from throat cancer, an ordeal through which his love for Christ, whom he had met in his childhood, lost, and then found again between the ages of 15 and 30 had strengthened him, making him put modesty aside and speak out about the real drive of his life: faith.

The meeting occurred in 1985. Michel had just married Geneviève in the Coptic Church. They both went to Jerusalem and visited the Holy Sepulcher. The singer had ​​an overwhelming experience there: “Before Christ’s tomb, I knelt down and Jesus came into my life, into my heart. It was very sweet. I really felt that I was coming home to him. Like nuptials,” he testified later.

“Can a pop singer who reads the Fathers of the Church and those of the desert be credible?”

Michel Delpech then wanted to write. “I know, he says, that this language is difficult to hear, coming from a popular singer. A pop singer who is reading the Fathers of the Church and those of the desert, how can he be credible? A star who cultivates his inner life and has a passion for theology, how can he say that it is not just a passing fad? I took the risk anyway because I know that if I went away without ever having spoken, I would regret it.”

He had withheld his faith for “fear of ridicule.” Fear of boring his audience. To reveal what is “much more intimate than his private life,” comments François Vercelletto on his blog “Etats d’âme.” But the popular interpreter of “Chez Lorette” and the smash hit “Pour un Flirt” took the plunge and described in his book more than 40 years of shared intimacy, behind the scenes, with a “guide,” a “friend,” a “brother” named Jesus. “A God from whom he had been separated for 15 years … before being “seized” by the testimony of a monk, on TV, in the early ’80s,” says François Vercelletto, and which kept him from going downhill.

“God always waits for us to come to him. He is not resentful. He welcomes us even if we make him wait,” he confided recently … like a dream come true?

 

Translated from the French by Liliane Stevenson.

 

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