Paul Durand

Born: January 28th, 1907, Cette / Sète (France)
Died: January 21st, 1977, Louveciennes (France)
Nationality: French

Paul Durand, born in the same community as chansonnier Georges Brassens, studied piano at the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique, Montpellier. He worked as a church organist and conductor of the casino orchestra in his place of birth on the French Riviera. In 1938, he moved to Paris and worked as a pianist in various cabarets and, later on, also as the conductor of the Casino de Paris orchestra. In the late 1940s, he had an orchestra that bore his name. He worked as a producer of radio entertainment programmes.

As a composer, he left an impressive legacy of operettas (‘Le facteur de Troulebiniou’, 1951; ‘La castiglione’, 1967), film scores (‘Scandale aux Champs-Elysées’, ‘Deux de l’escadrille’, ‘Le fruit défendu’, etc.) and chansons; he wrote numerous successful songs, amongst which ‘Je suis seule ce soir’ for André Claveau (1941), ‘Aujourd’hui peut-être’ for Fernand Sardou (1945), and ‘Embrasse-moi bien’ for Jacqueline François (1953). As a studio conductor, he worked with many French artists during the 1950s, most famously Henri Salvador.

Another artist with whom he worked in the studios was Paule Desjardins. With her, he recorded ‘La belle amour’, an idyllic song written by Francis Carco and Guy Lafarge. With it, Desjardins represented France in the second-ever held Eurovision Song Contest, in Frankfurt in 1957. Paul Durand conducted the Tanz- und Unterhaltungsorchester des Hessischen Rundfunks during her rendition of the song. Desjardins came second, behind the winner from the Netherlands, Corry Brokken.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Paul Durand will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1957: La belle amour