Michel Colombier

Born: May 23rd, 1939, Lyon (France)
Died: November 14th, 2004, Santa Monica Ca. (United States)
Nationality: French

Michel Colombier became staff arranger at Barclay Records at a very young age, writing orchestrations for Charles Aznavour, Cathérine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, and many more. Besides, he worked extensively with Serge Gainsbourg. Later, he was signed by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records and started a new career in America, during the course of which he worked with Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, and many, many other artists. Moreover, he wrote over one-hundred film scores and twenty ballets. In Japan, he was referred to as the Godfather of French Fusion, for his ability to mix classically inspired music with jazz.

In the 1960s, Colombier was involved in writing the arrangements for three Monegasque Eurovision entries. In 1964, he scored ‘Où sont-elles passées’, a delightful ballad by Francis Lai which was performed by Romuald; in the contest in Copenhagen, 24-years-old Colombier conducted the orchestra and the entry came third. Three years later, he again helped the Monegasque entrant (in this case Minouche Barelli) by penning an arrangement. This time, however, he did not go to the Eurovision Song Contest as a conductor, as this task was performed by the singer’s father Aimé Barelli. Minouche’s rendition of the chaotic Serge Gainsbourg tune ‘Boum-badaboum’ was not particularly successful. In 1968, in London, Colombier made his second and last appearance as a conductor in the Eurovision Song Contest, when he led the orchestra in London for Line & Willy, who represented Monaco with their charming ‘A chacun sa chanson’.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Michel Colombier will be published on this website



Songs conducted
1964: Où sont-elles passées?
1968: A chacun sa chanson