Raymond Donnez

Born: September 9th, 1942, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Greater Paris (France)
Died: March 7th, 2019
Nationality: French

Raymond Donnez (often credited under his pseudonym: Don Ray) was discovered as an arranger at a very young age; in the 1970s, when he was in his 20s, Donnez worked in the studio with famous francophone artists including Michel Sardou, Linda De Suza, Claude François, and Patricia Lavila. He arranged Jeane Manson’s 1976 international success ‘Avant de nous dire adieu’. Donnez was best known, however, for his work on disco music: amongst other things, he produced Santa Esmeralda’s new version to ‘Don’t let me be misunderstood’ as well as their LP ‘House of the rising sun’. Moreover, Donnez himself recorded a solo album with disco tracks, including the hit single ‘Standing in the rain’. He was the keyboardist on several recordings by Cerrone. In the 1980s, Donnez seems to have left his work in the recording studio altogether, and apparently he later worked as a singer/pianist in a piano bar in Paris.

Raymond Donnez has quite an impressive track record in the Eurovision Song Contest, having arranged four entries, amongst which two winners and two other top four contenders. In 1973, he wrote the arrangement to Anne-Marie David’s Luxembourg entry ‘Tu te reconnaîtras’, which won the contest; because of the fact that the contest was held in Luxembourg, RTL home conductor Pierre Cao led the orchestra during David’s performance. One year later, in 1974, Donnez made his debut as a conductor in the festival with ‘Celui qui reste et celui qui s’en va’; this Monegasque entry, a typical French chanson, sung by Romuald, came fourth. In 1976, Donnez again was involved in arranging and conducting the Monaco entry, ‘Toi, la musique et moi’, a song with clear disco elements in the arrangement; Marie Cristy was the singer and she came third in The Hague. In 1977, Donnez participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the last time, conducting France’s Marie Myriam to victory in London with her ‘L’oiseau et l’enfant’ – the last French Eurovision victory to date.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Raymond Donnez will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1974: Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va
1976: Toi, la musique et moi
1977: L'oiseau et l'enfant