Michel Pagliaro

Michel Pagliaro. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, b Montreal 9 Nov 1948. Michel Pagliaro sang and played guitar in a succession of Montreal "yé-yé" bands before meeting with success with Les Chanceliers, whose recording of "Le P'tit Poppy" was very popular in 1966.

Pagliaro, Michel

Michel Pagliaro. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, b Montreal 9 Nov 1948. Michel Pagliaro sang and played guitar in a succession of Montreal "yé-yé" bands before meeting with success with Les Chanceliers, whose recording of "Le P'tit Poppy" was very popular in 1966. He began a solo career the following year, taking his style, then unique among Quebec pop performers, from US rock and roll. He recorded until 1970 in French only, and his successes in that period included the singles "Fou de toi," "J'entends frapper," "Comme d'habitude," and "Dans la peau." Among his most popular singles in English have been "Give Us One More Chance," "Rainshowers," "Lovin' You Ain't Easy," and, after 1975, "What the Hell I Got" and "Dock of the Bay." He also made several LPs for the Spectrum (1970), Much (1971), RCA (1972-4), and CBS (1975-6) labels. A "greatest hits" LP was issued in 1975 under the Multi-Pop label (MP-1).

Pagliaro (or simply "Pag") performed at most Quebec rock venues, across Canada in 1977, and in Europe in 1976, 1977, and 1979. He set up his own recording studio where he produced the LPs of Walter Rossi and others. He recorded Bamboo there in 1981 (Trans-Canada TMC-1005), certain songs of which were revived in 1990 in TV commercials. He then left for France where he worked with the singer Jacques Higelin, among others. After five years away, he returned to Quebec, producing several hits, including "Les Bombes" and "Dangereux." In 1987, he was chosen as David Bowie's opening act at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. He subsequently made the albums Avant (1987, Aquarius AQR-547) and Sous peine d'amour (1988, Alert 281009-1/Audiogram AD-10038); the song "L'Espion" reached the top of the chart. In the fall of 1988, he again performed with Higelin at the Spectrum in Montreal as part of the Francofolies. Pagliaro's later recordings have included the compilations Hit Parade (1995, Audiogram ADCD10087), Goodbye Rain (1997, @ Records CD-9600), Pag (2000, Mediarock MED21172), and the 2005 DVD Live à Québec.

A Toronto performance brought this observation from Jymn Parrett: "Even without the trademark sunglasses, Michel Pagliaro remains inaccessible. Black stud leathers compete with disdainful sneer. Slithering, pounding, almost never smiling, Pagliaro the lizard king du monde onstage delivers state of art rock & roll without nice-guy pretensions." As for Hélène de Billy, she wrote of the "new Pag": "At one time, it was believed that Michel Pagliaro would become an international rock star. Then he disappeared, long enough to become a true artist."

Pagliaro has received a number of awards for his contribution to Canadian music, including the RPM Gold Leaf Award (1972), the SOCAN National Achievement Award (2002), and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement (2008).


Further Reading

  • Vincent, Pierre. "Michel Pagliaro," The Music Scene, 253, May-Jun 1970

    Parrett, Jymn. "Pagliaro," Cheap Thrills, Mar 1977

    Billy, Hélène de. "Le retour de Pag," L'Actualité, Jun 1989