Georgie Dann: the enormous Parisian musical formation of the father of the song of the summer

  • By:karen-millen



With the death of Georgie Dann, obituaries are spread in which there is an inevitable coincidence: he left us fun songs that appeared in summer, inconsequential in their lyrics and with an accelerated rhythm with tropical echoes. They were like that "Pachanga" of the 50s. So that his figure, pleasant but not that of a gallant, would have a stage in his show, he hired half a dozen young dancers, very attractive and scantily clad.Georgie Dann: the huge Parisian band from the father of the summer song Georgie Dann: the huge Parisian band from the father of the summer song

The kind of song that Georgie Dann broke through in the summers of the 1970s and 1980s made a fortune. It gave the impression of being for children in some cases; in others, no, because they contained picaresque refrains. And they encouraged the public so much that many couples did not resist going out on the dance floor to dance to the beat of their notes. Some, already advanced in years, were unconcerned about the possible ridicule and even, in their shirt sleeves, they slipped bumping into others, as if they were in a fairground attraction of electric cars. In festivals, in popular discos, in town festivals throughout Spain. Georgie Dann didn't care to be called tacky. Perhaps some brainy columnists with bad slime and uncontrolled bile did not realize that not everything in life is listening to Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen.

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I met Georgie Dann, in his identity card Georges Mayer Dahan, born in Paris on January 14, 1940, shortly after arriving in Madrid in 1965. A few years earlier he had taken part in the Festival of the Mediterranean, which It was held in Barcelona, ​​where he came in third place with his song "Tout ce que tu sais" (Everything you know). He told me that he had studied eight years at the Conservatory, that he played the clarinet, saxophone and accordion, because his father, a musician, encouraged him to study music since he was a child. He was not very determined, because he had thought of being a professional swimmer, being a good gifted athlete.

Georgie Dann also studied Teaching. He worked as a teacher for a short time but from that experience he reminded me that he improvised some fun classes with his little students, making up songs as he went. I sang with them. One of whom was the son of a French television director, who gave Georgie's school children's choir a performance on camera. Such success was achieved that another manager of a record company contacted Georgie to record an album, after doing some tests. And that's how that Georgie Dann arose who didn't even think of becoming an interpreter of the song. To complete that sudden experience, Georgie attended some dance classes taught by a black man, a neighbor of hers.

Georgie Dann: the huge Parisian musical group of the father of the song of the summer

The fact is that, already determined to earn a living as a singer, he undertook a trip to several Hispanic countries where he learned our language and became passionate about the folk music of those parts.

Anyone who thinks Georgie Dann was just a composer of easy lyrics and music is wrong. He belonged to a generation that in France had drawn on the sources of George Brassens, Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré, Yves Montand... But he found another way after staying in Mexico for a couple of years when he had only planned to spend fifteen days. And I didn't know a word of Spanish. There, Pedro Vargas, the great tenor and interpreter of rancheras, friend of Agustín Lara, recommended that he go see Roberto Cantoral, the author of "El reloj". He arrived home, was surprised to see that his colleague had a pool in the shape of a guitar, and they agreed that the Mexican would adapt the lyrics of his French songs to Spanish.

Already recently arrived in Madrid in the so-called 1965, the first songs of his to appear on records were versions of melodic pop hits of the moment, such as "Aline", "Caprí c´est finí", "Winchester Cathedral", even "Juanita Banana", which was closer to what Georgie would later sing. In the repertoire of the French artist, at the beginning of his career, the song "Casatschok" always appeared, which due to his reminiscences, many believed that it belonged to Russian folklore, which was false. It was a fashionable dance in Paris in the 1960s, which was composed there and danced in nightclubs daily. Then it spread to half of Europe.

It would be from the 70s onwards when the Frenchman would already impose the style and the songs that were going to identify him from then on with his carefree and comical air. Because humor never left Georgie Dann. "Balapapa" is from 1970, "El dino" from 1972, "La rana" from 1973 and his first hit: "El bimbó", dated 1975. From then on, every year when the heat came, a new song by Georgie was expected in that line that we commented on. Some titles were from his harvest, and others were adaptations of songs already released, from the past, such as "El cumbanchero", from 1976. The following year he recorded "El cafetal". With "Pachito Eché", which he did not sign himself, he achieved another number 1 in 1978. And, successively, those that follow, among others, since his discography includes several hundred songs: "En un boat de vela", "El africano" , which in 1985 swept "El negro no puede", three years later "El chiringuito", which is still heard and danced to. "La barbacoa" occurred to him one day when on the terrace of his chalet they did a report with his dancers for a magazine. Later, they prepared a barbecue, and with a happy atmosphere he found the idea for that million-dollar song. And in another of his hits, "Mami, what will the black man want", the singer told us that people changed the chorus by repeating "Mami, what will the black man have", which according to him was a word with a double intention. .

Georgie Dann was used to not only releasing new things come summer. His records were reissued at other times of the year. And at the end of the 90s, a multinational record company released CDs with a compilation of their hits. With the new century the name of Georgie Dann and his songs already had less echo. His figure, dressed in striking sequined jackets, with his well-groomed black hair, was already disappearing from the stage and on radio and television, where he was always a star, he no longer interested the audience. In 2012 he said that he spent hours whistling through the rooms of his chalet, when he was not entertained as he often was listening to jazz records. It was in 2018 when he tried to recover something from the past, a hole in some programming. And he recorded "Good Rollinski", a soccer theme taking advantage of a European championship in Russia. But rather it went unnoticed.

Georgie Dann left us a legacy that many will remember when they want to remember that time when we laughed and danced to her happy songs.

Georgie Dann: the enormous Parisian musical formation of the father of the song of the summer
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