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Françoise Hardy, French Singer and International Sixties Icon, Dead at 80

Françoise Hardy, the French icon and singer known for evoking romantic existentialism in her music, has died at the age of 80.

Her son, Thomas Dutronc, confirmed her death in a Facebook post. Sharing a photo of her holding him as a baby, Dutronc simply wrote, “Maman est partie.”

According to Barron’s, the singer had struggled with cancer since 2004.

Hardy rose to prominence in the Sixties, becoming known for her songwriting and evocative lyrics. Her debut album, Tout les garçons et les filles, release in 1962 and delivered some of her first commercial success — catapulting her to the front of European yé-yé pop music. As she began to record music in London in 1964, she released Mon amie la roseL’amitiéLa maison où j’ai grandi and Ma jeunesse fout le camp, expanding the influence of her sound. Throughout the early Seventies, Hardy collaborated with numerous musicians including Serge Gainsbourg, Patrick Modiano, Michel Berger and Catherine Lara. Hardy recorded her work in English, German, and Italian.

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Rolling Stone named her as one of the 200 best singers of all time, noting that Bob Dylan was so taken by her artistry, he addressed her in a poem on the back of Another Side of Bob Dylan and on their first meeting, he serenaded her, unsuccessfully, with “I Want You”.

When speaking to the Guardian in 2018, Hardy discussed how her album, Personne d’Autre, which released that year, explored mortality and her acceptance of it. “I sing about death in a very symbolic and even positive way. There is an acceptance there, too,” she said. “For instance, there is a song called “Special Train,” which I like very much, but at my age, I can really only sing about that one very special train that will take me out of this world. But, of course, I am also hoping that it will send me to the stars and help me discover the mystery of the cosmos.”

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