Gilles Vigneault

About Gilles Vigneault

Gilles Vigneault is a Canadian singer/songwriter and poet whose career spans several decades, peaking in popularity during the mid- to late '60s and '70s. Born on October 27, 1928, in Natashquan, Quebec, he got his start as a poet, publishing the poetry collection Étraves in 1959. He began establishing himself as a songwriter around this same time, most notably with the song "Jos Monferrand," which was covered by Jacques Labrecque in 1959. A few years later, he made his eponymous full-length album debut with Gilles Vigneault (1962). Shortly thereafter, he scored one of the greatest hits of his career with "Mon Pays." Written in 1964 and featured on the soundtrack of the film La Neige a Fondu sur la Manicouagan (1965), "Mon Pays" is an ode to Quebec that has since become an anthem. Vigneault won awards at a couple different song festivals in 1965 with "Mon Pays," and its success opened many doors for the singer/songwriter, who began performing concerts not only throughout Canada but also in Europe, as documented on the live albums Gilles Vigneault Enregistré à Paris (1966) and Musicorama: Olympia 1969 (1969). During the '70s, he released numerous albums and participated in several historic events, most notably the Superfrancofête festival in Quebec City on August 13, 1974, which drew over 100,000 people to a supergroup performance featuring Vigneault, Félix Leclerc, and Robert Charlebois. The trio's performance was subsequently released on album as J'ai Vu le Loup, le Renard, le Lion (1974) and features memorable performances of "Mon Pays," "Le Marche du Président," and "Quand les Hommes Vivront d'Amour." Vigneault's career waned in the '80s, when he left Canada for France on account of his disappointment over the defeat of the 1980 Quebec referendum. He nonetheless remained sporadically active, releasing albums well into the next century. ~ Jason Birchmeier

Natashquan, Quebec, Canada
October 27, 1928

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