Cléo

After making a name for herself as half of duo Cédric et Cléo, French singer Cléo went on to record some fab tunes with help from both Antoine and Les Problèmes. 

She was born Chantal Rousselot. Her big break came when she was asked to replace the female half of a duo planned for Richard Fontaine.

The result was Cédric et Cléo, and the pair released an EP, Adam et Ève, on the Vogue label in 1966. Fontaine himself sang on just one of the four songs on the EP – the male voice on the remainder was actually that of Gérard Rinaldi, who had written one of the songs and who also sang with Les Problèmes (the group that later became known as Les Charlots).

Cédric et Cléo promoted their record on a tour of France, as support act for Antoine. The pair would go on to issue two more EPs that year, Chaque fois qu’une fille passe and Rien à faire, rien à dire.

Interest in Cléo led to the chance to go solo.

Les fauves became the lead track of her first EP. The release is perhaps better known for Et toi, et moi, et soie, which had been written by established star Jacques Dutronc as a twist on his own Et moi, et moi, et moi. Madame la terre (et ron, et ron), also included on Cléo’s EP, has become a fan favourite as well.

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir, mes soeurs became the lead track of a second EP. Issued in 1967, it also included Les “bouaïtes”, which had been written for the singer by Gérard Rinaldi’s group, Les Problèmes.

Both these EPs have become highly prized amongst fans of femme pop.

A third EP, La standardiste, and an album, entitled simply Cléo, were issued later in 1967. The LP, essentially, acted as a kind of greatest hits compilation.

The following year saw the release of a final EP. The release led with A mes bottes, but is perhaps more interesting for On court, which Cléo had penned. Un dur au coeur tendre, also included on the EP, was written by Herbert Léonard, who Cléo went on to marry.

Cléo quit the music business after its release and is said to be working in tourism these days. However, her daughter, Éléa, took up her musical mantle, and in 2003 she issued Veux-tu me dire, a duet with her father, Herbert Léonard.

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