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Background information
Birth name Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan
Born (1952-05-11) 11 May 1952
Origin Paris
Genres Chanson, Country, Pop, Rock
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter, actor
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1975–present
Labels Polydor (1975–1983)
Website .fr.renaud-lesitewww

Renaud Pierre Manuel Séchan, known as Renaud (French: ; born 11 May 1952), is a popular French singer, songwriter and actor. His characteristically 'broken' voice makes for a very distinctive vocal style. Several of his songs are popular classics in France, including the sea tale "Dès que le vent soufflera", the irreverent "Mistral gagnant". However, with the exception of a recording of "Miss Maggie" in English[1] and a franglais recording of "It is not because you are", his work is almost unknown outside the French-speaking world.


  • Early work 1
  • Middle period 2
  • Resurgence 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Discography 5
    • Studio albums 5.1
    • Live albums 5.2
    • Compilations 5.3
    • Singles 5.4
  • Films 6
  • Awards 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early work

Fresh out of school, Renaud was determined to become an actor. By chance he met the actor Patrick Dewaere and was invited to join the company of the comedy theatre Café de la Gare, which had recently been founded by Patrick Dewaere, Coluche, and Miou-Miou.

His early work is characterized by a volatile temperament, innovative use of French, and edgy, dark, left-wing social and political themes. Raised in an educated milieu, the son of an intellectual, Renaud adopted the looks and attitude of working-class youth in the 1970s, and reflected this in his lyrics. A recurrent theme is his disgust for the average French people with petit-bourgeois preoccupations and right-wing leanings (see beauf). His music focuses on the disparity between classes, the abuse of political power, overbearing authority and disgust for the military, with rare glimpses of tenderness for his fellow humans, the planet earth, and art.

Middle period

In 1985, in a concert in Moscow all the spectators left the concert hall when he sang "Déserteur". In the later 1980s and 1990s, Renaud's work was distinguished by "softer" subjects such as his wife (later ex-wife) Dominique, his daughter Lolita and his friends, as well as the late comedian and singer Coluche for whom he wrote the tribute "Putain de camion" ("Bloody Lorry") after Coluche's death in a road accident. He has also ventured into regional music and language, such as the language of Marseille in La Belle de Mai, the north with Renaud cante el' Nord and even Corsican polyphonics in "Lolito lolita".

In 1992, he financially helped resurrect the defunct satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and wrote a column titled Renaud bille en tête for a couple of years. His column appeared again in 1995-1996, retitled Envoyé spécial chez moi. In 2006, he published Les Bobos, as a satire on the Parisian lower bourgeoisie.

In 1993, he also played the leading part of Étienne Lantier in the film Germinal directed by Claude Berri


After an unproductive period marked by alcohol addiction, he made a very significant comeback with his 2002 album Boucan d'enfer. That album's iconic hit was "Manhattan-Kaboul", a powerful duo with Axelle Red which tackled current issues by drawing a parallel between a victim of the 9-11 attacks in New York and an Afghan girl, both victims of a war they don't understand.

In 2009 Renaud released Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise his long awaited album of classic Irish balads. Produced by ex-Boomtown Rats bassist Pete Briquette, the album was commercially successful (certified double-platinum in just over a month)[2] but the singer's feeble, often out-of-tune vocals caused some negative reviews.[3]

In 2014, a collective of 15 artists released a tribute album containing 14 tracks covers of his songs under the title La Bande à Renaud.

Personal life

Renaud's father Olivier Séchan was a prize-winning novelist and popular children's writer, born to a Protestant Languedoc family from the Cévennes and Montpellier. He taught German language in a secondary school of Paris. The director Edmond Séchan is his uncle. His grandfather was the famous scholar and Hellenist Louis Séchan, who taught in the Sorbonne. His ancestors were pastors. His mother is the daughter of a coal miner from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Renaud dedicated part of his work to his familial roots, singing traditional songs in the regional picard language and acting in Germinal, a film based on the famous Émile Zola novel, in the part of Étienne Lantier.

In August 2005 Renaud married Romane Serda, the mother of his son Malone. In 2007, he announced to the press his intention to move his family to London, citing a love for British society and expressing disillusionment at the current state of France. In 2009 Renaud's daughter, writer Lolita Séchan, married French acoustic singer-songwriter Renan Luce.[4]

In September 2011, Romane divorced Renaud on the account of his alcoholism problems.


Studio albums

Year Album Peak positions Notes

1996 Renaud chante Brassens (Virgin) 22 10  – Interpretation of songs by Georges Brassens
2002 Boucan d'enfer (Virgin) 1 1 1 Sold over 2,200,000 copies the most successful Renaud album to date
2006 Rouge sang (EMI) 1 1 3
2009 Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise (EMI) 1 4 34

Live albums

Year Album Peak positions Notes

1996 Paris-Province: Aller / Retour (Virgin) 29 32  –
2003 Tournée d'enfer (EMI) 16 38  –
2007 Tournée rouge sang - Paris Bercy + Hexagone (Ceci-Celà) 16 38  –


Year Album Peak positions Notes

1995 Les Introuvables  – 29  – A collection of rarities
Ma compil  – 36  –
85-95  – 6  –
The Meilleur of Renaud 75-85  – 11  –
The Very Meilleur Of Renaud 1975/1995  – 14  –
2000 L'absolutely meilleur of Renaud  – 29  –
2006 Les 100 plus belles Chansons 1975-1983  – 76  –
Les 100 plus belles Chansons 1985-2006  – 2  –
2011 Le plein de super! 31 33  – 3CD Best Of
2012 Intégrale 2012 76 200  –
2014 Les 50 plus belles chansons 57 66  –
Les 100 plus belles chansons 1985-2006 (5 CDs) 185 2  –


Year Single Peak positions Album


1986 "Miss Maggie" 13  –  –  – Mistral gagnant
1991 "Marchand de cailloux" 25  –  –  – Marchand de cailloux
1992 "P'tit voleur" 35  –  –  –
"La ballade nord-irlandaise" 44  –  –  –
2002 "Docteur Renaud, Mister Renard" 23  – 6
 – Boucan d'enfer
(with Axelle Red)
2 34 4 37
2003 "Coeur perdu" 91  – 11
2005 "Anaïs Nin
(Romane Serda feat. Renaud)
12  – 31 61
"Dans la jungle" 31  – 19 64 Rouge sang
2006 "Les bobos" 8  – 16 51
"Arrêter la clope!" 31  – 3
2009 "Vagabonds"  –  – 19
 – Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise
2011 "La liberté en cavale" (Dr. Tom)  –  – 30
2012 "Mistral gagnant" 102  –  –  – Mistral gagnant
2015 "Ta batterie" 35  –  –  –



  • 1993: Traditional music album of the year award for "Renaud cante el' Nord"
  • 2001: Lifetime achievement award
  • 2003: Three awards given for: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year (for Manhattan-Kaboul with Axelle Red)

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ 2009 Sales records
  3. ^ reviews
  4. ^ Lolita & Renan Wedding Photo
  5. ^ a b c d "Renaud discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 

External links

Preceded by
Gérald de Palmas
Victoires de la Musique
Male group or artist of the year

Succeeded by
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