Claude Dubois | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Claude Dubois

Claude (André) Dubois. Singer-songwriter, born Montréal 24 Apr 1947.

Dubois, Claude

Claude (André) Dubois. Singer-songwriter, born Montréal 24 Apr 1947.

Early Career and Travels

Claude Dubois began his career at 12 in the country-western band Les Montagnards, with whom he recorded the LP Claude Dubois et ses montagnards in 1959. At the age of 17, he became the favourite artist at a new boîte à chanson in Montréal: Le Patriote. The following year his first solo album, entitled Claude Dubois, included the hits 'J'ai souvenir encore' and 'Ma petite vie'. With this recording he won the special jury prize from the Festival du disque. In 1966, along with such artists as Georges Dor, Claude Gauthier, Donald Lautrec, Gilles Vigneault and Raymond Lévesque, he performed his songs at the Place des Arts (where he returned in 1973, 1975 and 1976).

In 1967, he won the Renée-Claude trophy for 'discovery of the year' from Le Patriote de Montréal. At Expo 67, he performed in the Youth Pavilion and his song 'Cerveau gelé' served as the theme for a documentary film on Montréal. That year he performed in recital at the Comédie-Canadienne with Gilles Vigneault, and in France for the broadcast 'La Fine fleur de la chanson' on radio ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française). He then travelled widely throughout the world until 1972. Meanwhile, Dubois cut some singles including the smash hit 'Comme un million de gens' recorded in Paris in 1969. Like Robert Charlebois and Jean-Pierre Ferland, this period of his career was marked by the passage from chansonnier to a more rock-oriented aesthetic.

Growing Success

The album Claude Dubois (July 1972), marked his return to Québec and included the song 'Le Labrador'. In May 1973, Claude Dubois released the LP Touchez Dubois, which contained some of his greatest hits: 'Femmes de rêve', 'La Vie à la semaine' and 'Bébé Jajou Latoune'. In 1974, the album Claude Dubois introduced the songs 'En voyage' and 'L'Infidèle'. He then sang at the Université de Montréal's Centre Sportif (CEPSUM) with Diane Dufresne and Offenbach, and founded les Éditions du Son (later Les Éditions Claude Dubois). He hosted the programs "Décibels" on SRC television (1973) and "Showbizz" on Télé-Métropole, CFTM-TV (1975-76). His LP Mellow Reggae, recorded (1976-77) in Montréal, Paris, London and Miami, reflected Dubois's growing interest in music of the Antilles. In 1978, he founded the record label Pingouin and recorded Fable d'espace, which presented 'Chasse-galerie' and 'Au bout des doigts'. Also in 1978, he performed "Dubois deboutte" at the Théâtre St-Denis, in Montréal.

In Paris, he played the role of Zéro Janvier in the rock opera Starmania, and recorded 'Le Blues du businessman' (Kébec-Frog KF-8001/KF-8002), by Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon, which was a resounding hit in France and Québec. In addition, he won the Félix Award for best male performer at the first ADISQ gala in 1979.

Setbacks and Comebacks

In 1981, Claude Dubois was arrested for drug possession and spent a year in the Le Portage detoxification centre.

He made a strong comeback in 1982 with an LP with the ironic title Sortie Dubois which sold more than 200,000 copies. This album contained, among others, the hits 'Plein de tendresse' and 'Femmes ou filles'. That same year, he put out the single 'Femme de société' with Léo Kay. He sang at the Montréal Forum and at the Colisée in Québec City with the musicians from UZEB, directed by François Cousineau. Also in 1982, he won five Félix awards: best male performer; best song ('Plein de tendresse'); best show; best singer-songwriter album; and best album overall. The following year, he again won the Félix Award for best male performer. The new album Implosif sold 50,000 copies before its official release. In 1983, Dubois also took part in the variety show Station Soleil, hosted by Jean-Pierre Ferland on Radio-Québec. In 1984, Dubois sang at Montréal's Vieux-Port, and in 1985, the song 'Un chanteur chante' became the title of a Québec tour. That same year, Dubois joined Northern Lights - a collective of Anglo-Canadian and Québécois artists - to record "Tears Are Not Enough".

In 1986, he was again chosen best male performer by ADISQ. In 1989, he again took on his role in Starmania for a series of performances in Paris.

In 1991 the tribute La Fête à Claude Dubois was presented as part of the Francofolies de Montréal. The next year, Dubois sang alongside Robert Charlebois for more than 50,000 spectators at Place d'Youville for the closing of the twenty-fifth Festival d'été de Québec (Québec City Summer Festival). In 1996, he launched the album Gelsonima.

In 1998, the singer suffered a stroke while beginning a series of concerts at the Montréal Casino. He performed there again in 2000 and 2002. In July 2006, the Festival d'été de Québec presented a show with Dubois before an audience of 100,000. In May 2007, the hit album Duos Dubois was produced. Collaborating artists were Céline Dion, Francis Cabrel, Gilles Vigneault, Richard Desjardins, Patrick Bruel, Isabelle Boulay, Corneille, Garou, Lynda Lemay, Marilou, Natasha St-Pier, Éric Lapointe and impersonator André-Philippe Gagnon. This project earned Claude Dubois the Félix for best pop album.

In 2008, Claude Dubois was named to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 2009 he undertook a Québec tour entitled Dubois Revu Incorrigible. In 2013 the artist continued to perform including at festivals Le FestiBlues International de Montréal , Les Francofolies de Montréal (2012) and concerts in Montréal and regions, and the Outaouis.

Further Reading