Ginette Reno | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Ginette Reno

Reno made the first of many appearances at the Place des Arts (PDA) in 1965 and the National Arts Centre (NAC) in 1969, and performed at the Comédie-Canadienne in 1968 and 1969 and at the Grand Théâtre de Québec in 1974 and 1976.

Reno, Ginette

 Ginette Reno (b Raynault). Singer, b Montreal 28 Apr 1946. At 14 Ginette Reno began participating in amateur contests, including 'Les Découvertes de Jean Simon' at the Café de l'Est in Montreal, where she was ranked first. She performed 1960-4 in nightclubs and radio and TV studios throughout Quebec and took singing lessons with Roger Larivière. In 1961 her first single, 'Non papa' and 'J'aime Guy' for Apex (followed by 'Roger'), gained her immediate popular acclaim. Singing with equal ease in English and French, she patterned her career on the US show-business tradition. She was called a 'discovery' in the 1964 Gala des artistes and scored a tremendous hit that year with 'Tu vivras toujours dans mon coeur.' Her repertoire subsequently consisted mainly of sentimental ballads.

Reno made the first of many appearances at the Place des Arts (PDA) in 1965 and the National Arts Centre (NAC) in 1969, and performed at the Comédie-Canadienne in 1968 and 1969 and at the Grand Théâtre de Québec in 1974 and 1976. At the Olympia in Paris, she took part with other Quebec artists in the revues 'Vive le Québec' (1967) and 'Musicorama' (1968). The Quebec public voted her Miss Radio-Television in 1968, and she was awarded a trophy at the MIDEM festival in Cannes that year. She also performed at the Garden of Stars at Expo 67 and won three trophies at the Montreal Festival du disque (most popular singer, strongest commercial value, and best LP). She performed in concerts with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the PDA and the NAC in 1969. In 1969 Reno signed a contract with Decca and gave two shows on BBC TV.

Career 1970-89

Ginette Reno returned to London in January 1970 to sing at the Savoy Theatre, and in 1971 to host a series of programs with the singer Roger Whittaker. She had a hit in English Canada with "Beautiful Second Hand Man," which reached No. 6 on the CHUM chart in Nov 1970. In 1972 she won first prize for performance at the Tokyo International Song Festival with Les Reed's 'I Can't Let You Walk Out of My Life.' She received a Juno Award for best Canadian singer in 1970 and for best female vocalist 1972-3. While continuing to pursue her career in Quebec, she lived in Los Angeles 1974-6, studying at Lee Strasberg's studio of dramatic art.

With Jean-Pierre Ferland in 1974 she recorded 'T'es mon amour, t'es ma maîtresse,' another hit. On CBC TV she participated in a number of programs, including 'Bonjour Canada' (1970), 'Spécial Ginette Reno' (1972), 'Gershwin 76,' 'Vingt-cinq ans ensemble' (1977), and 'Superstar' (1978 and 1979). She toured various parts of Canada in 1968 and 1970 and in Quebec in 1969, 1970, and 1976 and also sang in the US, where she appeared on the Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Dinah Shore TV shows in 1978. In 1977 she established her own record company, Melon-Miel. Her LP Je ne suis qu'une chanson (1979) became her greatest hit and one of the greatest in Quebec (387,000 copies sold).

Ginette Reno won the Félix awards for pop LP, LP with the most sales, and female performer of 1980. In 1981 she co-hosted the Juno Awards show with Frank Mills. Numerous tours and several trips to France followed (although she never was successful there). She hosted the French program 'Champs-Élysées,' recorded in Quebec with Michel Drucker (1986); and sang with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra at the Grand Théâtre (1987). At the Métrostar gala in 1987, she won awards for the public's most loved star and singer of the year. After the release of the LP Ne m'en veut pas, she travelled across Quebec with the show La Prochaine fois que j'aurai 20 ans.

Acting and Recordings, 1990 - Present

Ginette Reno's career took a turn when she made her film debut in Jean-Claude Lauzon's Léolo (1991). She continued acting in 1994 with the television mini-series Million Dollar Babies/Les jumelles Dionne, and played the main character in the Franco-Canadian series Une voix en or in 1997. Most recently, Reno has honed her comedic talents in C't'à ton tour Laura Cadieux (1998), Mambo Italiano (2003), and Le secret de ma mère (2006). Between acting stints, Reno continued to record, winning an ADISQ Album of the Year in 1992 for L'essentiel and in 1996 for La Chanteuse, on which she collaborated with Luc Plamondon. She received the Félix Hommage in 1995. In 1998, Reno recorded Love Is All, her first English album since 1979. She followed this with an English Christmas album, The First Noel, and its French counterpart, Un grand noël d'amour (2000). By the year 2000, Ginette Reno had been lauded as a major influence for Quebec artists, including international star Céline Dion. Reno's 8-CD career retrospective was released in 2004. Reno's next album, Fais-moi la tendresse (2009), won ADISQ's Popular Album of the Year. Its title single was named Popular Song of the Year, and Reno also won the Félix as Female Artist of the Year.


The popularity of this singer has not diminished over the years. After Reno's 1977 recital at the PDA, Pierre Beaulieu wrote: 'What a Colossus of the stage, what a magnificent performer, what a voice, what soul, what warmth she radiates... Ginette Reno is music pure and simple, music with no nationality, no boundaries, ageless, beyond time. Ginette Reno is the soul of music, a succession of notes that she rethinks, reworks, to which she gives new life and finally delivers to us through her own view of things, her warmth, her voice and her incredible talent' (Montreal La Presse, 1 Jun 1977). Mireille Simard wrote: 'All somehow rests on that special timbre that a single breath is sufficient to unleash... She is there in her natural state, with a purity of unreal boundaries' (Montreal Le Devoir, 9 Apr 1984).

'Les Yeux fermés,' 'Aimez-le si fort,' 'La Dernière Valse,' 'Reste auprès de moi,' and 'Le Sable et la mer' may rank among her greatest hits, along with 'À ma manière' and 'Je ne suis qu'une chanson,' composed for her by Diane Juster. Reno's awards are a testament to her accomplishments: she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada (1982), received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (1999) and a star on Canada's Walk of Fame (2000), and was named a Knight of the Order of Quebec (2004). Ginette Reno was nominated for the 2010 Juno Fan Choice Award.

Select Discography

Ginette Reno en spectacle au Casa Loma. 1966. Apex ALF-1595

Quelqu'un à aimer. 1967. Apex ALF-71597

Les Grands succès d'une grande vedette, Ginette Reno. 1968. Apex ALF-71802

Ginette Reno. 1969. Grand Prix GPS-3301

Ginette Reno à la Comédie-Canadienne 69. 1969. Grand Prix GPS-3304

Ginette Reno. 1969. Parrot PAS-71032

Beautiful Second Hand Man. 1970. Parrot PAS-71045

Touching Me, Touching You. 1971. Parrot PAS-71058

Aimez-le si fort. 1971. Grand Prix GPS-3310

Ginette Reno à la Comédie-Canadienne. 1971. Grand Prix GPS-1399

Ombre et soleil. Ca 1973. Grand Prix GPS-3314

Aimons-nous. 1974. Trans-World TWK-6507

En direct de la Place des arts. 1974. Trans-World International TWI-8000

The Best of Ginette Reno. 1975. Parrot PAS-71074

Ce que j'ai de plus beau. 1977. Melon-Miel MM-501

Trying to Find a Way. 1979. Honey-Dew HD-1000

Je ne suis qu'une chanson. 1979. Melon-Miel MM-502

Souvenirs tendres. 1984. Melon-Miel MM-506 (LP)

Ginette Reno. 1985. Melon-Miel MM-507 (LP)

Si ça vous chante/De plus en plus fragile. 1986. Melon-Miel MM-508-2 (LP)

Ne m'en veut pas. 1988. Melon-Miel MM-509 (LP)

Ma vie en chanson. 1990. Melon-Miel MM-510 (CD)

L'Essentiel. 1991. Melon-Miel MM-511 (CD)

Versions Reno. 1995. Melon-Miel MM-513 (CD)

La Chanteuse. 1997. Melon-Miel MMCD-514

Love Is All. 1998. Honey Dew ACD-1513

Un peu plus haut - le nouveau spectacle. 1999. Melon-Miel MMCD-515

Un grand noël d'amour. 2000. Melon-Miel MMCD-516

The First Noel. 2000. Melon-Miel MMCD-517

Mademoiselle Reno (1. Tu vivras toujours, 2. T'es mon amour), Melon-Miel, 2004, MM-518 (CD box set)

Moi c'est Ginette (3. Á ma manière, 4. L'essentiel), Melon-Miel, 2004, MM-519 (CD box set)

Les grands soirs (5. Ma mère chantait toujours, 6. Léolo), Melon-Miel, 2004, MM-520 (CD box set)

Vocally Yours (7. Beautiful Second Hand Man, 8. Somewhere), Melon-Miel, 2004, MM-521 (CD box set)

Fais-moi la tendresse. 2009. Melon-Miel MMCD 524

Further Reading