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1941-2022 | The mauve poem by Marcel Lefebvre

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In my column on Jean Lapointe, published a few days ago, I told you about Marcel Lefebvre. And for good reason, this lyricist wrote “sound words” long before the profession of songwriting was recognized by the music industry.


However, I was far from suspecting that this poet of various arts (he was also a painter, director – he signed three screenplays, including that of Mustang –, designer, director and author of jingles) will join the one with whom he created nearly 120 songs.

A few months ago, one day in April, Marcel Lefebvre welcomed me into his home. Generous, affable, talkative, he told me about his life with a pride he didn’t try to hide. First it was his mother, a woman he loved deeply and who gave him a taste for music and painting.

Because young, Marcel Lefebvre had a voice like Gérard Barbeau (for the little ones, little Gérard was the René Simard of the 1950s and was the star of the film The nightingale and the bells). On a guitar purchased from Eaton for $14, the teenager Marcel has become performs his first songs. “We all wanted to become the next Félix Leclerc. »

But since he generates more sweat than applause during his shows, he figured he should just write songs for other people. It was with Marc Gélinas that he made his debut as an author. “He was an ‘event’ singer. So I wrote to him The Expos are here. We wanted to remove the American theme pick me up Out for the ball game. »

The advertising designers then got their hands on his collar. This is how he creates commercial anthems that are now part of our collective imagination: Laura Secord Small puddingsand he. My bikini, my toothbrushit’s him too.

We note that Marcel Lefebvre has mastered the art of pouring words into melodies (the song The sand and the sea with Ginette Reno and Jacques Boulanger is a superb example), what Stéphane Venne calls “the banknote”. Thanks to producers Yvan Dufresne and Pierre Nolès, he turned American hits into Quebec songs for $25 a lyric.

“My name didn’t appear on the disc, so I had no copyright. But I loved this job so much that I was ready for anything, ”says the man who is currently pursuing his philosophy studies.

During our meeting, his collaboration with Diane Dufresne was discussed at length. Because before Luc Plamondon entered the singer’s life, Marcel Lefebvre was the poet of “The blonde by François Cousineau”. “I wrote for everyone, because at the time I was the only cursed lyricist. »

With François Cousineau, Marcel Lefebvre does One day my love will comemovie theme song The initiation, Diane Dufresne’s first commercial success. “I took this text to François and told him that it had to be heard by a woman. He added that his girlfriend was in another room of the apartment. He didn’t know the song and sang it beautifully. »

Then there will be he will love me, If I were the sun, A flower in the snow (from the movie human love), children of heaven (from the movie seven times a day) and many others.

At the end of 1971, Luc Plamondon enters the life of Diane Dufresne and François Cousineau. The trio begins work on the album Wait, I’m coming. Before leaving discreetly, Marcel Lefebvre leaves the text of Buzzone of the craziest songs on this record.

Diane knew where she wanted to go. She explained it to Luc, but not to me. However, I can say that I was the first to detect her true nature with Buzz. There is an appointment I missed with her and it saddens me.

Marcel Lefebvre, in an interview, last April

When, in the mid-80s, Diane Dufresne and Luc Plamondon agreed on a professional divorce, the singer invited Marcel Lefebvre to the restaurant. “Diane came with flowers. She was her way of telling me that she had enjoyed the years in my company. »

During our conversation, of course, we returned to the famous event held in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in September 1984 during the visit of Pope John Paul II. Marcel Lefebvre is not only the author of the song A dovesung by Céline Dion, but also the man who staged this grandiose show which brought together 60,000 young people.

“We had to prepare it during the summer. But in the summer the young people are on vacation. How to join them? We made announcements on the radio and in cinemas. I concluded my introductions by telling them that at the end of the show they would all be crying. »

The organizers manage to bring together nearly 4,000 young people to perform the choreographies, including one who has to reconstruct a huge dove while Céline sings her song. “The Stadio Olimpico, you can’t have it every day. We were rehearsing at Place des Arts, 100 doves at a time. »

Marcel Lefebvre confided in me that he never managed to see the complete dove before the result we know. “When we finally got to the stadium, it started raining non-stop. The electrical cables were submerged in water. We tried little by little at the Vélodrome. »

On the day of the event, Marcel Lefebvre experienced the greatest stress of his life (he entered the hospital the next day with an angina attack). “I remember, I was at the top of the stadium with the team. They tell me the pope is coming. Suddenly the sun comes out. The youths were asked if they wanted to dance barefoot, as there was water everywhere. The dove explained itself. I never shivered so for life. I cried, I cried…”

I left Marcel Lefebvre with a light heart, because I had the feeling that I had met a man who played an important role in the history of our song. This unobtrusive poet deserves our attention. And his legacy.

After my meeting with the gentleman, I put on headphones and went to mine playlist “blue songs”. I insisted If I were the sun. Diane Dufresne’s voice was heard. Marcel Lefebvre’s simple, mauve poetry then did her job.

It was then that someone told Spring it was her turn to enter the scene.

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