With Nice baie des anges (Nice, bay of angels), one of his greatest hits, he offered a magnificent tribute to the Côte d’Azur of the 1950s. Dick Rivers, whose real name is Hervé Forneri, passed away yesterday on April 24th at 74 years old. He was a major figure in the advent of French rock ‘n’ roll.
Before becoming “Dick,” an outstanding crooner with a real air of Johnny Cash, this unique son of a butcher spent his childhood in Nice. Happy memories for a boy with one obsession: to sing like Elvis, his personal “god.” Hervé Forneri was barely 15 years old when he founded the group Les Chats Sauvages. With a black jacket and cowboy boots, the myth known as Dick Rivers was born. With Twist à Saint-Tropez, he gained notoriety and published successive albums and successes during the 60s. No doubt: on the rock ‘n’ roll roadmap, Dick Rivers is found cruising alongside Johnny Hallyday and Eddy Mitchell,
An idol to the end
In the 1970s, Dick Rivers tried his hand at country and then collaborated with Alain Bashung on three albums before singing Nice Baie des Anges in 1984, one of his greatest hits. “Si t’avais connu, la Miss Baie des Anges à moitié nue, les voitures de sport sur les avenues… Tu regretterais tout ça” he sings. Benjamin Biolay, Matthieu Chedid, Mickey 3D, and Julien Doré… So many artists who admired the crooner have worked on his latest albums, including the self-titled Dick Rivers, released in 2006.
His last appearances on stage took place in 2018 during the Age tendre tour, which made stops throughout France and featured several other stars from the 1960s and 1970s. In the coming days, the mayor of Nice will pay a tribute to this eternal rock legend.
*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.