Music

“I don’t like tributes in general, it’s close to an epitaph”, confides Michel Polnareff, celebrated on France 2

“I don’t like tributes in general, it’s close to an epitaph”, confides Michel Polnareff, celebrated on France 2

“They talk to me about returning, but I never left you. Distance has made you and me so close,” says Michel Polnareff78 years old, opening The evening event that devotes to him France 2 this Tuesday, from 9:10 p.m. A special program during which the man nicknamed “The Admiral” by his fans is pampered and honored by an audience of artists, from Pomme to Patrick Bruel passing by Nolwenn Leroy and Vincent Delerm who came to take back the most famous titles of his repertoire. A way of saying that the man with the emblematic dark glasses, a nightmare of Pompidouan France, has survived the decades and that, although settled in the United States, he has a special place in the hearts of France. He entrusts to 20 minutes found it “upsetting”.

When France 2 offered you this tribute show, did it scare or please you?

A mixture of both. I like to do things that project into the future. When we do Polnareff sings Polnareff [sur cet album sorti mi-novembre, il reprend douze de ses tubes en piano-voix]it is true that we combine the past and the future with the present. I don’t like tributes in general, because it can be closer to an epitaph and not more funerals, especially when I’m still alive (laughs). But there I was very impressed by the performances of the guests of the show.

What does it mean to you to see artists in their twenties or thirties singing your songs?

I found this kind of respect fantastic. I was very moved, moved, enormously touched. It’s upsetting. I thought to myself, “Am I still here? “I have gone through the years, with great luck because, six years ago I almost passed [il avait été hospitalisé pour une embolie pulmonaire et son pronostic vital fut un temps engagé].

Many artists have covered your songs throughout your career, has it always made you happy?

I know there are people who don’t like to be taken back but often they aren’t, so that’s not a problem. I love to see someone else’s vision, be it My regrets by Indochina, The doll that says no by Mylène Farmer with Khaled or the version by Scott McKenzie with the Mamas and Papas. A lot of rappers took me back too. For me, it’s always a pleasure to be picked up by others who put their own talent into it.

And when, in the special program of France 2, Aurélie Saada resumes “I am a man”, what do you think?

There was a lot of applause on set and I couldn’t place my sentence. I wanted to tell him: “If you’re a man, it’s when you want! (laughs). It was very fun. You still need a dose of humor in a serious thing.

Are there any artists with whom you find affiliation? Current artists who would be in the continuity of your state of mind?

No, I think they are a continuation of their domain. Singing a song that belongs to me is not necessarily a reflection of their own career. In the show, I was very impressed by Camille Lellouche, she did something extraordinary, she is a performer that I find really fabulous. I was also impressed by Anne Sila and Bilal Hassani which was great.

Bilal Hassani also thanked you for the public support you gave him in 2019 when he was the target of criticism and hate speech? Was it important to you?

I think it was important to him. When I started in this profession, they came to murder me on the look, the thing, the thing. So I kind of feel what he can feel about being different. He is a good showman, someone generous, who knows how to give as much as he knows how to take.

Today, many artists speak of you as an icon or a living myth. Has time repaired the misunderstandings of which you were a victim when you started out?

It would be time (laughs). Catherine Ringer, who did a terrific version of Love mesays that “justice is done”. There was a small change in the collective unconscious which ended up saying to itself “Damn, the guy was still nice. And then, you have to see what he went through…” I think everyone is happy that I am here.

For you, it’s not “it was better before” but “it’s better now”?

No, there are times good, others less. I managed to cross them and that’s nice.

Your relationship with France has long been chaotic and painful. What about today ?

I’m here and everything is fine!

Are the scars healed?

You know, it’s like a plate. If you break it and stick it back together, there will still be the crack in the middle. We have to survive, even if we are two sides of the plate.

For 2023, what can we wish you?

I already wish a happy birthday to my son Louka, who will be 12 years old and whom I adore. And of course the return on stage [il lancera sa tournée le 24 mai à Nice] to see the sailors again, all those who have accompanied me and are of exemplary loyalty.

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