Pierre Papadiamandis died at the age of 85. He was the melodist for many hits by his friend, lyricist and singer Eddy Mitchell for almost fifty-five years.
Pierre Papadiamandis is dead! Last November, during an interview with Eddy Mitchell on the occasion of the release of Country Rock, his thirty-ninth album, we asked him if he had ever wanted to write other songs. Why go buy burgers when you have steak at home? he replied, with his usual humor. Before adding: It’s not mine, it’s Paul Newman’s. Unstoppable.
When we work together, he also told us, we are always like children, getting excited. As long as he gives me what I want and I give him what he wants, why change!.
Over 150 songs and twenty-five albums
From album to album, he allows himself only one or two other collaborations, for the opening. Like with Calogero on the last album.
But Pierre Papadiamandis was the composer of his life. It has appeared on nearly every Eddy Mitchell record since Alone, his seventh album, in 1966.
Pierre Papadiamandis & Eddy Mitchell
Mayfair Studio, London, 1989
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Their collaboration had even preceded that, since the French pianist and composer of Greek origin had accompanied Eddy on stage for two years before offering him the melody of I forgot to forget it. It was the debut of more than 150 songs together on some twenty-five albums.
Papadiamandis had also composed That Marianne was pretty for Michel Delpech. He had also worked with Ray Charles, Françoise Hardy, Celine Dion and Grace Jones.
We had hoped to find them in December for a joint interview: star Eddy Mitchell, backstage man Pierre Papadiamandis. But the news was already not good for the singer’s favorite composer, who died Tuesday, March 22 at the age of 85, in a Paris hospital.
Without Pierre Papadiamandis, no Eddy, without Papadiamandis’ notes, no songs by Mitchell. Together, they have written nearly 200 songs and dozens of classics: Couleur mint à l’eau, the Last Session, the Cemetery of the Elephants, M’man. It is impossible to name them all since 1964.
Their meeting dates back to the solo debut of Eddy Mitchell, who had just left the Black Socks and was looking for a pianist for his group. It was my saxophone that introduced me to Pierre Papadiamandis, the singer told us a few months ago.
At the time, rock and him were two different things. Pierre Papadiamandis confirms: I studied classical and jazz, which were my favorite music. But, of all rockers, Eddy was my favorite singer even before I met him, adds the musician of Greek origin, born in Paris and raised in Nogent-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne), who had started playing piano at the age of 5.
Pierre Papadiamandis is my brother
Eddy Mitchell remembers his absolutely sordid dog. A dachshund that used to eat my shirts. His name was Titus. And also that Pierre Papadiamandis was so discreet that it took him two years to come up with a melody. It was I Forgot to Forget, which was our first hit in 1966 and is still my favorite.
There were many more until the final compositions of Eddy Mitchell’s latest album, Country Rock, released at the end of 2021, which includes a tribute to his friend Johnny Hallyday, A little bit of love. The ability of Pierre Papadiamandis to renew himself all the time still amazes me, admits Eddy. The song about Johnny, for example, has a beautiful, simple and touching melody. It took me two years to find the lyrics.
Their common recipe? The music comes first. I create them first and he takes care of the lyrics, summarizes Papadiamandis. We still work the same way today. I need a carrot to write, adds Mitchell. I never have texts in advance. The very cinematographic music of Pierre Papadiamandis brings me images and emotions. I still work on tape, the old fashioned way. The sound is not terrible, but you can move the tape forward or backward.
A work of artisans that has not changed over time like their friendship, intact. Pierre Papadiamandis is my brother, summarizes Eddy. His wife, Anouk, is godmother to my eldest daughter, Maryline. We have always helped each other through difficult times, like my divorce. We never argued.
Pierre Papadiamandis made some infidelities to Eddy to go to work for Michel Delpech (on Que Marianne was pretty), Dick Rivers, Françoise Hardy, Céline Dion, Grace Jones or Ray Charles, but he quickly found his old friend. I never thought of an album without him, concluded Mitchell during our last interview. We always want and need to work. It stimulates us, we do not see the time passing. Without Pierre, I would never have made this career.