Louis Philippe (musician)

Louis Philippe (musician)

Infobox Writer

imagesize = 150px
name = Louis Philippe
caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = June 24, 1959
birthplace = Yvetot, France
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = Musician
nationality = French
period = 1984-present
genre = indiepop
subject =
movement =
notableworks =
influences = Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, Maurice Ravel, The Zombies, Duke Ellington
influenced =
website = http://www.louisphilippe.co.uk

Louis Philippe ("real name: Philippe Auclair") is a London-based French singer, songwriter, arranger and producer who has been active from the mid-80's onwards. His name is associated with the short-lived, but very influential "él" record label; since this label's demise (1989), he has grown into one of the 'elder statesmen' of indiepop.

olo career

Born in 1959, he first recorded for Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule, under the names 'The Border Boys' (the 'Tribute' 12" EP, produced by Andy Paley, who'd worked with The Ramones and the Modern Lovers previously), and 'The Arcadians' (one single and one album, 'It's a Mad, Mad World', 1986, later re-released on a variety of labels as 'Let's Pretend'). On the advice of A&R man Mike Alway, Louis Philippe moved to London in late 1986, and soon became one of the major figures of cult indie label "él" Records (1986-1989), a subsidiary of Cherry Red Records for which he recorded five singles and three albums ('Appointment With Venus', 1987; 'Ivory Tower', 1988; 'Yuri Gagarin', 1989). He also appeared in one guise or another - as songwriter, arranger, backing vocalist or instrumentalist - on more than half of all the label's releases. "él", now considered to be one of the most influential labels of its time, was, however, not a commercial success in the UK; but it scored a string of independent hits in Japan, where Louis Philippe (whose 'You Mary You' was "él"'s best-selling single) became an iconic figure for the so-called Shibuya-kei, or 'Shibuya Sound'.

Following the demise of "él" in 1989, he turned to Japan to pursue his career, with the support of celebrity fans such as Cornelius. A number of albums followed, all of them released on the Trattoria label: 'Rainfall', 1991; 'Jean Renoir', 1992, both of them recorded with multi-instrumentalist Dean Brodrick; 'Delta Kiss', 1993; 'Sunshine', produced by Bertrand Burgalat, 1994; 'Jackie Girl', 1996, the first of his records to feature XTC guitarist Dave Gregory; 'Azure', recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and 'Nusch', a collection of Francis Poulenc mélodies, 1999. All these albums were conceived and realised with the help of long-time collaborator, pianist and double-bassist Danny Manners. Trattoria's help enabled him to find licenses for these records, first in France, Britain and Spain, then in the USA, where he'd assembled a limited but devoted fanbase. These critically well-received records consolidated his 'cult' status in the indiepop world; a couple of them charted: 'L'Hiver te va bien' reached the Top 30 in France in 1994, while 'She Means Everything To Me' reached the no.1 spot on the Campus Radios Charts in the USA in 1998, following an appearance at New York's CMJ Music Marathon. However, crossover success still proved, and proves elusive, despite the accessibility of his music and the regard he's held in among pop connoisseurs.


Louis Philippe has enjoyed a parallel career as an arranger, producer and instrumentalist since the late 80's. The artists he's worked with, or for, include Valerie Lemercier, April March, P.J. Proby, Martin Newell, Sean O'Hagan of The High Llamas, Matilde Santing, Towa Tei, Nina Morato, Cinnamon, Laïla Amezian, La Buena Vida, The Clientele and many others. A collaboration of note was the album '9th & 13th' (Tricatel, 2001), in which he teamed up with Danny Manners and novelist Jonathan Coe, to produce musical settings for the latter's writings. Jonathan Coe, who'd contributed the sleevenotes to 'Azure', and had used a verse of his song 'Yuri Gagarin' as an epigraph for his best-seller 'What a carve up!', has also written a number of lyrics for him since 'My Favourite Part of You' (2002).

Recent Projects

Louis Philippe has lately been working with ex-Young Marble Giants leader Stuart Moxham, with whom he regularly plays live, and now runs his own record label, Wonder Records, in London. His latest releases include 'My Favourite Part of You' (2002) and 'The Wonder of it All' (2004). A live double-album was released in February 2007, followed by a new studio album, entitled 'An Unknown Spring', in May of the same year.

Other Activities

Louis Philippe is also well-known in his native country (under his real name Philippe Auclair) as a football journalist. He has held the position of England correspondent for France Football magazine since 1999 and fulfils a similar role for news and sports radio RMC Info. He currently appears as French football analyst on Setanta Sports News channel in England, and can be heard regularly on TalkSPORT radio in England and BBC Scotland. He also wrote a political essay, Le Royaume enchante de Tony Blair (Fayard, 2006), and was one of the main contibutors to the best-selling 'Dictionnaire du Rock' which was published by Robert Laffont in 2001.

External links

* [http://www.louisphilippe.co.uk/ Louis Philippe Official website]
* [http://www.louisphilippe.co.uk/interviews/interviews.html Louis Philippe Interviews]

NAME= Philippe, Louis
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Auclair, Philippe
SHORT DESCRIPTION= French musician
DATE OF BIRTH= June 24, 1959
PLACE OF BIRTH= Yvetot, France

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