Maxime Le Forestier’s Life: A Rollercoaster of Soaring Highs and Deep Lows

Maxime Le Forestier’s Life: A Rollercoaster of Soaring Highs and Deep Lows

Maxime Le Forestier guest on Thierry Ardisson’s show, “Bains de midnight”.


Maxime Le Forestier, the singer of San Francisco, is turning 75 this Saturday. Reflecting back to 1988, he had a career filled with stunning successes as well as challenging periods of stagnation.

Le Forestier was a prominent figure of the anarchist left in the 1970s, with songs like Skydiver, Fontenay with roses, and The city has princes. Over the years, his music shifted towards more mainstream variety, with hits like “Born Somewhere” and “On the Road”. Despite this shift, Le Forestier contends that he has not abandoned his youthful ideals, stating, “I didn’t change the world but I don’t think the world changed me much. I’m still a little utopian, a little crazy and on cloud nine.”

Le Forestier’s career has seen both extreme highs and lows. His first album Besides, released in 1972 and including the hit San Francisco, sold more than a million copies. However, the subsequent years proved to be more challenging with fewer hits, less television appearances, and reduced audience turnouts.

“A mountebank, not a thinker”

When asked how he found motivation to continue performing when the rooms were half empty, Le Forestier responded, “It’s a buzzkill. But we must sing for those who are there. We cannot make those who came pay for the fact that the other half of the room did not come.” He also admitted to being less anti-militarist and slightly less anti-nuclear in 1988.

Le Forestier continues to be a fighter and refuses to consider himself defeated easily. In 1987, he recorded “Born somewhere”, a massive hit which won a Victoire de la Musique. Despite his success, he has faced criticism for compromising his ideals and participating in comedic skits, such as disguising himself as Yves Mourousi in a Patrick Sébastien show. In response to these criticisms, he stated, “I hope the audience had a laugh. I always said that I was an acrobat, not a thinker or a philosopher, I am not ashamed. I’m ready to do it again and I’m ready to dress up as Mireille Mathieu.”

Despite these challenges, Le Forestier has continued to find success with hit songs such as “Passer ma route”, successful cover albums by Georges Brassens and ingenious collaborations with Julien Clerc (“Doubleenfance”).

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