Barbara: The Inner Voice Of France
BBC Radio 3 Sunday 7 April, 19.45
We were the closest of friends for over 20 years--the last time we spoke was when she called to wish us well on our 25th wedding anniversary, one month before she died.
Barbara remains the greatest French singer of them all, equalled only by Piaf. I was honoured to know and work with her--I adapted several of her songs into English.
Charley Marouani and I had always resisted appearing in any programme about her--she was a very private woman, and confided in but a few of us.
When the BBC were making the programme, we insisted upon vetting the guest-list. This is why Georges Moustaki and Roland Romanelli were left out. Sadly, Marie Chaix slipped through the net because she is singer Anne Silvestre's sister--a horrible person who monopolises the situation by persisting in taking about drugs. Barbara did NOT take drugs. She had a serious health problem, and was on medication for this. Neither did we need her to regale us with stories about Barbara's father--our friend said all she needed to about him in 'Nantes'.
With Barbara, it was the songs--and her love of humanity.
The only secret I would impart about her is that, during the last ten years of her life, she raised over £10 million for AIDS and childrens charities.
I think about her every single day of my life. No one has inspired me as much as she, and it was a tremendous honour to have Depardieu play a character based on me in 'Lily Passion'.