top of page
WHO WAS DAVID CHRISTIE ?
English Biography: Actualités
"What's in a name?" Shakespeare's famous rhetorical question from Romeo and Juliet would aptly apply to singer, songwriter, musician and record producer DAVID CHRISTIE who wrote and performed under multiple pseudonyms .
When Jacques Pepino was born in Tarare, Central France, on January 1st, 1948, his future was carved out for him. He would follow in his father's footsteps running the family silk weaving factory.) But the young Pepino knew his destiny would be music .
At 15, he surprised everyone in the small town church when he stepped in last minute to replace the ailing organist for a Sunday mass.
He had taught himself to play keyboards, guitars, bass and drums--hell bent on becoming a star. Still a teenager, the tall, blond, handsome youth made a deal with his parents--if they would let him go to Paris to try his luck in show business promising he would return to work in the silk trade if he failed.
In the 1960s'-many of the younger generation of French rock stars took American-sounding stage names like Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell and Dick Rivers. So, after several unsuccessful singles at 20 Jacques Pepino redubbed himself David Christie, dedicating a song to his favorite film actress Julie Christie, ''JULIE"-which became his first hit record.
The French WRITER'S society, La Sacem, denied Pepino the use of the pseudonym "Christie" so he called himself James Bolden. (James is Jacques in English and his favorite actor was William Holden.) There followed a string of flops, but five years later, in 1973, David Christie scored another major hit winning the French Rose d'Or d'Antibes song festival with "Notre Premier Enfant" dedicated to his newborn daughter Nathalie.
But a year later, his singing career stagnating, he considered "David Christie" a has-been.
To support his young family and finance his home recording studio he took a job as a house record producer at Disques Barclay.
It was 1974. Enter American music publisher, lyricist and record producer Jack Robinson who had recently scored a major hit in America with "DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT."
He tried to show songs for Christie's artists. Rather than listen to songs by other writers Christie had Robinson listen to melodies he had written, saying he wanted a new career as an English language singer. New career--new name--new lyricist. Hearing the melodies Christie played on a piano Robinson agreed on the spot that he would write words to Christie's music.
Taking yet another name the singer embarked on an international career with an album entitled NAPOLEON JONES.
The first single, which he co-signed as F. Richard, "LAZY LOVE" was an airplay hit that spread around Europe.
But more than launching a new artist the album was the jumping off point for a new career as international hit song writer.
Of the ten songs on the album three became international hits.
The first was the Bolden-Robinson song (IF YOU WANT IT) DO IT YOURSELF for Gloria Gaynor around the world in 1975
By January of 1976 Tina Charles was on the U.K. hit parade with their "I LOVE TO LOVE (But My Baby just loves to dance)
which subsequently went to number one in 19 countries around the world that year and sold tens of millions of records
American Marsha Hunt scored a hit in England with their C'EST LA VIE.
From that point on the phone never stopped ringing for songs by the Bolden-Robinson.
They wrote six tunes for Grace Jones including the U.S.A. number one Billboard Dance hit "Do or Die."
They created a U.K. top ten smash for the American girl trio FRANTIQUE with their ''STRUT YOUR FUNKY STUFF," released worldwide on Philadelphia International Records in 1979
In 1980 they scored a number two in France with “NO WAY NO HOW”for Swedish pop star Tommy Nilsson whom they produced in New York.
The pair wrote for Sylvie Vartan, Demis roussos, Carol Douglas, Moriss Albert, Eartha Kitt, and many others then moved on to producing artists.
Record sales of their songs and productions surpassed the 50 million mark.
All was going well except Jacques Pepino's parents complained they never saw him on French television. What was he doing all this time. In 1981 David Christie had a French summer hit, "LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING" from the album they produced together in Munich.
But a local hit wasn't good enough for the singer. So he and Robinson decided to stop providing songs for other singers until David Christie had a major hit of his own
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.
"SADDLE UP" spread like wildfire from England across the Continent selling over 4 millions singles. But having a hit single meant doing TV shows in England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden etc. as well as making the rounds of European discotheques to perform his hit. For the homebody artist it mean leaving his suburban home, his daughter Nathalie, and appearing nightly in clubs.
It meant hotels and trains and planes and taxis and a life style he detested. He couldn't even ride the subway in Paris any more. His taciturn suburban existence vanished studio.
When ''Our Time Has Come," his follow-up single started to take off he did too. Christie sold his Paris region home and moved to Capbreton on the French Atlantic Coast. David Christie re-became Jacques Pepino. The Bolden-Robinson collaboration ended. But after a hiatus of three years the two got back together.
They recorded a remix of Saddle Up adding a rap part: SADDLE UP/ THE RIGHT TRIP
Tina Charles was back on the top of the charts with a remix of "I Love to Love." But musically David wanted to move away from disco. They rerecorded many of their early songs "unplugged" to show another side of the singer/songwriter and explored country rock, funk and pop. They accumulated dozens of recordings, many of them unreleased.
Devastated by the accidental death of his ll-year-old daughter, Julia, David Christie fell into a deep depression. He burned all his master tapes and subsequently took his own life on May 11, 1997. He was 49.
If this multi-million selling songwriter, singer and producer remains one of the most enigmatic French artists it was due to his decision to flee the obligations of a pop star to live an anonymous existence far from the capital while still making music.
Fortunately, Jack Robinson kept a copy of all of their masters and song demos, which are being released as
The DAVID CHRISTIE COLLECTION.
bottom of page