I said Rivard was the lead singer because he is most often associated with group’s male vocals, however, in the same post, I also referred to his group, Beau Dommage as a type of French Abba. This latter description may be more accurate because there were a couple of male vocals (Michel Rivard, Pierre Bertrand) and one female vocal (Marie Michèle Desrosiers), as well as a couple of other members on instruments.
Although Beau Dommage was only active as a group for a bit more than four years in the 1970’s, you however would think they were together for 40 years judging from their place in music history, their success, and their continued popularity.
Just as Abba broke ground by bringing pop-folk-rock groups to the forefront of the Swedish music industry, so did Beau Dommage for Québec. Along with the group Harmonium (the subject of the next post), Beau Dommage is synonymous with a transformation of music in Québec, during a decade full of change (see the timeline in “The Mythic Three” post).
Like Robert Charlebois’ music, that of Beau Dommage rallied the youth of the 1970’s around their music, and helped to channel their fan base towards sovereignty. Beau Dommage served as a metaphorical banner, in the form of music, for the movement and Québec identity of the day.
The group disbanded at the end of the 1970s, after making only four Albums. This is a huge contrast with Robert Charlebois’ 40-year career, during which he released scores of albums and songs. But it is probably because Beau Dommage only released four albums that everyone knows all their songs. They’re amongst the few groups that the public can readily sing all their songs and all their lyrics without tripping up.
Since disbanding, Beau Dommage has periodically come back together for reunion performances, and they did release a subsequent reunion album in the 1990s. But for the most-part, their members went their separate ways and pursued separate careers after 1978. Despite his own career, Michel Rivard has become synonymous with the group, as has Marie Michèle Desrosiers. Both are still highly visible in the media and music scene.
And like Robert Charlebois’ music, Beau Dommage’s music is still commonly heard on air, but is no longer considered political (despite it’s political echos from the past). It’s now appreciated simply as music, not necessarily a political message in itself – especially by the two generations who grew up since the 1970s (those under 40 to 45 years old). In fact, it’s likely under 30’s no longer even make any political association with their music.
Some of Beau Dommage’s (and also Québec’s) most well-known songs are:
- La Complainte du phoque en Alaska
- Le blues d’la métropole
- Le Picbois
- Ginette (but this Ginette was not “Lette”! Clin d’oeil à Stage Lacroix).
- Harmonie du soir à Châteauguay
- Le géant Beaupré
Their music is available for sale through various platforms. Please stick to official sites and do not pirate. Our artists form part of our cultural heritage.