Henri Betti was born at 1 rue Barillerie in the district of Vieux-Nice
in a modest family : his father was a house painter and his mother was a fishmonger. His paternal family originates from the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy : his grandfather was born in Parma and he immigrated to Nice with his wife and children in 1893.
In 1935, he entered at the Conservatoire de Paris which is then directed by Henri Rabaud where he studied music in the same class as Maurice Baquet, Paul Bonneau, Henri Dutilleux and Louiguy. He is the student of Lazare Lévy for piano class and Raymond Pech for harmony class. He won a prize of harmony in 1937.
He then headed for a classical pianist, but in 1940, when he has been discharged from military service of Fortified Sector of the Dauphiné in Briançon, he crosses the Corsican composer Roger Lucchesi on the Promenade des Anglais, who told him that he composed a song for Maurice Chevalier and asked him to accompany him to the piano when he the present him in his property La Louque
in Cannes. Maurice Chevalier refuse the song but to ask Henri Betti be his regular accompanist. During the singing tours, he will make him play the Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin
between songs. Anxious to renew his repertoire, he also asked him to compose songs. Henri Betti then wrote music forty songs with the lyrics of Maurice Chevalier and Maurice Vandair
until 1945 that Notre Espoir
and La Chanson du maçon
in 1941 or La Fête à Neu-Neu
in 1943. Of the fifteen securities singing tour of Maurice Chevalier in 1945, Henri Betti sign fourteen.
He joined the SACEM in 1941 as composer and was appointed Sociétaire définitif
After World War II, he knows great success with Le Régiment des mandolines
in 1946 and Le Chapeau à plumes
in 1947 for Lily Fayol, Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ?
in 1947, Maître Pierre
and Rien dans les mains, rien dans les poches
in 1948 for Yves Montand and especially C'est si bon
in 1947 for Jean Marco with Jacques Hélian and his Orchestra. Published by Paul Beuscher, it is sung for the first time before an audience by Suzy Delair at the Nice Jazz Festival February 25, 1948 and recorded by Yves Montand before becoming a standard international jazz with Louis Armstrong, who recorded for the first time in New York in 1950 in the English version of Jerry Seelen.
From 1949 to 1983, his music production is abundant : revues for Le Lido, the Moulin Rouge, the Folies Bergère, the Olympia, the Stardust and the Tropicana in Las Vegas, and many operettas and plays.
He has also composed for the cinema in the 1950s and television in the 1960s. His most famous soundtrack is that of Honoré de Marseille
which will nearly 4 million admissions in France in 1957. In this movie, Fernandel sings three songs composed by Henri Betti and the words by Jean Manse. Henri Betti and Jean Manse had written a fourth song for the movie, C'est Noël
, sung by Fernandel in a scene that was edited out. The song was later sung by Tino Rossi and Georges Guétary. In 1953, he played the role of the composer and accompanist of the company of Jean Nohain
in Soyez les bienvenus
by Pierre-Louis which he also composed the music for the film.
In the early 1950s, he made her singing on stage first as vedette américaine
featuring at the ABC
in 1951 and the Theatre des Deux Anes
, in parisian cabarets as Le Bosphore
and Chez Tonton
, and in summer outdoors in Nice, Cannes, Juan-les-Pins shows. And then as a full-featured except to Bobino and Gaumont-Palace. His talent manager was Johnny Stark.
During his career as a musician, Henri Betti worked with the composers Paul Bonneau, Gérard Calvi, Bruno Coquatrix, Jean-Pierre Landreau and Rolf Marbot and with the lyricists André Berthomieu, Bourvil, Jean Boyer, Charlys
, Maurice Chevalier, Jean Cosmos, Pierre Cour, Yves Favier, Pierre Gilbert, André Hornez
, Jean Le Seyeux, Francis Lopez, Jean Manse, Jacques Mareuil, Jean Nohain
, Édith Piaf
, Jacques Pills, Jacques Plante, René Rouzaud, André Salvet, Pascal Sevran, Maurice Vandair
, Henri Varna, Raymond Vincy and Albert Willemetz.
In 1951, he participated with Albert Willemetz to the foundation of the Comité du Cœur
, relief fund for needy artists under the auspices of the SACEM, which will be Vice-President.
In 1958, he collaborated with Jean-Pierre Landreau to compose all the music revues of Lido for the company Lido-Mélodies
whose two founding members are Jean Gruyer and Pierre Delvincourt.
In 1959, he collaborated with Bruno Coquatrix to compose the music of Paris mes amours
(lyrics by André Hornez) which were performed by Josephine Baker at the Olympia.
In 1960, he wrote the music for the song Les Étangs de Sologne
with the lyrics by Paul Vialar which was sung the same year by Jean Philippe in the TV show Toute la Chanson
In 1971, he participated with Maurice Lehmann to the foundation of the ANAO
(Association Nationale des Amis de l’Opérette
) which will be Vice-President.
He was member of Conseil d'administration
of the SACD from 1961 to 1975 and of the SACEM in 1982, 1983, from 1985 to 1987 and from 1989 to 1992.
In 1987, he composed the music for his last song with lyrics of Pascal Sevran : C'est à Brasilia
, performed by Les Sœurs Étienne.
In 1993, he published his autobiography, C'est si bon
|, published by La Pensée Universelle.|
In 2003, he entered the nursing home Ger'Home in Courbevoie where he died two years later of natural causes at the age of 87 years.
His funeral held at the Eglise Saint-Pierre de Neuilly-sur-Seine, he is then cremated at the crematorium of Fort Mont-Valérien and buried in the Neuilly-sur-Seine community cemetery (Division 11, Parcelle Paysagée B).
In 2006, his son François Betti wrote the musical engraving and the comments from the songbook Une Vie en Chansons which contains 12 songs composed by Henri Betti. The songbook is published by Paul Beuscher.
Henri Betti married July 30, 1949 in Bois-Colombes with the tap dancer Françoise Engels. He had met her during performances of the operetta Baratin
the same year. The couple had three children. Betti was the brother of the opera singer Freda Betti and the great granduncle of the footballer Alexy Bosetti.
Henri Betti is made Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 1960 and received the Prix Maurice-Yvain
, awarded by the SACD, in 1980 and the Médaille d'or
by the SACEM in 1994.
Songs by singers
Songs composed in collaboration
- 1957 :
- L'Auberge Fleurie, music by Henri Betti and Rolf Marbot, performed by Rudy Hirigoyen, orchestrated by Paul Bonneau.
- 1958 :
- Si tu Voulais m'Aimer, music by Henri Betti and Jean-Pierre Landreau, performed by Tino Rossi, orchestrated by Pierre Spiers.
- 1959 :
- Avec and Paris mes Amours, music by Henri Betti and Bruno Coquatrix, performed by Joséphine Baker, orchestrated by Jo Bouillon.
- 1941 :
- Amuse-toi, Arc-en-Ciel, Notre espoir, On Veut tant s'Aimer, Le Régiment des Jambes Louis XV et Vous ne Direz pas toujours Non (music by Jean Marion), performed by Maurice Chevalier.
- 1945 :
- C'est la Fête au Pays (music by Henri Bourtayre), Chanson Populaire, Mandarinade and Le p'tit Père la Taupe, performed by Maurice Chevalier.
- 1948 :
- Maître Pierre, performed by Yves Montand.
- 1963 :
- Consuela, Paris-Paname, Mon Grand and Marche Grecque, performed by Jean-Pierre Darras and Philippe Noiret.
- 1946 :
- Le Régiment des Mandolines in duet with Jo Charrier, orchestrated by Jacques Hélian.
- 1949 :
- Les Baobabs, orchestrated by Ray Ventura.
Songs adapted in English
- 1949 :
- C'est si bon, lyrics by Jerry Seelen, performed by Johnny Desmond.
- Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ? (English title : What Can I Do ?), lyrics by Harold Rome, performed by Édith Piaf.
- 1951 :
- Maître Pierre (English title : The Windmill Song), lyrics by Mitchell Parish, performed by The Andrews Sisters.
- 1956 :
- Donnez-moi tout ça (English title : Give Me More), lyrics by William Engvick, performed by Don Cherry.
- 1952 : Une fille sur la route by Jean Stelli.
- 1952 : Le Dernier Robin des Bois by André Berthomieu.
- 1953 : A Hundred Francs a Second (Cent francs par seconde) by Jean Boyer.
- 1953 : Soyez les bienvenus by Pierre-Louis.
- 1953 : His Father's Portrait (Le portrait de son père) by André Berthomieu.
- 1954 : L'Œil en coulisses by André Berthomieu.
- 1954 : Death on the Run (Les deux font la paire) by André Berthomieu.
- 1955 : Les Duraton by André Berthomieu.
- 1955 : The Road to Paradise (Le Chemin du paradis) by Hans Wolff and Willi Forst.
- 1956 : La Joyeuse Prison by André Berthomieu.
- 1956 : Baratin by Jean Stelli.
- 1956 : Honoré de Marseille by Maurice Régamey.
- 1957 : L'Auberge en folie by Pierre Chevalier.
- 1959 : Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild Women (Cigarettes, whisky et p'tites pépées) by Maurice Régamey.
- 1959 : Visa pour l'enfer by Alfred Rode.
- 1963 : La voix dans le verre by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1963 : L’un d’entre vous by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1963 : Blagapar : Les Grecs by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1964 : Blagapar : Les Contractuels by Jean-Paul Sassy.
- 1964 : Blagapar : Versailles by Lazare Iglesias.
- 1966 : L’école des cocottes by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1966 : Comment ne pas épouser un Milliardaire by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1966 : La Chasse au météore by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1971 : La petite Catherine by Lazare Iglesis.
- 1946-1947 : Mam'zelle Printemps by Maurice Poggi at the théâtre Moncey, libretto by Georges-Marie Bernanose, lyrics by Maurice Vandair.
- 1949-1952 : Baratin by Alfred Pasquali at the Européen, libretto by Jean Valmy, lyrics by André Hornez.
- 1950-1951 : L'École des Femmes Nues by Max Révol at the Théâtre de l'Étoile, libretto by Serge Veber, lyrics by Jean Boyer.
- 1953-1954 : Mobilette by Jean-Marc Thibault at the Européen, libretto by Serge Veber, lyrics by André Hornez.
- 1957-1958 : Maria Flora by Maurice Lehmann at the Théâtre du Châtelet, libretto and lyrics by Raymond Vincy.
- 1957 : La Route qui Chante by Alfred Pasquali at the Cirque Medrano, libretto and lyrics by Raymond Vincy.
- 1969-1970 : Le Marchand de Soleil by Robert Manuel at the Théâtre Mogador, libretto by Robert Thomas, lyrics by Jacques Mareuil.
- 1958 : Ta bouche bébé by Maurice Poggi at the Comédie-Caumartin, dialogues by Jean Valmy.
- 1960-1961 : Le Mobile by Jean-Pierre Grenier at the Théâtre Fontaine, dialogues by Alexandre Rivemale.
- 1960-1961 : Vive de... by René Dupuy at the Théâtre Gramont, dialogues by Robert Rocca.
- 1961-1962 : Un certain Monsieur Blot by René Dupuy at the Théâtre Gramont, dialogues by Robert Rocca.
- 1961-1962 : Les Béhohènes by Jean-Pierre Darras at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier, dialogues by Jean Cosmos.
At the Casino de Paris
- 1942 : Pour toi Paris.
At the Le Lido
- 1956 : C’est magnifique.
- 1957 : Prestige.
- 1959 : Avec plaisir.
- 1961 : Pour vous.
- 1962 : Suivez-moi.
At the Folies Bergère
- 1955 : Ah
| Quelle Folie....1958 : Folies légères.1961 : Folies chéries.1964 : Folies en fêtes.1968 : Et vive la Folie||.1972 : J’aime à la Folie.1977 : Folie, je t’adore.1982 : Folies de Paris.|
At the Olympia1959 : Paris mes amours.
At the Moulin Rouge1963 : Frou Frou.1965 : Frisson.1967 : Fascination.1970 : Fantastic.1973 : Festival.1976 : Follement.1979 : Frénésie.1983 : Femmes, Femmes, Femmes....
At the Broadway Theatre1964 : Folies Bergère.
- 1951 : Compositeurs et Chansons de Paris by Henri Verneuil.
- 1953 : Trois hommes et un piano by André Berthomieu.
- 1954 : Rendez-vous avec Maurice Chevalier n°2 by Maurice Régamey.
- 1953 : Soyez les bienvenus by Pierre-Louis.
- 1954 : Les deux font la paire by André Berthomieu.
- 1954 : L'Œil en coulisses by André Berthomieu.
- 1956 : 36 Chandelles (30 January) - RTF.
- 1956 : La Joie de Vivre (03 April) - RTF.
- 1957 : 36 Chansons (27 January and 10 March) - RTF.
- 1958 : 36 Chandelles (28 April) - RTF.
- 1959 : Les Joies de la Vie (06 April) - RTF.
- 1960 : Toute la Chanson (27 June) - RTF.
- 1960 : Rue de la Gaîté (20 October) - RTF.
- 1960 : Au-delà de l'Écran (23 October) - RTF.
- 1960 : Discorama (18 November) - RTF.
- 1985 : Thé Dansant (09 June) - France 2.
- 1988 : Soir 3 (11 September) - France 3.
- 1988 : La Chance aux Chansons (15 September) - TF1.
- 1990 : Midi 3 (30 March) - France 3.
- 1993 : La Chance aux Chansons (15 and 16 March) - France 2.
- 2001 : Les Refrains de la Mémoire (30 September) - France 5.
- 1962 : Dans la Vie faut pas s'en Faire by Georges Folgoas - RTF.
- 1972 : Hommage à Maurice Chevalier by Georges Paumier - ORTF.
- 1979 : Nous les Artistes : Maurice Chevalier by Catherine Dupuis - TF1.
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