Robert Charlebois

1994 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)

"Superfrog"... the woolly hair, the baggy hockey sweater, above all the songs in joual backed with a jazz-rock group... helped launched the young Charlebois as a novelty in the French pop world. But it was the originality of his music, its innovative, unbridled energy that propelled him to the top and kept him there.

The 1967 satirical show Terre des Bums (a play on Expo's Terre des Hommes) followed by many award-winning songs like Ordinaire and Lindberg established his indelible mark. The sensational 1968 review, L'Osstidcho, with fellow artists Mouffe, Louise Forestier, and Yvon Deschamps, broke all the rules and set the tone for a decade in the Quebec rock scene. His appeal extended to the anglophone world and he appeared with the greats: Joplin, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. Yet he claims his allegiance is to the poetic tradition of the Quebec chansonnier, calling Vigneault, Leveillée, and Gauthier his "big brothers".

Just as Tremblay revolutionized Quebec theatre, so Charlebois radicalized the Quebec chanson. Beyond Quebec, his fabulous performances in Paris and elsewhere blazed the trail for other Quebec artists.