Dalida a New York 1978
Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti (Italian: [joˈlanda kriˈstiːna dʒiʎˈʎɔtti]; 17 January 1933 – 3 May 1987), professionally known as Dalida, was a French singer and actress, born in Egypt to Italian parents. Singing in 10 languages, she is the most internationally successful French performer of all time. Her diverse repertoire and heartfelt interpretations of both sentimental ballads and pop music have brought her adoration by mass audiences and by politicians and intellectuals alike.
After winning the title of Miss Egypt in 1954, she moved to Paris and in 1956 experienced overnight success with the song “Bambino”. This was followed by successful recordings; “Gondolier”, “Come prima”, “Am Tag als der Regen kam”, “Les enfants du Pirée” and “Itsi bitsi petit bikini”, which marked the first years of her career and became pop standards. In the early 1960s, Dalida was already household name in francophonie and the leading singer in Europe, and in 1964 she was awarded the first platinum disc in history. Dalida lines up new successes; “La danse de Zorba”, “Il Silenzio”, “Bang bang”, “Ciao amore ciao” and “Le temps des fleurs”, which she sings at concerts around the world, spending two-thirds of each year on tour.
In 1970, Dalida became independent by founding her own record label, and continued success was guaranteed with a song “Darla dirladada”. It was followed with some of the most notable French songs, “Paroles, paroles”, “Je suis malade”, “Gigi l’amoroso” and “Il venait d’avoir 18 ans”. In the second half of the 1970s, Dalida brought disco to Europe with the song “J’attendrai” and established herself as the Reine du Disco (“Disco Queen” in French) with the songs “Besame mucho”, “Génération 78” and “Laissez-moi danser”. At the same time in the Middle East she leads with the raï megahits “Salma Ya Salama” and “Helwa ya balady”, the latter becoming the unofficial anthem of Egypt.
Through the 1980s, Dalida enjoyed the status of a diva, carrying her historical show from the Palais des Sports across five world continents with the songs “Comme disait Mistinguett” and “Gigi in Paradisco”. A new set of problems in her personal life slowed Dalida’s career, reflected in some of her most powerful ballads, “Mourir sur scène” and “Pour en arriver là”, which became her signature songs. In the 1986 film The Sixth Day, Dalida achieved the long-awaited crown of her acting career. Less than a year later, overwhelmed with personal tragedies, she committed suicide 4 days after her last concert.
Considered an icon during her lifetime, her death led to an image as a tragic diva and renowned singer. She is the only performer in the francophone world with success in multiple genres. Dalida is the best-selling and the most award-winning French performer. She holds the world record for the song with the most weeks at the top of the music chart. Selling 170 million singles and albums, she received more than 70 gold records and was the first singer to receive platinum and diamond discs.
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