Franck Pourcel (11 August 1913 – 12 November 2000) was a French conductor of Popular music and Classical music.
Born in Marseille August 11, 1913, Franck Pourcel started learning the violin at the age of six. Later Pourcel studied violin at the Conservatoire in Marseille, also drums because he loved jazz, and spent a year in Paris at the Conservatoire.
By 1931 he was working as a violinist in several theaters in Marseille, marrying Odette eight years later. He then became the musical director for Lucienne Boyer, with whom he went on a world tour.
He emigrated to the United States in 1952, but returned to France the following year to record “Blue Tango” and the follow-up “Limelight”. In 1954 Pourcel recorded his first album on the Pathé-Marconi record label, with whom he would record a total of nine albums in a three-year period. In 1956 he recorded his version of “Only You”, which sold over three million copies by 1959, and was awarded a gold disc. It peaked at #9 in the United StatesBillboard pop chart for 16 weeks.
Between 1956 and 1972 he was the conductor for France at the Eurovision Song Contest with the exceptions of 1957 and 1968. Four of the songs that he conducted won first place for France. As a result, France became the most successful country in the contest’s early years, until Luxembourg matched its four wins in 1973.
By 1958 Franck Pourcel started recording classical music. His series of Pages Célèbres led to him conduct the London Symphony Orchestra, The Society of Concerts for the Conservatoire, The BBC Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, and the Lamoureux Orchestra at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. In 1962 he co-composed with Paul Mauriat the hit, “Chariot”, which was recorded by Petula Clark and followed up by Peggy March as “I Will Follow Him”. The song became the main theme for the film,Sister Act.
In 1975, at the request of Air France, Franck composed an anthem for their new supersonic plane, Concorde. Franck Pourcel recorded 250 albums, over 3000 songs, and he conducted famous orchestras such as London Symphonic Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, Orchestre des concerts Lamoureux. He created the serie Amour Danse et violons (54 albums) and the Classic serie Pages Célébres actually being remastered. His first recordings from 1956 to 1962 were released under the serie Originals.
Franck Pourcel recorded until 1995 with EMI. He died on 12 November 2000 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, at the age of 87, from Parkinson’s disease. His daughter Françoise Pourcel, is taking care of his musical legacy.