Sacha Distel

This week Sue Lawley's castaway is one of France's best known exports - the singer Sacha Distel.

Born into a loving family in 1930s Paris, his father was a Russian émigré who'd fled the Red Army in 1917 and walked to Paris where he eventually set up an electrical goods shop. His mother was a talented musician and she instilled a love of music in her son at a young age - especially the piano. The family was traumatised during the Second World War, when his mother, who was Jewish, was interred in a Nazi camp for 19 months. After the war they were reunited but Sacha has said the experience left him with a long lasting sense of insecurity. He continued playing the piano but was increasingly drawn to the guitar, encouraged by the uncle who was the successful jazz band leader Ray Ventura. He soon demonstrated enormous talent for the instrument and, after graduating from college, he was playing with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davies. However it was his affair and engagement to Brigitte Bardot which catapaulted him to international fame. The liaison failed but he was to go on to become a household name, both in here and in France, with his distinct vocal style and image as a sex symbol. Now about to turn 71, Sacha is still touring and has just released a new CD.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Come Rain or Come Shine by Frank Sinatra
Book: The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho
Luxury: Grand piano

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 20 Feb 2004 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestSacha Distel

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