"A part of Auvergne leaves with him," responded the mayor of Clermont-Ferrand, Olivier Bianchi, hailing on Twitter "the beauty of the text, the frankness of the word, the sincerity of the song". Artists like Christine and the Queens have praised the "poet" in him, Benjamin Biolay has appeared on Instagram heartbroken.

It was his former record company, Pias, an independent label, which announced to AFP his death, without specifying the causes of his death, confirming press information.

The label will release on Friday a best-of that was already scheduled.

Jean-Louis Murat, born Jean-Louis Bergheaud on January 28, 1952, had made a village in his native region, Murat-le-Quaire (Puy-de-Dôme), his artist name.

When he went on stage, steely blue eyes, voice of seducer throbbing with his groove so particular, it was "not to please people" but to "destabilize" them, even "disgust them", he told AFP in 2014.

Charm them, too, willingly passing from the anecdote full of black humor to the strongest of poems, and mixture of influences of the Auvergne terroir as much as American nights.

With the album "The real life of Buck John" (2020), title of a comic book of his youth, he had signed a self-portrait in chiaroscuro, baladin lost in his time, always fascinated by the groove of the south of the United States.

Jean-Louis Murat at the Francofolies in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, July 14, 2014 © Xavier LEOTY / AFP/Archives


"Me, I have no stone (money, editor's note), I have no success, but at least, I do not think to make demagogic songs," he confided during the same interview, with his usual frankness.

Some of his songs like "Sentiment Nouveau", "Fort Alamo" and "Si je devais manque de toi", his first commercial hit, are among the best known of a prolific career, with 24 albums in three decades.

The singer reached the top of the charts in 1991 thanks to a duet with Mylène Farmer ("Regrets") but ensures to have always lived the "tube" as "a confinement". "What I like is the song that becomes a hit, not the song that is already a hit before people have heard it," he said.

Willingly provocative, Jean-Louis Murat had caused a scandal at his debut in the 80s, with "Suicidez-vous le peuple est mort", some media fearing that this title is an incitement to suicide. The cover was signed by the photographer of the stars Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

Jean-Louis Murat on April 11, 2002 on the stage of the Printemps de Bourges © Alain JOCARD / AFP / Archives

Musically, too, his radical biases could cause a form of misunderstanding. He had confused with the UFO "Works on the N89" (2017), which bet on deconstruction, abandoning guitars and melodies to better reinvent himself on the basis of synthetic and electronic sounds.

"French melody is a bit like sugar addiction. I absolutely wanted to get out of it and start from scratch. It gave +N89+ and I wasn't sure it would make a record. But in the end it was quite successful for me, because it gave me energy and I considered myself in the making again," he told AFP in 2018.

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