Edith Piaf - Padam Padam live 1956

Édith Piaf (French: [eˈdit pjaf]; 19 December 1915 – 10 October 1963; married name Édith Lamboukas, previously Pills, née Gassion) was a French cabaret singer who became widely regarded as France's national diva, as well as being one of France's greatest international stars.[1] Her music was often auto-biographical with her singing reflecting her life, with her specialty being of chanson and ballads, particularly of love, loss and sorrow. Among her songs are "La Vie en rose" (1946), "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960), "Hymne à l'amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "La Foule" (1957), "l'Accordéoniste" (1955), and "Padam ... Padam ..." (1951).

Despite numerous biographies, much of Piaf's life is shrouded in mystery. She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion[3] in Belleville, Paris. Legend has it that she was born on the pavement of Rue de Belleville 72, but her birth certificate cites the Hôpital Tenon, on 19 December 1915 the hospital for the 20th arrondissement, of which Belleville is part.

She was named Édith after the World War I British nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for helping French soldiers escape from German captivity.[5][disputed – discuss] Piaf – slang for "sparrow" – was a nickname she received 20 years later.

Louis-Alphonse Gassion (1881–1944), Édith's father, was a street acrobat performer from Normandy with a past in the theatre. He was the son of Victor Alphonse Gassion (1850–1928) and Léontine Louise Descamps (1860–1937), known as Maman Tine, who ran a brothel in Normandy.

Her mother, Annetta Giovanna Maillard (1895–1945), was of French descent on her father's side and of Italian and Berber origin on her mother's. She was a native of Leghorn, a port city on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. She worked as a café singer under the name Line Marsa. Her parents were Auguste Eugène Maillard (1866–1912) and Emma (Aïcha) Saïd ben Mohammed (1876–1930), daughter of Said ben Mohammed (1827–1890), a Moroccan acrobat born in Mogador (now Essaouira), and Marguerite Bracco (1830–1898), born in Murazzano in Italy.[

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Published: 23:16 17-05-2012
Duration: 3:08
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