French violinist Franck Pourcel is best-known for his jazzy string arrangements of pop hits, as well as his lush easy listening arrangements and film scores.
Initially, Pourcel studied classical violin at the Paris Conservatoire, but he found the allure of jazz irresistible. In particular, he was an idol of Stephane Grappelli. Following his studies, he joined a number of jazz combos, which led him to his role as the leader of the French Fiddlers, who he joined in the late '40s. The French Fiddlers were a group of violinists that performed jazzy versions of classical numbers or classical arrangements of pop and jazz tunes. They signed to Pathe-Marconi and continued to refine their sound so they could reach a broader audience. The group earned their first hit in 1952 with a version of "Blue Tango."
In 1959, the French Fiddlers had a hit with an easy listening version of the Platters' "Only You" that featured a prominent beat; appropriately, it was credited to Franck Pourcel and His Rockin' Strings. It was a sound that became quite popular during the '60s, though frequently other musicians were more successful with it than Pourcel. Indeed, "Only You" was his only U.S. Top Ten hit. Nevertheless, he and the Fiddlers -- who recorded under a variety of names -- sold over 15 million records internationally by the early '70s. Pourcel continued to record easy listening albums and compose film scores throughout the '70s and into the '80s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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