One of France's most celebrated lyricists of the past four decades, Etienne Roda-Gil, died on May 31 of a stroke. He was 62. French president Jacques Chirac called him "a lyricist of genius" and descr

One of France's most celebrated lyricists of the past four decades, Etienne Roda-Gil, died on May 31 of a stroke. He was 62. During his career, Roda-Gil worked with such artists as Julien Clerc, Johnny Hallyday, Patricia Kaas, Françoise Hardy, Mort Shuman, Vanessa Paradis, Claude Francois, and Pascal Obispo.

One of his biggest international successes was Paradis' "Joe Le Taxi", which became a worldwide hit in 1987.

Roda-Gil also collaborated with former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters on a rock opera project based on the French Revolution, "Ca Ira, Ca Ira."

French president Jacques Chirac called him "a lyricist of genius" and described him as "a great poet, with a huge heart, a world citizen who has enlightened French chanson with his images, his revolts and his passion."

In a statement, French authors rights society SACEM acknowledged him as "an author by excellence." He served from 1996-99 and 2000-03 as board member for SACEM.

Born on August 1, 1941 he was the son of Spanish Republican refugees who left Spain after 1936.

Roda-Gil's writing was inspired by social unrest and historical background. He was labelled a "surrealist romantic" by the press.

He received in 1993 the Vincent Scotto prize and in 1989 was awarded the Grand Prix de la Chanson, one of the highest honors bestowed to lyricists by SACEM.

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