“The Soundtrack of Quebec”: the stories behind 50 great Quebec songs

From Yvon Deschamps to Offenbach, via Jean Lapointe, the stories behind 50 classics from our musical repertoire are revealed through new capsules on the web.

Newspaper archives, photos of manuscripts scribbled with original lyrics, unpublished interviews; Bibliothèque et Archives nationaux du Québec (BAnQ) carried out painstaking work over more than two years to bring the web series to the world The Soundtrack of Quebecproduced by Urbania.

“The research work was colossal, like the steps to obtain the rights to these songs, but we are very proud of this project; it’s a part of our history that is presented with the current and popular touch of Urbania,” rejoices, on the line, Marie Grégoire, president and CEO of BAnQ.

With 50 video clips of five minutes each, eight of which are already available on the BAnQ YouTube channel, we can notably learn that Yvon Deschamps wrote the lyrics to Love each other in just one hour, after he had just met his wife, Judi Richards, in 1970.

Manuscript of the lyrics of the song “Aimons-nous”, by Yvon Deschamps, circa 1969.

Photo provided by BANQ

“He is a very romantic man,” says Mme Richards to her husband, in the capsule dedicated to Love each other. “He once drove all the way to Prince Edward Island and back, just to give me flowers,” she says.

My blues can’t pass through the door

The 50 songs in this project were selected following a survey of 1,100 people. No titles more recent than 2002 will appear there.

We also discover that the words of My blues can’t pass through the doorby Offenbach, was basically a business card left by the lyricist Pierre Huet to Gerry Boulet.


Offenbach, in 1979.

Photo provided by BANQ, MICHEL GRAVEL (CNW Group/Library and National Archives of Quebec)

“He [Pierre Huet] left this text with Gerry to show him that he didn’t just write poetry for Beau Dommage and that he could also write things more edgy for Offenbach”, remembers Breen Leboeuf, bassist of the group, in the episode relating to this song published in 1978.

It’s in the songs

The Soundtrack of Quebec also allows us to lift the veil on the texts of the title It’s in the songs, from 1976, by the late Jean Lapointe. While he was in therapy to resolve his alcohol problems, he met the lyricist and musician Marcel Lefebvre, also in therapy for the same reasons. In preparation for an album, at the time of the first referendum, an ode to Quebec was essential.

The song The Cathedrals Timewritten by Luc Plamondon and composed by Richard Cocciante for the musical Notre Dame de Paris, will also be part of the project, the other capsules of which will be put online over the next two years.

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