Origin: Saint-Jérôme, Québec, 🇨🇦
Singer Georges Thurston, alias Boule Noire, died 15 years ago, on June 18, 2007. His songs with resolutely positive lyrics and soul and disco rhythms were out of place in the Quebec musical landscape of the 1970s.
Georges Thurston was born in 1951 in Bedford, Montérégie. Abandoned at birth by his parents, he grew up in an orphanage and in multiple foster homes. His love of music and his caustic humor will be for him precious assets to get through his tumultuous childhood.
It was as a teenager, while living in Saint-Jérôme, that he began to take an interest in music.
Endowed with a great sense of rhythm, he learns piano, drums, guitar and bass with ease. He forms with friends the group Les Zinconnus.
Between 1970 and 1975, he played alongside many stars: Robert Charlebois, Nanette Workman, Michel Pagliaro, Donald Lautrec, Claude Dubois, etc. He also composes the successes of the Toulouse group, to which singer Judi Richards belongs.
In 1976, he came out of the shadows and released his first album entitled Boule Noire .
“ Boule at the start, it's a group story. Obviously, with the hair I had, they said we're going to call it "Boule Noire". Georges Thurston, for the public, it was pronounced badly. So everyone started calling me Boule Noire.
The song Do you love life? will propel his career. Often associated with disco, Georges Thurston nevertheless borrows many more sounds from soul and rhythm and blues .
In the 1970s, singing in this musical genre in French was not common.
“ It was the acoustic era, the era of Beau Dommage, October, Harmonium. So, I was freaking out. The French song of this style, there was none. »
Georges Thurston is not the first black singer to make his mark in Quebec; before him, Pierre Perpall was already visiting television sets.
In 1979, the singer made a duet with Nanette Workman. Aimer d'amour is quickly at the top of the charts. Produced by Tony Roman, the song is the French version of a Leo Sayer tune, Easy to Love .
To love with love will have two lives. On the other side of the Atlantic, the song will become a huge success. The French would discover the melody more than a decade later, in 1991. The song first played in Paris nightclubs, then people started asking for it on the radio. The album will be certified double gold disc.
This is what Boule Noire explained to host Christiane Charette on May 6, 1998. An interview during which he humorously commented on his style of dress from the disco era.
Boule Noire has performed a lot in France, but also in the United States. He played with the musicians of Aretha Franklin and even recorded a reggae record in 1981 in Bob Marley's house in Jamaica, Boule Noire reggae .
He presents some memories of this busy life, on August 4, 2006, to the journalist Catherine Gauthier.
Photos and newspaper clippings adorn the walls of his recording studio. Boule Noire has led his career out of love for music without really caring about success or failure.
“ I never wanted to make more sparks than that. The disco was already so sparkling that I didn't need to chase after the stardom. »
At the time of the interview, the singer already knows that he has colorectal cancer. Despite 21 chemotherapy treatments, Boule Noire released a 17-song album in 2006, Last Call, last reminder . A title chosen before the announcement of the disease.
Georges Thurston died on June 18, 2007 at the age of 55.