(1851–1925). Singer-songwriter, also popular novelist and dramatist. Despite his reputation as the singer of Parisian low-life in the belle époque, immortalized in the Toulouse-Lautrec posters, he was in fact born and bred among the provincial bourgeoisie of Courtenay (Loire), and only settled in Paris when he was 17. Early in his career he was associated with the famous Montmartre cabaret, Le Chat Noir. His best-known songs celebrate the romantically glamorized underworld of the popular quarters of Paris: ‘A Montmartre’, ‘A la Bastille’, ‘A Saint Lazare’, ‘Rue Saint Vincent’, etc. The refrains of his songs are simple; but his voice, one of the first to be recorded, is as distinctive as his image.
From The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French in Oxford Reference.