Jarre biography: 1948-1976

Jean Michel Jarre as a babyJean Michel Jarre was born in Lyons in 24th august 1948. He is the son of Maurice Jarre, but that brilliant composer of his was of no impact on Jarre’s music, since Maurice left his wife France Pejot (who was in French resistance) when Jarre was five. He never really knew his father, upmostly when Maurice got to Hollywood as an oscar-winning composer. Instead, he keeps in admiration his grand-father who is the father of the first audio mixer, fascinated by his technical fantasies.


Jarre was taught piano very young, but his first teacher disgusted him from the instrument. He studies classical musical in Paris school of music under the direction of Jeanine Rueff. As a teenager, the young Jarre was involved in several rock bands, singing and playing the electric guitar, in a Chuck Berry way. Good student, he is noodling between painting and litterature. But Jarre’s destiny is about to shake up when he succeeds the exam to enter the GRM (Research Music group), held by Pierre Schaeffer, the father of concrete music and many audio techniques.

Year 1968 : Video

He passes an exam with cellar tapes to be one of the four to carry on. He studies tape loops (which he quickly overmasters, as can be heard in prime Jarre recording called La Cage), radio frequencies and… the first Moog synthesizer in France. In this short period of time between 1969 and 1971, period that is misknown by Jarre critics, he takes part of the avant-garde, travelling to Stockhausen’s studio in Cologne, and working on several electro-acoustic pieces of music, which for l’Opéra de Paris (AOR), a ballet celebrating the new ceiling from Chagall. Other compositions have blurred histories, like Dorian and The Labyrinth. For a living, Jarre composes music for advertisement, as in Deserted Palace, Jarre’s earliest LP.


In 1973, Jarre composes his first movie score for Les Granges Brulées, a Jean Chapot film starring Alain Delon and Simone Signoret. For a living, Jarre, who lives in Paris, starts to reach out to pop music and collaborates with several of them, as a lyricist or composer, mostly for Christophe and Patrick Juvet. He hits the boards with two major hits, one disco anthem, Où sont les femmes ? for Juvet, and a killer-love song called Les Mots Bleus for Christophe. But that is not enough for Jarre, who seeks for his own music, beyond his ability to write instant-success lyrics. In 1976, Jarre is in a small room (a kitchen) working with two synths and a 8-track recorder creating Oxygène. He is joined in at half-way by french technician Michel Geiss who introduces him to the ARP synthesizer. They produce the second half of it, and Jarre has a hell of a job finding a producer for his music that feels like an UFO in the record compagny’s skydome with freaky sounds and unconventional climax. The only man who gives Jarre a chance is Francis Dreyfus, (Motors discs) and signing Oxygène, he doesn’t even know the huge effect it will cause throughout the world. It is now Jarre’s most succesfull album and France’s best-selling record ever.

Continued here.

Jarre’s biography from Wikipedia before I get mine started.

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