In the Bauer family, the youngest know Jim, son of Axel, who made a name for himself in the televised musical springboard The Voice. Those familiar with the 1980s/90s spot Axel from the hits “Cargo”, and its clip by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, or “Turn off the light”.

And those curious about the mysteries of the Resistance know who Franck was, father of Axel, the last surviving announcer of Radio London before his disappearance at age 99 in 2018.

It is he who inspires the name of the album, “Radio Londres”, which is released on Friday, as well as two titles, “Ici Londres” and “Le jour s’enfuit”.

We also hear the voice of Franck Bauer at the beginning and at the end of “Ici Londres”, recorded by his son. “He came to the house one day, we were discussing his period as a Radio London announcer in his twenties, he told me about the bombings, the resistance, he was then 93 years old”, relates Axel Bauer to AFP.

The singer talks about it to the lyricist Boris Bergman (who worked with Alain Bashung), who writes the text of this piece opening this successful disc on an acoustic frame, before several electric flashes on other titles.

– Father “with a thousand lives” –

“We thought with Bergman that we had to question the word resistance, given all the differences,” he continues, referring to the excesses in current political debates.

“We hear that we are in a dictatorship, but in a dictatorship we are tortured for words, here we can insult the president without fearing for his life”, insists Axel Bauer.

“Here London” also shines the spotlight on Franck Bauer, character “with a thousand lives” sketched in an autobiography, “40 in London, the spy who came from jazz”.

Drummer and jazz pianist, this little-known figure of Free France had also gone to the United States to spy on the relays of the Vichy regime during the day and frequent music clubs at night.

“He decided to leave the jazz clubs and the comfort of the American consumer society to return to a Europe at war, by boat, with a chance in two of being sunk by a U-boat (German submarine) on the way to England, that’s what you call having a sense of duty”, unfolds his son.

After the Liberation, Franck Bauer worked as a war reporter for the Morning News, then for the AFP, and entered the Ministry of Culture.

– Malignant tumor –

He was also secretary general of the Comédie-Française, founder of the first public relations firm in France, professor at the Sorbonne and curator of the 1967 Universal Exhibition in Montreal.

The parents of the young Axel participate in his musical construction. His mother buys his first guitar. And his father gives him a Who record and a ticket to their concert. At 13, accompanied by this father in an elegant suit and hat which denotes in the hirsute public, Axel Bauer remembers the shock.

“There was an apocalyptic side to The Who, the big reels (of guitarist) Pete Townshend, Keith Moon (drummer) with bulging eyes, Roger Daltrey (vocalist) who swirls his microphone before shouting We don’t get fooled again, I wasn’t fully prepared (laughs)”.

“Radio London” also addresses the theme of resistance to the enemy within, a malignant tumor fought by the sixty-year-old singer, mentioned with a nice distance in “C’est malin”, written by him.

The guitarist deals with “the loss of this feeling of invincibility” and this way of “considering his life in the light of this countdown that has begun”. “If we lived by the yardstick of this lighting, the world would be different, we would say less crap, we would do less bullshit”.


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