Singers: Rising Sparrow

SINGERS Rising Sparrow

A year ago, Mireille Mathieu was just another unknown teen-ager trying her luck on a French TV show called The Game of Chance, an amateur tal ent contest sandwiched between the halves of a rugby match. Standing rigid as a rail, she sang one two-minute song, but it was enough to send a shock wave of recognition through thousands of viewers. That vibrant power, that haunting, husky throb. It was Edith Piaf reincarnate. Even her birdlike dimensions—4 ft. 10 in., 90 Ibs.—matched Piaf's precisely.

The resemblance was sufficient, in fact, to...

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