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Today would’ve been international superstar Dalida’s 87th birthday. Even though her life was short-lived and filled with tragedy, we take a look back to reflect on and celebrate what made Dalida a one-of-a-kind beloved icon for humans all over the world.
Dalida was born Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti in Shubra, Cairo on the 17th of January 1933 to Italian parents. Her father, who was the head violinist at the Cairo Opera House, became abusive upon returning from a prison camp and died when Dalida was 12 years old, her mother was a seamstress. Dalida began her rebellious career while still a teenager, participating in beauty pageants, and on her 21st birthday was given her mother’s blessing to join Miss Egypt 1954, and won the title. She moved to Paris the same year to pursue a career in motion pictures under the new stage name, Dalila.
Despite her fascination with acting and her extraordinary beauty, Dalila’s first films were less than successful. She wasn’t given much opportunity after, which led her to take an interest in singing. She began performing and stealing hearts at various venues, singing in French, Italian, and fluent Arabic, with a slight stage-name change to Dalida. Her second single “Bambino” was the big break she deserved and bought her instant fame and fortune and was followed by a torrent of songs and albums over the years. Dalida was a tortured artist, surrounded by hurt and suicides of lovers past. She took her own life in 1987.
During her career, Dalida sold 170 million albums worldwide, received fifty-five gold records and was the first female singer to attain a diamond disc. Her album Helwa Ya Balady, a patriotic homage to her birth country Egypt, was one of her most successful albums of the 70s. Her songs were magnetic and fuelled with tragic and dramatic sentiments from her personal life. Regardless, she was an emblem of love, and it reflected massively on her musical expressions with some of her most iconic songs proving exactly that. We’ve compiled a list of essential Dalida songs, to listen to on her birthday. Rest in Peace Dalida.
- Paroles, paroles (Alain Delon)
- Si je pouvais revivre un jour ma vie
- Helwa Ya Baladi
- Inconnu mon amour
- Ciao ciao bambina
- Gondolier (With all my heart)
- Bambino (Guaglione)
- Buenas Noches Mi Amor
- Salma Ya Salama
- Love in Portofino (A San Cristina)
- Adieu monsieur mon amour
- Non giocarti dell’amore
- Des millions de larmes
- Ahsan Nas
- II venditore di felicità
- Marie Marie
- Je suis malade
- L’acqua viva
- Histoire d’un amour