Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Founded in 1888 by Joseph Oller, the creator of the Moulin Rouge, the Olympia is the oldest music hall in Paris, today easily recognizable by its giant red glowing letters announcing its name. It opened in 1889 as the "Montagnes Russes" but was renamed the Olympia in 1893.
Beyond musicians, the Olympia played host to a variety of entertainment including circuses, ballets, and operettas. However, following a steady decline in appearances by the great stars, from 1929 until 1954 it served as a movie theater until new owners (Bruno Coquatrix ) revived it as a music hall. After forty more years, it was in danger of being torn down and turned into a parking lot but on January 7, 1993, France's then Minister of Culture, Jack Lang issued a preservation order for the Olympia that resulted in two years of construction work to rebuild a perfect replica of the façade and the grandeur of its famous red interior.
Edith Piaf achieved great fame at the Olympia. Just a few months before her death from cancer, she gave one of her most memorable concerts there while barely able to stand. Jeff Buckley, long an admirer of Piaf, gave what he considered the finest performance of his career there in 1995.
Inaugurated by the biggest star in France at the time, singer/dancer La Goulue, over the years some of the greatest French performers appeared here including early stars such as Mistinguett, Marie Dubas, Fréhel, Josephine Baker, Damia, Yvonne Printemps, and others followed like Georges Brassens, Jean Sablon, Edith Piaf, Gilbert Becaud, Léo Ferré, Lucienne Boyer, Tino Rossi, Jacques Brel, Barbara, Charles Trenet, Dalida, Charles Aznavour, Claude François, Mireille Mathieu, Johnny Hallyday, Sylvie Vartan, Patricia Kaas , France Gall, and Axelle Red .
As well, singing stars from the Arab world came to the Olympia including Umm Kulthum and Fairuz. They came too from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and from other places around the globe including legendary performers such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Judy Garland, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Julio Iglesias, Ray Charles, Alice Cooper, The Beatles, Diana Krall, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Van Morrison, Mahalia Jackson, Petula Clark and many others.
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