Ferrat was born in Vaucresson, Hauts-de-Seine. He was the youngest of four children from a modest family which moved to Versaillesin 1935, where Ferrat studied at the Jules Ferry College. His Russian-born father (naturalized in 1928) was forced to wear the yellow star and deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Ferrat dropped out of school to help the family survive.
In the early 1950s he started in Parisian cabaret. After that he avoided any particular musical style, but remained faithful to himself, his friends and his public.
In 1956, he set "Les yeux d'Elsa" ("Elsa's eyes"), a Louis Aragon poem which Ferrat loved, to music. Its rendition by popular artist André Claveau brought Ferrat some initial recognition as a songwriter.
His first 45 RPM single was released in 1958, without success. It was not until 1959, with publisher Gérard Meys, who also became his close friend and associate, that his career started to flourish. He signed with Decca and released his second single, "Ma Môme", in 1960 under the musical direction of Meys.
In 1961 Ferrat married Christine Sèvres, a singer who performed some of his songs. She died in 1981 at age 50. He also met Alain Goraguer, who became an arranger of his songs. His debut album, Deux Enfants du Soleil, was released that year. Ferrat also wrote songs for Zizi Jeanmaire and went on the road, sharing billing with her at the Alhambra for six months.
In 2010, Ferrat died of a long illness at the age of 79. He lived in a small village of 700 people in Ardeche.
- Wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Ferrat)