Francis Lai (born April 26, 1932, Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France) is a French accordionist, and composer noted for his film scores.
While in his twenties, Francis Lai left home and went to Paris where he became part of the lively Montmartre music scene. In 1965 he met filmmaker Claude Lelouch and was hired to help write the score for the film, Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman). Released in 1966, the film was a major international success, earning a number of Academy Awards, and for the young Francis Lai, a Golden Globe Award nomination for "Best Original Score". This initial success brought more opportunities to work for the film industry both in his native France as well as in Great Britain and the United States. He is known for his support of Mireille Mathieu in many compositions and recordings. In 1969, he wrote the score for director René Clément's film, Rider On The Rain ("Le Passager de la Pluie"). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc in September 1971.
In 1970 Francis Lai won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for the film Love Story. In the United States, the soundtrack album went to No. 2 in the Billboard album charts and the film's theme, "Where Do I Begin" was a hit single with lyrics by Carl Sigman for traditional pop singer Andy Williams. The song would also be recorded successfully by Lai himself with a full orchestra and by Henry Mancini and Shirley Bassey. Francis Lai also wrote the music for the 1978 Love Story sequel titled Oliver's Story.
Lai has also had success with music written for softcore erotic films like Emmanuelle 2 (1975) and Bilitis (1977).
His composition "Aujourd'hui C'est Toi" (Today it's You) is probably best known in the UK as the theme music for the long-running BBC television current affairs documentary series Panorama.
He also earned high praise for his score of the David Hamilton movie "Bilitis", a sound-track that sold over a million copies throughout the world.
In a career spanning forty years, Lai has also written music for television programs and alone or in collaboration with others has composed music for more than one hundred films and has personally written more than six hundred songs.
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