I think you have to pay for love with bitter tears.
— Edith Piaf
Édith Giovanna Gassion was born on this day in Belleville, Paris, France in 1915. Today is the 97tj ammoversary of her birth.
Her mother was a cafe singer and her father was a street acrobat. She was abandoned by her parents to the care of her maternal grandmother, then was taken to her father’s mother. Her paternal grandmother ran a brothel and Édith grew up amongst the prostitutes. She was blinded as a result of meningitis at three but recovered by seven (supposedly because the “prostitutes pooled money to send her on a pilgrimage honoring Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux, which … resulted in a miraculous healing.”[geni.com] by 14 she was performing with her father on the streets of France. “Piaf’s songs and singing style seemed to reflect the tragedies of her own difficult life.” [Encyclopedia Britannica]
She left her father’s act and performed on her own singing in the streets for years before being discovered by a nightclub owner. She changed her last name to Piaf (and became known as “the little sparrow.” ) She switched to ballads.
Her throaty, expressive voice, combined with her fragile appearance and a dramatic tight spotlight on her face and hands, made her concerts memorable. [Answers.com]