In memory of
1950 - 2008
Organist, pianist, arranger, accompanist, conductor and songwriter, Daniel was born in Montreal on December 1, 1950. Son of the renowned organist-pianist Lucien Hétu, he began studying the piano at the age of four, with as professor, none other than the unforgettable pianist and composer of genius André Mathieu.
At the age of 11, Daniel recorded his first organ record, under the RCA label, entitled "Le petit Daniel". This "45 rpm" earned him the CKAC Canadian Disc Grand Prize, children's section.
From 16 to 20 years old, he continued his musical training at the Vincent-d'Indy School, where he studied piano, percussion and orchestration, until obtaining three baccalaureate degrees in music. He then continued for three years his studies in orchestration and arrangements with the famous Neil Chotem (Pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, teacher).
In 1968, when he was 17 years old, he released a musical album with his father on which both played contemporary melodies, entitled "Lucien Hétu et son fils".
After winning first place in an organ competition in Quebec, then in Winnipeg, at the age of 20, he represented Canada at the international Yamaha organ competition, at Nemuno Sato in Japan (1971), where twenty - eight countries were represented. Exhausted by a flight which lasted 21 hours, he nevertheless won the first prize. Consecrated best organist in the World. Many doors then opened before him on his return.
In 1972 Daniel released his first instrumental album, entitled "Daniel Hétu plays Roger Whittaker" and was hired as arranger, accompanist and conductor assigned to René Simard, which led him to travel to the United States, Europe and Japan.
He participated in several other recordings with his father as well as with many artists in vogue of the time including Edith Butler, Renée Claude, Nicole Cloutier, Patsy Gallant, Aimé Major and Renée Martel.
As conductor, he accompanied the majority of popular Quebec singers of the time such as Véronique Béliveau, Michel Louvain and many others. In an interview with the magazine Echos Vedettes, he said that only Robert Charlebois had not yet hired him. As for international artists, he accompanied big names such as Charles Aznavour, Gibert Bécaud, Mireille Mathieu, Nicole Croisille and even James Brown.
From 1973 to 1976, he was hired as Ginette Reno's appointed arranger and conductor, both for record creation and for shows.
In 1975, when he was only 24 years old, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offered him the musical direction of the television program "Faut voir ça" and a year later he took the baton of the program "Les darlings ".
From 1977 to 1981 CFTM-TV offered him the musical direction of the variety show "Les Tannants". During the first year of this show, he recorded the famous romantic ballad "Je t’attendais", which revealed his undeniable talent as a charming singer. The "45 rpm" sold over 100,000 copies and earned him his first gold record. A few months later, the self-titled album, which also popularized the song "I'm looking for a girl", sold over 80,000 copies and earned him a second gold record.
In addition to taking on the musical direction of various TV shows as well as composing, recording and producing songs for himself, Daniel also composed several musical themes for popular radio and TV shows (Le radio café Provigo, De bonne humeur, Les Tannants, L'Artishow, Michel Jasmin, Découvertes, Montreal live, etc.) as well as the music of several songs which were popularized by different singers in addition to the arrangements requested by many artists . It was he who, at the request of René Angelil, wrote the arrangements for the first song (It was only a dream) that made Celine Dion known.
In 1980 he released his second album as a singer, titled "Women of the World", named after the hit single of the same name.
On June 6, 1981, her dear friend, Linda Garofalo, gave him a beautiful baby girl whom they called Dina. Three months later, on September 19, Linda and Daniel formalized their status by marrying and at the same time having their daughter baptized.
The same year, Daniel added another string to his bow by becoming co-host of the program l'Artishow with Pierre Lalonde and Fernand Gignac on CFTM-TV.
In 1982 Daniel released another sung album which he entitled "And I dream" on which appeared in others including "I dance with life" and "I believe in music".
But if Daniel's career was going well, it was quite different in his love life. Barely a year after her marriage, divorce proceedings were initiated and the couple's breakdown was formalized a few months later.
In 1983 CFTM-TV offered him the musical direction of the program "Michel Jasmin". He also recorded the album entitled "Ma vie", which popularized the songs "Amoureux de vos pommes" and "Souris-moi".
From 1986 to 1989 he ensured the musical aspect of the program "Le radio café Provigo" broadcast on CJMS and recorded his last album which he entitled "Daniel Hétu" (1988) which gave us, among other successes " Without stories "and" The heart in quarantine ".
Then, the accountant who took care of the business as well as the business of Dominique Michel and some other artists, suddenly disappeared from circulation after having completely emptied the bank accounts of his clients. The police investigation later revealed that the fraudster had quickly left the country with all the money he was responsible for managing. Daniel, who had entrusted the management of all of his assets to this individual, then found himself, overnight, completely penniless. Unable to rely on his investment income to cover mortgage costs for his house and studio, he found himself, just a few days after discovering the scam, forced to declare bankruptcy.
On August 15, 1992, Daniel, 42, when he was in his second wedding party with producer Diane Juteau.
The following year he released a compilation of his greatest successes entitled "Retrospective" and in November the couple moved to Florida where Daniel worked as an entertainer-pianist-singer until September 1995, when they returned to live in Montreal.
Daniel then worked as musical director for the various shows produced by his wife Diane and occasionally accompanied certain singers and some singers in show.
In November 1999, SOCAN honored him with a trophy to highlight the fact that the hit hit "Je t'attendais" had been played over 25,000 times on the radio. At the same time he composes texts and music from a sensual cassette entitled "Orgasm", on which we can hear 4 suggestive narrations, capable of creating an exhilarating atmosphere.
In 2003 and 2004, after 20 years of absence on television, Daniel ensured the musical aspect of the program "Un air d'été" hosted by Serge Laprade on the VOX channel.
In 2003, 2005 and 2006, he also ensured the musical aspect of the "Santé bel Âge" tours, which made him cross Quebec, from north to south and from east to west, for several months.
At the end of 2006, he also took on the musical direction of the benefit show for "Le Chaînon", in order to help this charitable organization to raise the funds necessary to continue to help women in difficulty.
But if for many, Daniel was identified only with his great success "Je t'attendais", he was much more than a song, much more than a singer or a simple pianist. Music was not only part of his life, it was his whole life! For him music was much more than a job, it was a real passion! He loved to play and sing, of course, but where he really came true was in creation. In the comfort of the office set up in his residence, the maestro could sit on the keyboard, turn on his consoles, put on his headphones and mount, step by step, musical tracks, distinctive both for their exceptional sound and for the superior quality of the arrangements. that he conceived, or he could settle down on the piano to lay original compositions, which cheerfully revealed the passion and the musical genius which animated it.
Because he was reluctant to socialite, he was rarely talked about and the cameras had little opportunity to capture his image. Nevertheless, he remained very active musically as an arranger, accompanist and singer, because it must be said that since his beginnings as a singer in 1977, Daniel never stopped offering occasional performances during which his warm voice rocked hundreds of people to the rhythm of love and charm.
For years, Daniel had also undertaken the creation of a great dramatico-musical, tailor-made for Broadway, gradually supporting in his head the script, the choreography, the music and the lyrics in the language of Shakespeare. In 2006 he entered the studio with a few artists, including Claudette Dion, Guy Harvey and her son Pierre, and recorded the demos of 7 songs of this work which he presented, with a summary of the scenario, to René Angelil. The latter was very interested but, slyly struck by the disease, Daniel unfortunately did not have time to finish his work.
Tuesday December 4, 2007, after he had completed a day of studio work for a Mario Lirette album, he returned home and at the end of the evening, a terrible gastric hemorrhage forced his urgent transport to Maisonneuve hospital -Rosemont. Struggling against the clock, the doctors managed to stabilize his condition after he had lost nearly three liters of blood. Immediately transferred to the Saint-Luc hospital of the C.H.U.M. from Montreal, he found himself in surgery to unblock the artery under the liver which, solidly obstructed, apparently forced the blood to redirect in large quantities in his lungs and his stomach. Thanks to a new technology developed precisely in Saint-Luc, the artery could be reopened and Daniel's life was saved in extremis.
The hemorrhage nevertheless caused a terrible shock to his system, to the point where temporarily, some of his organs, like the kidneys and the pancreas practically stopped working. After a few days, the doctors nevertheless noted that the operation had been successful and that Daniel seemed to be well on the way to initiating a long recovery. Over the next few days he recovered somewhat, under close surveillance, in the room assigned to him opposite the guardhouse.
A week after the surgery, his condition continued to improve and his iron morale supported him wonderfully. He gradually began to receive his friends in his room, sometimes even allowing himself to accompany them to a small living room on the first floor.
Despite his state of health described as very serious, he seemed relatively well. True to himself, humor was there and laughter burst when he entertained his guests with jokes or wacky comments. Finding the long time, he even undertook the creation of a book of musical tales for children which he said he wanted to produce upon his release. But even if his morale was good and his condition seemed to improve, to the point of allowing him to laugh and wander on the floor, the doctors insisted that notwithstanding appearances, Daniel was very sick.
He therefore spent the day before, the day and the day after Christmas at the hospital center surrounded by his wife Diane and his relatives, repeating that he was fine and that he was very likely to return home soon. Alas, two days later, on December 28, at the end of the evening, the "tip" placed surgically in the artery of his liver sagged under pressure and a new hemorrhage suddenly occurred.
He was immediately taken to the operating room where the doctors had to perform new emergency surgery to correct the problem. Twelve hours later, without anyone being able to expect it, a third hemorrhage occurred, this time terribly violent and it took more than ten hours of hard work to control it. Back in intensive care, Daniel then fell into a deep coma and never came out.
Ten days later, on Tuesday January 8, 2008, at 11:25 pm, exhausted by the ordeal, his heart stopped beating and he flew away slowly to join his father Lucien, his professor André Mathieu and several others whom he admired so much. Rachmaninov and Beethoven.
We will always remember this extraordinary man who, during his too short stay on Earth, spent most of his time sowing happiness around him.
Eugène L. Bérubé
This document has been translated from french with Google translate
This document has been translated from french with Google translate