I don't listen to Radio 3 much these days, but I couldn't resist Sunday evening's profile of the quintessential French chanteuse and eyeliner icon, Barbara, who holds the proud title of Most Played Artist on my iPod.
Norman Lebrecht travelled to Paris to meet some of those who knew her, considering how and why she became a national treasure, and discussing the dark and painful past lying behind her timeless, compelling songs.
It's perhaps not the ideal introduction to Barbara if you've never heard of her, but a fascinating programme nevertheless - who knew the former president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Jacques Attali, wrote a song for her, for example? What emerges most of all is how deeply her music touched so many different people.
As with so many music documentaries, the programme (available on the iPlayer until 25 December) is too short to fit in much actual music, so here are a few videos:
This mini-documentary compiles early performance footage of some of Barbara's best-loved songs, and includes a rare look inside L'Ecluse, the club where she made her name. The songs include J'ai troqué, Dis, quand reviendras-tu?, Ma plus belle histoire d'amour, Une petite cantate, Nantes, and Göttingen:
Here are a few of the songs featured in Radio 3's documentary:
Barbara never seemed to be a 'young' person. She plugged away anonymously for years before her first real professional success at the age of thirty. Despite the inevitable vocal changes, she carried on performing and recording right up to her death in 1997 at the age of 67. Here she sings the iconic L'aigle Noir for a devoted Paris audience in 1987:
And this is her last recording, Il me revient, made in 1996. Some of the accompanying footage was shot in her home: