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F. R. David
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Background information
Birth name Elli Robert Fitoussi
Also known as Robert Fitoussi
Born (1947-01-01) 1 January 1947 (age 76)
Ferryville, French Tunisia
Origin Paris, France
  • Musician
  • singer
  • composer
  • Vocals
  • bass
  • guitar
Years active 1963–present
Associated acts Les Variations, Vangelis, Les Trèfles

Elli Robert Fitoussi (born 1 January 1947), better known as F. R. David, is a French musician. He is best known for his 1982 hit single "Words".


F. R. David was born Elli Robert Fitoussi in Menzel Bourguiba, then in the French protectorate of Tunisia, to a Tunisian Jewish family. In Paris, David began his music career as Robert Fitoussi. He first performed with French garage band Les Trèfles. After one EP, they mutated into Les Boots, but achieved very little commercial success. Adopting his new stage name, he went solo in 1967 and recorded some orchestral pop psych with Michel Colombier, including a version of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" ("Il Est Plus Facile"). He enjoyed minor hits with the Éric Charden penned "Symphonie" and a cover of the Bee Gees' "Sir Geoffrey Saved the World", but this success did not last. He then created Aztec Records with Sonopress & Carrer and started producing with Michael Haubrich and they wrote and produced several groups. The first was called Cockpit, followed by David Cast, Doc & Prohibition Group, Ragga, Alain Maria, Freddy Meyer, and DD Daughterdydawn with Vangelis Papathanassiou.

During the early 1970s, David formed the progressive rock group David Explosion but their one album was not a success. He was a guitarist for Vangelis in the early 1970s. With Vangelis, he also appeared as vocalist on some of his early 1970s albums. David's voice is also heard on the 1974 single "Who" by Vangelis under the name 'Odyssey'. David then joined French rock band Les Variations, appearing on their final album Café De Paris (1975), which featured an early rock-disco crossover "Superman, Superman". When the band broke up, he went solo again. His personal "trademarks" are his sunglasses and his guitar (a white Fender Stratocaster).

His most recognised song was his hit "Words" in 1982, which sold eight million records worldwide, topped various charts around Europe in late 1982, and reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart in spring 1983, surpassing a rival version by 1960s hitmakers the Tremeloes, and going on to becoming the 22nd best-selling single in the UK during 1983. The song appears in the Oscar-nominated film for Best Picture, Call Me by Your Name. The song is a catchy, slightly plaintive synth-led mid-tempo ballad sung in a slender, high-pitched voice.

During the 1990s, he took time out from his own music career and focused on writing and composing for other well known artists. David released another album, Words – '99 Version in 2000 which contains mostly covers. In 2009, he released the album Numbers, which was in collaboration with other musicians and featured songs that David himself most preferred.

Between 2010 and 2011, he went on a national French tour of 52 concerts.


Studio albums

Title Year Peak positions
Words 1982 13 46
Long Distance Flight 1984
Reflections 1987
Voices of the Blue Planet (with Yoann Marine) 1998
Words – '99 Version 1999
The Wheel 2006
Numbers 2008
Midnight Drive 2013
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums

  • Rocker Blues (1986, Argentina only)
  • Greatest Hits (1991)
  • Best of F. R. David (2000)
  • Songbook (2003)


Title Year Peak positions Album
"Black Jack" 1981 (Single only)
"Words" 1982 2 12 1 1 2 62 1 Words
"Pick Up the Phone" 1983 26
"Music" 71
"I Need You" 33 (Single only)
"Play a Little Game"
"Gotta Get a Move On"
"Sand Dunes"
"Long Distance Flight" 1984 Long Distance Flight
"This Time I Have to Win"
"Dream Away"
"Sahara Night" 1986 Reflections
"Sun" 1987
"Don't Go"
"Words" (1989 remix) 1989 (Single only)
"I'll Try to Love Again" 1992
"Your Love Shines" 2018
"Paris Is Her Home"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Discography in other formations

with Les Trèfles
  • Sont ils innocent? (EP, 1965)
with Les Boots
  • "Laissez briller le soleil"/"Trop tard"/"Le cerf-volant"/"Demain" (EP, 1966)
  • "Les gens sont méchants"/"Ali Baba"/"Vingt ans"/"Twen" (EP, 1966)
  • Tout Va Bien (Compilation, 1997)
with Cockpit
  • Cockpit (album, 1971)
  • "Fifi"/"Father Machine" (single, 1971)
  • "Bright Tomorrow"/"Lena, Lena" (single, 1971)
  • "Mister Hardy"/"8 Days and a Wake Up" (single, 1972)
with Les Variations
  • Café de Paris (album, 1975)
with King of Hearts
  • Close, but No Guitar (album, 1978)
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