French-born guitarist Claude Ciari had a hit in more than 40 countries with his 1964 recording of the Latin-flavoured La Playa. The song has since become a standard for easy listening guitarists, particularly those from Europe and Asia.
Ciari has lived in Japan since the 1970s. He married a Japanese woman and became a Japanese citizen. Ciari even ran (unsuccessfully) for a seat in the upper house of Japan's parliament. He has not performed in France for more than 30 years. For a more detailed biography of Ciari, visit the Allmusic Guide.
Ciari's albums were widely popular in Europe in the 1960s and some of them were issued by Capitol Records in Canada. A couple were also released on Musicor in the U.S. His more recent recordings have all come on Japanese CDs, so naturally they are quite pricey.
La Premier Pas (The First Step) is taken from a 2005 Japanese compilation, Best Collection. It's a cover of a 1974 hit by French singer and composer Claude-Michel Schonberg. Grab the song below.
La Premier Pas
Amazon and eBay both have some of Claude Ciari's CDs for sale, but most are Japanese imports that start at about $30. One of the few reasonable exceptions is Ciari's Best, a 24-track collection of his '60s recordings issued by Magic Records in France.
For those of you who prefer downloads (an/or lower prices) there are several dozen Ciari albums available on iTunes and other sites.
Ciari himself uploaded a video to YouTube of a 2006 dinner show in Japan in which he played his most popular recording, La Playa.