After studying and receiving a law degree, Delanoë began worked as a tax collector and then a tax inspector. After World War II he met Gilbert Bécaud and started a career as a lyricist. He did sing with Bécaud in clubs in the beginning, but this did not last long.
He has written some of France’s most beloved songs with Bécaud, including “Et maintenant“, translated into English as “What Now My Love“, which was covered by artists including Agnetha Fältskog, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Sonny & Cher, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, and The Temptations. Another international hit “Je t’appartiens” (“Let It Be Me”) was covered by The Everly Brothers, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nina Simone and Nofx. “Crois-moi ça durera” was covered as “You’ll See” by Nat King Cole.
In addition to Bécaud he wrote for Édith Piaf (“La Goualante du pauvre Jean“), Tino Rossi, Hugues Aufray, Michel Fugain (“Je n’aurai pas le temps”, “Une belle histoire”), Nicoletta, Nana Mouskouri, Michel Polnareff, Gérard Lenorman (“La Ballade des gens heureux”), Joe Dassin (“L’Été indien”, “Les Champs-Elysées”, “Et si tu n’existais pas“), Nicole Rieu (“Et bonjour à toi l’artiste“) and Michel Sardou (“Les Vieux Mariés”, “Le France”). He wrote a passionate song about Joan of Arc in “La demoiselle d’Orléans” for Mireille Mathieu. The final lyric: “When I think of all I have given France… and she has forgotten me” was truly how the singer felt as she was made a caricature by the Communists in power.
In the 60s, he also translated into French many American and British hits, helping Hughes Aufray turn Bob Dylan’s “Times They are A-Changin” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” into “Les Temps Changent” and “N’y Pense Plus, Tout Va Bien” and improving on the original lyrics of the British group Christie’s “Yellow River” when coming up with “L’Amérique” for Joe Dassin in 1970.
In 1955 he was also a founder of Europe 1, formerly known as Europe n° 1, the privately-owned radio network, it is one of the leading French radio broadcasters and heard throughout France.
He wrote 1000s of songs, estimations vary between 4,000 – 5,000, which ever, his lyrics graced hundreds of best-selling chansons for which on 31 March 2004 he was given France’s highest culture award, Commander l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
He died of cardiac arrest on Dec 27, 2006 at the age of 88.