French folk-rock icon Renaud was the poet laureate of the urban Paris experience, illuminating the dark underbelly of the City of Light via the street-smart, politically charged slang later embraced by the hip-hop generation. Despite his subject matter, Renaud Séchan was himself the product of a middle-class background. Born in Paris' 14th arrondissement on May 11, 1952, he was one of six children born to a teacher who moonlighted writing detective thrillers. A poor student with a decided anti-authority streak, Renaud was passionate about politics from an early age, and was an active participant in the landmark student revolts of May 1968. During a month-long student sit-in at Sorbonne University, he began writing his first original songs, and after quitting school worked a series of blue-collar jobs while pursuing a career as an actor. After a stint with a theatrical troupe including future stars Coluche and Miou Miou, Renaud worked in a Paris bookstore, on occasion busking for spare change from passers-by. One day producer Paul Lederman caught him and an accordionist friend playing on a Paris street corner and invited them to perform at the CafConc, a new café and theater he was opening on the Champs Elysées. When the friend was called to serve in the military, Renaud took the stage as a solo act, performing his now-extensive repertoire of original political anthems including "Hexagone" and "Camarade Bourgeois." The CafConc made him something of a cause célèbre in Paris leftist circles, and in 1975 he issued his debut LP, Amoureux de Paname, a record steeped in the disillusionment and angst of the twentysomething generation.