India-born, UK-raised singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt has passed away following a six-year fight against a debilitating neurological illness, his family has confirmed.
Sarstedt, 75, had been contending with progressive supranuclear palsy — which cumulatively affects motor function and other basic abilities — before his death. In a statement given to the BBC, the acclaimed musician's family said they were "with him to the last".
The musician is best-known for the folksy waltz of his 1969 #1 hit, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), which has endured as a worldwide favourite in the more-than-four-decades since its release.
Part of the song's longevity can be attributed to the mystery of its subject — an apparently fictional girl who escapes an impoverished upbringing in Naples to join the high-flying jet set of the era — who was popularly speculated to be based on Sophia Loren, an anecdote debunked by Sarstedt himself.
Additionally, it is well remembered for its distinct real-world lyrics, which reference historical figures such as Marlene Dietrich, Zizi Jeanmaire, Pierre Balmain, Pablo Picasso, Aga Khan and the Rolling Stones, as well as famous locations including Paris' Boulevard Saint-Michel, Saint Moritz and French Riviera resort Juan-les-Pins.
Mid-'90s Eurodance hit Where Do You Go, by La Bouche (as covered by No Mercy), is an apparent reference to the Sarstedt's song, though the two sound nothing alike. The original track itself enjoyed a late second life in 2007, when it was used in two Wes Anderson films released that year: The Darjeeling Limited and its 13-minute-long prequel, Hotel Chevalier.
Sarstedt's ailment ultimately led to his retirement several years ago, though the musician's legacy goes well beyond his best-performing release. In fact, it was only after several decades working as a singer-songwriter, during which he released 14 albums and a considerable number of singles, that Sarstedt retired from the industry in 2010, soon after his diagnosis.
His exit came two years after his penultimate studio effort, 2008's The Lost Album, which collected and re-released early work from his time in Copenhagen and "those days when I became myself, rather than a manufactured pop item", he said in 2014.
Sarstedt's final album, Restless Heart, was released in 2013.