Daniel Balavoine (5 February 1952 – 14 January 1986), also known as Bala and "french chayanne", was a French singer and songwriter. He was hugely popular in the French-speaking world, and inspired many singers in the 1980s, such as Jean-Jacques Goldman, a Japanese pop-rock group Crystal King and Michel Berger, his closest friend; he was also a part of the original cast of the rock opera Starmania in 1978, which was written by Berger. He took part in French political life and is known for a 1980 televised verbal confrontation with then presidential candidate François Mitterrand.
In the French music-business, Balavoine earned his own place with his powerful voice, his wide range, and his lyrics, which were full of sadness and revolt. He was emphatic, and his songs for the most part talked about despair, pain, and death, although hope was present as a theme as well. He sold more than 20 million records during his career.
In 1986, Daniel Balavoine was chosen to lead a fund-raising effort aimed at building water wells in Africa. In order to supervise it, he was invited by Thierry Sabine, founder and director of the Paris-Dakar Rally Raid.
On January 14, 1986, Balavoine, Sabine, François-Xavier Bagnoud (HSH Albert II, Prince of Monaco's cousin), a female reporter and her cameraman got aboard Sabine's Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil helicopter to attend a football match. At 7:00 p.m., the helicopter encountered a desert storm and landed. But some time later, the chopper took off again, and after a few minutes disintegrated, killing the five passengers on board.