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Tania, Denise Jay, and Hugette Hélia were early stage names used by the famed French singer and entertainer Edith Gassion (1915–1963) before she became Edith Piaf. Her new name was given her (1935) by nightclub owner Louis Leplée. He wanted to call her ‘Moineau’ [sparrow], but this name was already is use, as ‘La Môme Moineau [Kid Sparrow], by Lucienne Garcia, so he had to think of something else. The nearest suitable alternative was the French slang word for ‘sparrow’ [piaf], so that was what the ‘little sparrow of Paris’ came to be called.
Room, A. (1981), ‘Name Stories’, Naming Names, p.132
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