D.L. Menard: “The Back Door”

Cajun music singer-songwriter D.L. Menard recently passed away on July 27, 2017. By all reports, Menard was a warm and engaging man who always had time for his fans. His most popular recordings include “Under the Oak Tree,” “Rebecca Ann,” “Bachelor’s Life,” “La Valse de Jolly Rogers,” and “She Didn’t Know I Was Married.” But his most endearing legacy may be “The Back Door” (“La Porte En Arrière”) which he wrote and performed for audiences around the world.

Menard was born Doris Leon Menard in Erath, Louisiana on April 14, 1932. He began performing music at the age of 17, and he met Hank Williams at the age of 18. Menard, who continued through his musical career to work as a craftsman, became a world-wide ambassador for Cajun music, so that he is sometimes called “The Cajun Hank Williams.”

“The Back Door” (“La Porte en Arrière”)

He wrote his biggest hit, “The Back Door,” during a shift working at a gas station. Menard’s song is about sneaking back home after a night of partying. It became a hit in 1962.  And music fans today recognize the song as one of the most popular Cajun songs of all time.

Menard talks about “The Back Door” and then performs it in the video below. Even if you do not recognize the title of the song, you might recognize it once you hear it. Either way, it will make you want to get up and two-step.

Menard drew inspiration for “The Back Door” from Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues.” In the audio recording below, Williams sings “Honky Tonk Blues” live at The Grand Ole Opry in 1952.

In 2014, Rolling Stone listed Menard’s “The Back Door” (“La Porte en Arrière”) as the 72nd greatest country song of all time. It was even ahead of that other wonderful Cajan classic, Harry Coates’ “Jole Blon,” which was at 99 (and which even Bruce Springsteen recorded with Gary U.S. Bonds).

What is your favorite D.L. Menard song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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