Comment te dire adieu? (song)

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"Comment te dire adieu?"
Single by Françoise Hardy
from the album Françoise Hardy
B-side "L'anamour"[1]
Released 1968
Genre French pop
Label Vogue
Writer(s) Serge Gainsbourg
Arnold Goland
Jack Gold

"Comment te dire adieu?" (English: "How to Say Goodbye to You?") is a French adaptation of the song "It Hurts to Say Goodbye". It was recorded by Françoise Hardy in 1968[2] and remains one of Hardy's most popular songs.


The song, originally called "It Hurts to Say Goodbye", was written by Arnold Goland and Jacob Gold and was recorded by Margaret Whiting on her album The Wheel of Hurt (1966).[3] It was also recorded by Vera Lynn in 1967; this version reached #7 in Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.[4][5] Hardy heard an American instrumental version of the song and her manager asked Serge Gainsbourg to provide suitable lyrics for it.[6] Gainsbourg's French adaptation of the original lyrics, "Comment te dire adieu?", was included on Hardy's 1968 album.[2] Hardy also recorded the song in Italian ("Il pretesto", 1968) and German ("Was mach' ich ohne dich", 1970; collected in the album Träume, 1970.) The lyrics are notable for their uncommon rhymes in "ex", within the subject of the song having a sense of "ex" as in "ex-boyfriend".

Jimmy Somerville version[edit]

"Comment te dire adieu"
Single by Jimmy Somerville featuring June Miles-Kingston
from the album Read My Lips
B-side "Tell the World"
Released October 1989
Format 7" single
Genre Pop
Length 3:35
Label London
Writer(s) Serge Gainsbourg
Arnold Goland
Jack Gold
Producer(s) Pascal Gabriel
Jimmy Somerville featuring June Miles-Kingston singles chronology
"Comment te dire adieu"
"You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"

In 1989 it was covered by former Bronski Beat and Communards singer Jimmy Somerville, as a duet with June Miles-Kingston. The song was a hit in the UK, reaching #14 on the UK singles chart, helping Somerville's solo career take off.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Comment te dire adieu (7" version) — 3:35
  2. "Tell the World" — 4:12


Country Certification Date Sales certified
France[7] Silver 1990 200,000


Chart (1989/90) Peak
Dutch Mega Top 100[8] 26
French SNEP Singles Chart[8] 3
German Singles Chart[8] 25
Irish Singles Chart[9] 3
UK Singles Chart[10] 14

Other cover versions[edit]

Apart from Jimmy Somerville, a number of artists have covered the song:

  • Walter Wanderley, a Brazilian organist, recorded an instrumental cover of the song on his album Batucada (1967).
  • Anni-Frid Lyngstad, later a member of Abba, recorded the song in Swedish as "Så synd du måste gå" (1969). It was collected on her album Anni-Frid Lyngstad (1972).
  • Aida Vedishcheva, recorded the song in Russian language as "Моя мечта" in 1974.
  • Hana Hegerová recorded the song in Czech as "Rýmováni o životě".
  • Ilona Csáková also recorded a Czech version, "Jedno Tajemství", collected in Blízká i vzdálená (1999).
  • Jane Birkin, collected on her album Versions Jane (1996).
  • Taxi Girl's frontman Daniel Darc, collected on Sous influence divine (1987).
  • Jun Togawa recorded a Japanese version, さよならをおしえて (Sayonara wo oshiete, literally "Tell me goodbye"; 1985).
  • Scottish indie group Belle and Sebastian have performed the song live in concert.
  • In 2003, the song was also covered in France by Annie and Valérie, two contestants of Star Academy 3 and included on the album Star Academy fait sa bamba.[11]
  • in 2009 Amanda Lear recorded her version for her double-cd Brief Encounters.
  • In 2012, Japanese singer Meg covered the song in French for her album La Japonaise.


  1. ^ Serge Gainsbourg, biography, RFI Musique. Accessed on line May 7, 2009.
  2. ^ a b [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Vera Lynn - Billboard Singles, Allmusic. Accessed on line May 5, 2009.
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ p. 50, Serge Gainsbourg: a fistful of gitanes: requiem for a twister, Sylvie Simmons, Da Capo Press, 2002, ISBN 0-306-81183-9.
  7. ^ French certifications (Retrieved October 3, 2008)
  8. ^ a b c "Comment te dire adieu", in various singles charts (Retrieved October 3, 2008)
  9. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved October 3, 2008)
  10. ^ "Comment te dire adieu", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved October 3, 2008)
  11. ^ Star Academy fait sa Bamba, track listing and charts (Retrieved October 3, 2008)

External links[edit]