Dominique

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"Dominique"
Single by Soeur Sourire
from the album The Singing Nun
B-side Entre Les Étoiles
Released 1963
Format 7" vinyl
Genre Folk
Length 2:53
Label Philips Records
Writer(s) Jeanine Deckers

"Dominique" is a 1963 French language popular song, written and performed by Jeanine Deckers of Belgium, better known as Sœur Sourire or The Singing Nun. "Dominique" is about Saint Dominic, a Spanish-born priest and founder of the Dominican Order, of which she was a member (as Sister Luc-Gabrielle).[1] The English-version lyrics of the song were written by Noël Regney.[2] In addition to French and English, Deckers recorded versions in Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese and Portuguese.

"Dominique" reached the top ten in eleven countries in late 1963 and early 1964, topping the chart in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. It reached the Top 5 in Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Australia and South Africa, with the song making it into the lower reaches of the Top 10 in the Netherlands, West Germany and the United Kingdom. The song reached and stayed at #1 on WLS for the last three weeks of November, then both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and "easy listening chart" (since renamed the Adult Contemporary chart) for the four weeks in December, of 1963. It was the second foreign language song to hit #1 on the Hot 100 in 1963, the first being "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto.[3] For the next ten years or so, although there were a number of hits with most of the vocals in a language other than English (e.g., The Sandpipers' "Guantanamera," Rene & Rene's "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero," etc.), no other purely foreign language song reached the Hot 100's top 40 until the Spanish language hit "Eres tú (Touch The Wind)," which entered the top 40 on 16 February 1974 and peaked at #9 on 23-30 March 1974.[4]

Deckers never again reached the same success and continued to lead a colourful, but tragic life. She and her companion of ten years, Annie Pescher, both committed suicide in 1985, as a result of financial and tax problems stemming from the recording of the song.[5]

"Dominique" outsold Elvis Presley during its stay on the Billboard Hot 100; it was the second to last #1 hit before the British Invasion.

The song[edit]

"Dominique" became a worldwide hit in 1963 and was the first, and only, Belgian number one hit single in the American Billboard charts. It is remembered chiefly for its refrain, which goes:

Domi-nique -nique -nique s'en allait tout simplement,
Routier, pauvre et chantant.
En tous chemins, en tous lieux,
Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu,
Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu.

A literal English translation is:

Domi-nique -nique -nique went about simply,
a poor singing traveller.
On every road, in every place,
he talks only of the Good Lord,
he talks only of the Good Lord.

The lyrics of the chorus of Regney's English-language translation are:

Domi-nique -nique -nique, o'er the land he plods along,
And sings a little song.
Never asking for reward,
He just talks about the Lord,
He just talks about the Lord.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1963/1964) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[6] 1
Canadian Singles Chart[7] 1
Danish Singles Chart[8] 4
Dutch Singles Chart[9] 6
German Singles Chart[10] 7
Irish Singles Chart[11] 4
New Zealand Hit Parade[12] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[13] 2
South African Singles Chart[14] 5
Swedish Singles Chart[15] 12
UK Singles Chart[16] 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[3] 1

Cover versions[edit]

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

  • In the 1966 film The Singing Nun, about Deckers, Debbie Reynolds, playing the title role, sings an English-language version of the song (with different lyrics than Deckers' English-language version).
  • In the 1987 Married With Children episode "Thinnergy," "Dominique" is one of several songs Peg (Katey Sagal) sings in an attempt to annoy Al (Ed O'Neill).
  • It was used in the 1990 film Mermaids with Cher.
  • The song was referenced in The Simpsons episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love" (1992), where Milhouse van Houten visits his girlfriend in an all-girls convent school. A nun playing guitar and singing "Dominique" passes along, followed by several equally happy little girls. The nun's character voice was provided by cast member Maggie Roswell, who knew none of the song's actual French lyrics and instead made up her own.[19]
  • In 1999, it was sung in Everybody Loves Raymond by Robert and Raymond when they learn Debra's sister is becoming a nun.
  • In 2009, the song was used in the third series premiere of British teen drama Skins.
  • In 2009, it was also used in Mad Men in the episode "The Color Blue," when Don Draper walks into Suzanne Farell's apartment for the second time.
  • In 2012, the song is featured prominently in US anthology series American Horror Story: Asylum, the events of which take place in 1964. The original Belgian French version of the song is playing over and over in the common room of the insane asylum, and the inmates are punished if they disrupt or stop the song from playing.

Samples[edit]

  • The musician Poe used a sample of the song in her album Haunted, on the track "House of Leaves."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dominique, by the "Singing Nun", Lyrics and Music. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on January 25, 2009
  2. ^ Noel Regney, 80; Wrote Favorite Christmas Tune, Hit Song for Singing Nun By Dennis Mclellan. November 30, 2002 for The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Famous Belgians, Jeanne Deckers. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1990). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Seventies (12 January 1974 through 4 May 1974). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-076-8. 
  5. ^ The Singing Nun's Story Entertainment Weekly, EW.com. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ http://dutchcharts.nl
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ [6]
  13. ^ [7]
  14. ^ [8]
  15. ^ [9]
  16. ^ [10]
  17. ^ [11]Carátulas Venezuela, Retrieved on October 7, 2013.
  18. ^ Sandler & Young CD Collection. Retrieved on January 25, 2009
  19. ^ Jean, Al. (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "Bart's Friend Falls in Love." [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I'm Leaving It Up to You" by Dale & Grace
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
December 7, 1963 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"There! I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton
Preceded by
"I'm Leaving It Up to You" by Dale & Grace
"Billboard" Easy Listening number-one single by
The Singing Nun

December 7, 1963 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"There! I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton