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"J'attendrai" (French for "I Will Wait"[1]) is a popular French song recorded by Rina Ketty in 1938. It is a translation of the Italian song "Tornerai" (Italian for "You Will Return"[2]) composed by Dino Olivieri[3] (music) and Nino Rastelli (lyrics) in 1933, inspired from the Humming Chorus of Puccini's Opera "Madame Butterfly" ; the French lyrics were written by Louis Poterat.[4] The song was also recorded in German under the title "Komm zurück", in Czech as "Věřím vám", in Swedish as "Blott för dig", in Polish as "Czekam cię" (with lyrics translated by Andrzej Włast) and in Lithuania as "Ak, sugrįžk" (with lyrics translated by Adelė Lenartavičienė).

Achieving great popularity in its day, the song has since come to be seen as emblematic of the start of World War II.

Other recordings[edit]

Hot Clubs and Gypsy Jazz[edit]

J'attendrai has also been recorded by the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Tino Rossi, Tchavolo Schmitt, Lucien Moreno, and many others.[5][6]

Inspired by Django Reinhardt's version, both The Hot Club of Detroit, The Hot Club of San Francisco, as well as Hot Club Sandwich all have their own gypsy-jazz covers of "J'attendrai".

Raquel Bitton[edit]

French singer Raquel Bitton sings "J'attendrai" on her album Boleros.

Mieczysław Fogg[edit]

A Polish cover of this song, entitled "Czekam cię", with lyrics by Andrzej Włast, was recorded twice by Mieczysław Fogg - the first recording was made in 1939 and released by Syrena Rekord under catalog number 2294.[7] A second rendition of this song was recorded about 1961 as a part of medley, and was issued on several LPs.[8][9][10]


A more recent popular version was recorded by Dalida for her 1975 album J'attendrai. The following year, she covered the song again for her disco album Coup de chapeau au passé: that version reached the Dutch charts on February 21, 1976. It spent four weeks on the charts and as # 9 in one week.[11]

Antonella Ruggiero[edit]

A recent version of this song was recorded by Italian singer Antonella Ruggiero on the album Souvenir d'Italie, released in 2007, and currently available on iTunes.

Vicky Leandros[edit]

In 2010 Greek singer Vicky Leandros recorded this song in a new German version entitled "Wenn Du Gehst" ("When you leave"), which is included in her album Zeitlos ("Timeless").

Other artists and usage in popular culture[edit]

The Rina Ketty recording appears in the German movie Das Boot (The Boat) by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Jürgen Prochnow. The commander asks the hydrophone operator to play it during a quiet moment on patrol.

The intro of "J'attendrai" is also heard in a sleeping quarters of the underground barracks of Fort Eben-Emael. The room shows visitors what sleeping quarters of regular soldiers looked like in 1940, when Belgium was attacked by Nazi-Germany.

J'attendrai is the main song in the Arch of Triumph, a 1985 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Lesley-Anne Down.

Canadian singer Jill Barber covered the song in her French album Chansons,' which was released in 2013.[12]

The song was used in a French television commercial for Renault in 2007.


  1. ^ LEO Dict: declination table of attendre
  2. ^ LEO Dict: declination table of tornare
  3. ^ IMDB: Dino Olivieri
  4. ^ Rina Ketty: profile
  5. ^ "J'attendrai - 2 versions", musicMe.
  6. ^ "Moreno (9) – Yochka - Musicien Manouche D’aujourd’hui", Discogs.
  7. ^ Tomasz Lerski (2004). Syrena Record - pierwsza polska wytwórnia fonograficzna - Poland's first recording company - 1904-1939. New York, Warszawa: Karin. Label of company from 1920 to 1929. ISBN 978-83-917189-0-2.
  8. ^ L0351 by Polskie Nagrania "Muza"
  9. ^ XL0272 by Polskie Nagrania "Muza"
  10. ^ PNCD0662 by Polskie Nagrania "Muza"
  11. ^ dutchcharts.nl - Dalida - J'attendrai
  12. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]