Non, je ne regrette rien

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"Non, je ne regrette rien" (French pronunciation: ​[nɔ̃ ʒə nə ʁəɡʁɛtə ʁjɛ̃], meaning "No, I regret nothing") is a French song composed by Charles Dumont, with lyrics by Michel Vaucaire. It was written in 1956, and is best known through Édith Piaf's 1960 recording, which spent seven weeks atop the French Singles & Airplay Reviews chart.[1]

Piaf dedicated her recording of the song to the French Foreign Legion.[2] At the time of the recording, France was engaged in a military conflict, the Algerian War (1954–1962), and the 1st REP (1st Foreign Parachute Regiment) — which backed the failed 1961 putsch against president Charles de Gaulle and the civilian leadership of Algeria – adopted the song when their resistance was broken. The leadership of the Regiment was arrested and tried but the non-commissioned officers, corporals and Legionnaires were assigned to other Foreign Legion formations. They left the barracks singing the song, which has now become part of the French Foreign Legion heritage and is sung when they are on parade.[3]


The rhymes of the words echo the rhythm of the melody following typical French meter, where words almost always stress the final syllable, in iambic and anapestic compositions. A literal translation is unable to maintain the internal harmony of lyric and tune, since English words usually stress an earlier syllable and are most often suited to trochaic (DA-da-DA-da) and dactylic (DA-da-da-DA-da-da) meter. A variety of English language versions have been recorded. Discussion of their merits is ongoing.[4] The superlative, all-encompassing object arousing the transcendent emotions of the lover singing the song, and the good and bad that the lover has experienced are rendered by the use of the impersonal pronoun (ni le bien qu'on m'a fait / ni le mal: literally neither the good that one did to me / nor the bad; but the construction is usually translated with the passive voice, neither the good that was done to me / nor the bad).[5]

Other recordings[edit]

The song has been recorded by many other performers, including :

Other languages[edit]

  • "Ne oplakujem" (Croatian) by Tereza Kesovija in 1962.
  • "Ne oplakujem" (Croatian) by Ana Štefok in 1964.
  • "Ne, ne žalim ni za čim" (Serbian) by Lola Novaković in 1964.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Archives on "InfoDisc" site. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  2. ^ Cooke, James J. (1990). "Alexander Harrison, Challenging de Gaulle: The O.A.S. and the Counterrevolution in Algeria, 1954–1962". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Boston: Boston University African Studies Center.
  3. ^ While the officers were interned, they sang a variant of the song using lyrics relevant to their situation, which was recorded and is now available on YouTube. Video on YouTube
  4. ^ apis, tag (8 November 2009). "Edith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien discussion thread". Song Meanings Lyrics website. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  5. ^ amw1978, tag (26 February 2010). "Edith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien discussion thread". Song Meanings Lyrics website. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Johnston, Philip (16 March 2004). "It ain't over till the Home Secretary sings". The Daily Telegraph. 
  8. ^ McWilliams, Ed (28 February 2002). "Princen sided with people" (Letter from Ed McWilliams, former US foreign Service Officer). The Jakarta Post. 
  9. ^ "La Haine – Cut Killer "Nique La Police"". YouTube video. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Inception Music Comparison.". YouTube video. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Inception soundtrack created entirely from Edith Piaf song.". The Guardian. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 

External links[edit]