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]

The composer Charles Dumont tells in the book Edith Piaf, Opinions publiques, by Bernard Marchois (TF1 Editions 1995), that Michel Vaucaire's original title was "Non, je ne trouverai rien" and that the song was meant for the popular French singer Rosalie Dubois. But thinking on Edith he changed the title to "Non, je ne regrette rien".

According to journalist Jean Noli in his book Edith (Éditions Stock 1973), on October 24, 1960, when Charles Dumont and Michel Vaucaire visited Piaf's home at Boulevard Lannes in Paris, she received them very impolitely and unfriendly. Dumont had several times tried to offer Piaf his compositions, but she disliked them and had refused them - the standard was too low according to her. She was furious that her housekeeper Danielle had arranged a meeting with the two men without informing her. So she let them wait an hour in her living room before she appeared. "As you can see I am extremely tired", she said to them very irritated. "Hurry up, only one song! Quick to the piano, go ahead!" she commanded. Nervous and perspiring Dumont sang the song in a low voice. When he finished there was a big silence waiting for Piaf's verdict. "Will you sing it again?" asked Piaf in a sharp voice. When he was hardly halfway she interrupted him. "Formidable [Fantastic]," she burst out. "Formidable," she repeated, "this is the song I have been waiting for. It will be my biggest success! I want it for my coming performance at L'Olympia!" "Of course, Edith, the song is yours," said Vaucaire, delighted.

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]

Lyrics[edit]

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]

  • "Nej, jag ångrar ingenting" (Swedish) by Anita Lindblom in 1961.
  • "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.
  • "Nej, jag ångrar ingenting" (Swedish) by Gun Sjöberg in 1966.
  • "Ne,ni mi žal" (Slovenian) by Aleš Polajnar in 2014

In popular culture[edit]

References[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]