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Single by Sœur Sourire
from the album The Singing Nun
B-side"Entre Les Étoiles"
ReleasedOctober 1963[1]
Format7" vinyl
StudioPhilips Studios, Brussels
Songwriter(s)Jeanine Deckers

"Dominique" is a 1963 French language popular song, written and performed by Jeannine 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).[2] The English-version lyrics of the song were written by Noël Regney.[3] In addition to French and English, Deckers recorded versions in Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

It was a top selling record in 11 countries in late 1963 and early 1964.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Dominique" reached the Top 10 in 11 countries in late 1963 and early 1964, topping the chart in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It reached the Top 5 in Norway, Denmark, Ireland 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 No. 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. 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", René y René's "Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero", etc.), no other purely foreign language song reached the Billboard 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 No. 9 on 23–30 March 1974.[4] "Dominique" outsold Elvis Presley during its stay on the Billboard Hot 100; it was the second to last No. 1 hit before the British Invasion.

Deckers' personal life[edit]

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]

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.


Chart (1963/1964) Peak
Argentina Singles Chart[6] 1
Australian Singles Chart[7] 1
Canadian Singles Chart[8] 1
Danish Singles Chart[9] 2
Dutch Singles Chart[10] 6
German Singles Chart[11] 7
Irish Singles Chart[12] 4
New Zealand Hit Parade[13] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[14] 2
South African Singles Chart[15] 5
Swedish Singles Chart[16] 12
Swiss Hitparade[17] 4
Uruguay Singles Chart[18] 2
UK Singles Chart[19] 7
US Billboard Hot 100 1
Venezuela Singles Chart[6] 1

Cover versions[edit]

  • Mary Ford recorded an English-language version that was released in November 1963 by Calendar Records.
  • Sister Adele (a.k.a. Madelaine) also recorded a cover version of the song in 1963, which was released on Diplomat Records.[20]
  • The Cuban artist La Lupe, the Mexican artist Angélica María, and the Venezuelan artist Mirla Castellanos[21] recorded Spanish language versions of this song.
  • The Brazilian singer Giane recorded a Brazilian Portuguese version of this song.
  • Spike Jones recorded a version that combined "Dominique" with "When the Saints Go Marching In", merging both the melodies and the styles of the two songs.
  • Tommy Roe recorded an English version of the song for his U.S. album release, "Something for Everybody" in 1964.[22]
  • Sandler and Young revived the song in late 1966,[23] a version that appeared on the Billboard easy listening chart. The performance was a medley including other religious-themed songs including "Deep River" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen".
  • The Czech singer Judita Čeřovská covered this song in 1964 under the name "Dominiku".

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).
  • The song is heard in the 1985 film Heaven Help Us.
  • 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.[24]
  • 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.
  • In season 2 of episode 20 (titled 'Rock n Roll Fantasy') of Just the Ten of Us, it is sung by Heather Langenkamp, who played Marie Lubbock. It originally aired April 28, 1989.
  • In the season 2 episode of the science fiction series Dark Matter, entitled "All the Time in the World", it is sung by Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer. Lemke, who is fully bilingual, plays a character who is caught in a time loop similar to "Groundhog Day" and spends his time learning French from the spaceship's android.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Dominique, by the "Singing Nun", Lyrics and Music. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on January 25, 2009
  3. ^ 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.
  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. ^ Purtell, Tim (1992-12-18). "The Singing Nun". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  6. ^ a b Billboard Magazine, May, 1964. Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  7. ^ Billboard - Google Livres. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Billboard Magazine, February, 1964. Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  10. ^ Steffen Hung (2015-02-21). "Dutch Charts". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  11. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". 2001-01-22. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  12. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  13. ^ "flavour of new zealand - Home". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Sœur Sourire - Dominique". Archived from the original on 2015-03-24. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  15. ^ Brian Currin (2003-05-25). "South African Rock Lists Website - Hits 1964". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  16. ^ "Bästa låtar 1963". 1963-12-14. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  17. ^ Billboard Magazine, May 2, 1964. Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  18. ^ Billboard Magazine, June 6, 1964. Billboard. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  19. ^ "UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". 2000-03-16. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Carátulas Venezuela: Mirla Castllanos". August 19, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Sandler & Young CD Collection Archived 2008-12-10 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on January 25, 2009
  24. ^ 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]