Ne me quitte pas

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"Ne me quitte pas"
Song by Jacques Brel
from the album La Valse à Mille Temps
Recorded11 September 1959
Songwriter(s)Jacques Brel

"Ne me quitte pas" ("Don't leave me") is a 1959 song by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. It has been covered in the original French by many artists and has also been translated into and performed in many other languages. A well-known adaptation, with English lyrics by Rod McKuen, is "If You Go Away".


Moi, je t'offrirai des perles de pluie venues de pays où il ne pleut pas

"Ne me quitte pas" is considered by some as "Brel's ultimate classic".[1] It was written after Brel's mistress "Zizou" (Suzanne Gabriello) threw him out of her life.[2] Zizou was pregnant with Brel's child, but Brel refused to acknowledge the child as his own. Zizou later had an abortion due to Brel's actions.[2] Brel first recorded the song on 11 September 1959, and it was released on his fourth album La Valse à Mille Temps.[3] It was published by Warner-Chappell Publishing. In 1961 a Dutch-language version sung by Brel was released on the Philips label; entitled "Laat me niet alleen", with lyrics by Ernst van Altena, it was a B-side to Marieke (also a Dutch-language version).[4] Brel recorded "Ne me quitte pas" again as the title track of his 1972 album.

In a 1966 interview, Brel said that "Ne me quitte pas" was not a love song, but rather "a hymn to the cowardice of men", and the degree to which they were willing to humiliate themselves. He knew, he said, that it would give pleasure to women who assumed it was a love song, and he understood that.[5]

The lyrics "Moi, je t'offrirai des perles de pluie venues de pays où il ne pleut pas" ("I'll offer you rain pearls from lands where it does not rain") are sung to a theme borrowed from the second part, Lassan (Andante), of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 by the composer Franz Liszt.

Johnny Hallyday version[edit]

"Ne me quitte pas / La garce"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
from the album Johnny Hallyday au Zénith
B-side"La garce"
Released30 November 1984 (1984-11-30)
Johnny Hallyday singles chronology
"Rien à personne"
"Ne me quitte pas" / "La garce"
"Le Chanteur abandonné"
Music video
"La garce" on YouTube

French singer Johnny Hallyday released a live version of this song as a single in November 1984. It was recorded during his performances at Le Zénith. The song was part of his 1984 album Johnny Hallyday au Zénith.

Critical reception[edit]

Alain Wodrascka in his 2008 book Johnny Hallyday: les adieux du rock'cœur notes how Hallyday put in his 1984 cover of Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" his special vocal qualities, i.e. his vocals that are "full of sensuality and expression of physical strength of an indestructible man, who sings as if making love".[6]

Track listing[edit]

7" single Philips 880 504-7

Side 1. "Ne me quitte pas" (5:25)
Excerpt from the album Zénith no. 824 045-2
Arrangement: Éric Bouad [fr]
Side 2. "La garce" (Studio Version) (4:56)
Arrangement: Éric Bouad[7][8]

Other versions[edit]



  • 2012: Mashrou' Leila's version "ما تتركني هيك - ne me quitte pas". Indie band from Lebanon performed the cover-version at Paleo Festival Nyon – (Chapiteau / Switzerland) in 2012.
  • 2017: Mike Massy adapted the song in Arabic, Lebanese slang "ما تفل Ma Tfell / Ne Me Quitte Pas" and released it in his EP "Le Délire". Lyrics by Nami Moukheiber, Arranged by Mike Massy.


  • 1976: Onnik Dinkjian's version "Yete Heranas." Recorded by Onnik Dinkjian with John Berberian (oud) and others (all from the US) on the album "Inner Feelings of Onnik." (US release)
  • 2015: Lilit Bleyan's version "Չթողնես երբեք": Recorded at Ardini studio (Yerevan, Armenia)
  • 2018: Berge Turabian's version "Դու ինծ մի լքիր": Arrangements by Tigran Nanian on the album "Brel, Brassens, Ferré in Armenian" (US release)


  • 1980: Laurika Rauch's version "Moenie weggaan nie". Dutch artist Herman van Veen performed a cover-version in the 2000s.
  • 2011: Herman van den Berg's version "Laat my by jou bly".


  • 2008: Źmicier Vajciuškievič's version "Nie hublaj mianie" ("Не губляй мяне") was recorded on the album Toje što treba.





  • 1961: Jacques Brel's version "Laat me niet alleen"
  • 1968: Liesbeth List's version "Laat me niet alleen".
  • 2013: Brigitte Kaandorp's version "Lieve koningin", an homage to (the about to be abdicating) Queen Beatrix.[12]
  • 2014: Sjors van der Panne as "Laat me niet alleen".


The pop standard "If You Go Away", with lyrics by Rod McKuen, has been covered by many artists including Ray Charles. Different lyrics by Momus, closer to those of the original, render the song as "Don't Leave", added to all reissues of his 1986 album Circus Maximus. American duo the Black Veils translate the song as "Don't Leave Me" on their 2009 album Troubadours, which includes translations of six other French chansons. Sung by Holcombe Waller in Ryan Trecartin's "Sibling Topics (section a)" at 23:10.


West Frisian



  • 1971: Vicky Leandros in the album Pes mou pos mporeis (Tell me how you can).
  • 1979: Yiannis Parios in the LP Tha Me Thymithis (You will remember me), with the title "Mi me afinis mi" (Don't leave me, don't).
  • 1996: Haris Alexiou in her live album: Gyrizontas ton kosmo (During my world tour).
  • 2007: Yiannnis Parios' live rendition of the aforementioned song.
  • 2009: Vassilikos in the album "Vintage"




  • 1979: Hiromi Iwasaki's version "Ikanaide (行かないで)" from her album Koibito-tachi (恋人たち)


  • 1960: Nina Spirova, "Ако отидеш" (lat. "Ako otideš")




  • 1974: Simone de Oliveira (Portugal) "Não me vás deixar (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" (J. Brel – David Mourão Ferreira) in Nunca mais a Solidão
  • 1979: Altemar Dutra (Brazil) "Se Você Partir" – Se Você Partir (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (J.Brel – Romeo Nunes)
  • 1989: Raimundo Fagner (Brazil) "Não Me Deixes" – Não Me Deixes (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (J. Brel – Fausto Nilo)


  • 1973: Radmila Karaklajić's version "Если ты уйдёшь" (Melodiya, LP album "Радмила Караклаич" USSR 1973)[14]
  • 1995: Igor Ivanov's version "Если ты уйдёшь" (CDRDM 502065, CD album "Игорь Иванов – Я тебя помню", 1995)[15]
  • 2001: Mumiy Troll's version "Когда ты уйдёшь"




  • 1969: Matt Monro "No me dejes no", Album: "Todo Pasará"
  • ?: Alma Ritano "No me dejes no"
  • 1977: Angélica María "No me dejes no"
  • 1997: Sandy Aruba's salsa music version "No Me Dejes Mas"
  • 2011: Fito Páez: "Ne me quitté pás", Album: "Canciones para Aliens"




  • 2008: Mendy Cahan's version "לאָז מיך נישט אַלײן"


  • 2005: Lam Nhat Tien's version of "Ne Me Quitte Pas": Người Yêu Nếu Ra Đi in French and Vietnamese, from the album Giờ Đã Không Còn Nữa.
  • 2007: Das Blaue Einhorn's version of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" in French and German, from their album Verkauf dein Pferd – Lieder vom Halten und Lassen (2007)
  • 2014: Caro Emerald as a digital download performed in both French and English.


In popular culture[edit]

The song was used in season 1 episode 19 of the critically acclaimed TV show Person of Interest and in the final episode of Mr. Robot. It was also used in season 1 finale of The Leftovers. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" was used by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar in his sixth film, Law of Desire, in a striking performance by Brazilian singer Maysa Matarazzo. A parody of the song and the singer, as the archetypal chansonnier, was performed by Italian actor Gigi Proietti.[16] Claudio Corneiro performed a clown act with this song in Cirque du Soleil's Varekai.[17] It is also the name of an episode in the series Ramy.


  1. ^ Robine, Marc. "Quand on n'a que l'amour- Jacques Brel". Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  2. ^ a b Christian Lamet; Stan Cuesta; François Gorin; François Ducray (2007). La chanson française (in French). Paris: Scali. p. 234. ISBN 978-2350120973.
  3. ^ "Jacques Brel - N° 4". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Jacques Brel – Marieke / Laat Me Niet Alleen (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (1961, Vinyl)". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  5. ^ Dialogue between Jacques Brel and Geneviève de Vilmorin, interviewed by Emmanuel Poulet (RTL, 1966)
  6. ^ Alain Wodrascka (2008). Johnny Hallyday: les adieux du rock'cœur. Carpentier. ISBN 978-2-84167-565-4. ... à fleur de sensualité et l'expression de la force physique d'un homme indestructible, qui chante comme s'il faisait l'amour - Johnny mettra ces mêmes qualités vocales au service de sa reprise de «Ne me quitte pas» de Jacques Brel (1984)
  7. ^ "Johnny Hallyday - Ne Me Quitte Pas / La Garce". Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  8. ^ " - Johnny Hallyday - Ne me quitte pas". Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Confusion between Suzanne Langlois and Jacques Brel". Second Hand Songs. 11 May 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  10. ^ "Sting – Ne Me Quitte Pas – (live)". YouTube. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  11. ^ "Maria Gadú – Ne Me Quitte Pas – (live)". YouTube. 20 September 2009. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  12. ^ Video on YouTube
  13. ^ "Terry Jacks - If You Go Away / Me And You". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Радмила Караклаич – Радмила Караклаич (1973, Vinyl)". Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Игорь Иванов". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  16. ^ "GIGI PROIETTI - NUN ME ROMPE ER CA'". YouTube. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Varekai spotlight clown act ne me quitte pas,Cirque du Solei". YouTube. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2021.

External links[edit]