Papa Pingouin

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Luxembourg "Papa Pingouin"
Sophie et Magaly - Papa Pingouin.jpg
Eurovision Song Contest 1980 entry
Sophie Gilles, Magaly Gilles
Sophie & Magaly
Ralph Siegel, Bernd Meinunger
Pierre Delanoë, Jean-Paul Cara
Norbert Daum
Finals performance
Final result
Final points
Appearance chronology
◄ "J'ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux" (1979)   
"C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique" (1981) ►

"Papa Pingouin" (English translation: "Papa Penguin") was the Luxembourgish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980, performed in French by the French twin sisters Sophie & Magaly.

First version[edit]

With music by prolific duo Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger, who are normally associated with Germany as a composer-lyricist combination, the song is about the fantasy life of the title character - a bored penguin. The singers describe his desire to fly like a seagull and travel around the world, listing various places he visits in his imagination.

The song ends with the penguin's realisation that life "on the ice floe" is not as bad as he had thought, so he "burns his suitcase" to signify that his desire to travel is over. Sophie & Magaly also recorded a German-language version of the song, "Papa Pinguin".

The song was performed fourth on the night (following Greece's Anna Vissi And The Epikouri with "Autostop" and preceding Morocco's Samira with "Bitaqat Khub"). At the close of voting, it had received 56 points, placing 9th in a field of 19.

It was succeeded as Luxembourgish representative at the 1981 Contest by Jean-Claude Pascal with "C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique".

The "Ralph Siegel" scandal[edit]

When original singers Sophie & Magaly signed with Ralph Siegel, they were still minors and their parents were not aware of some "practices" in the show-business world. A contract was signed between Ralph Siegel and the parents, that gave only a few very small percentage of the sales to the sisters.

In April 1982, the twin-sisters appeared on French prime time TV show Droit de Réponse (TF1), and reported publicly that they got only 5000 euros each, when more than one million singles were sold. They also indicated that Ralph Siegel decided not to work anymore with the two girls, and did not want to renegotiate the deal. He alleged that the original contract was valid and nothing could be done against him.

In 2003, one of the French lyricists, Jean-Paul Cara, confirmed that the German producer never had the intention to make Sophie & Magaly a successful group. He just needed twin singers for this particular song.

Magaly died in 1996 of HIV-AIDS. Sophie suffers from high depressive syndrome and now lives a secluded life in the South of France.

Pigloo version[edit]

"Le Papa Pingouin"
Papa pingouin.jpg
Single by Pigloo
from the album La Banquise
Released 1 July 2006
Format Cd single
Digital download
Genre Pop
Length 3:09
Label Sony BMG Music
Songwriter(s) Ralph Siegel, Bernd Meinunger, Pierre Delanoë, Jean-Paul Cara
Producer(s) Christophe Berthier
Philippe Kassenbeck
Pigloo singles chronology
"Le Papa Pingouin"
"Le Ragga des pingouins"
"Papa Pingouin"
"Le Ragga des pingouins"

A remake of this song, performed by Pigloo, became a huge hit in France in 2006, reaching number 1 of the charts for three weeks. The single debuted straight at number 3 and remained on the chart for 27 weeks from 4 March to 2 September 2006, becoming the 5th best selling single in France that year. As of August 2014, it is the 105th best-selling single of the 21st century in France, with 296,000 units sold. The song was also charted on Swiss Singles Chart, where it peaked at number 24 and stayed 15 weeks.

A German version entered the local charts in February 2007.

Formats and track listings[edit]

CD single
  1. "Le Papa pingouin" — 3:09
  2. "Les Manchots et les Pingouins" (instrumental) — 3:12
Digital download
  1. "Le Papa pingouin" — 3:09

Certifications and sales[edit]

Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France[1] Platinum 15 June 2006 300,000 292,224+[2]


Chart (2006) Peak
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[3] 6
Eurochart Hot 100 5
French SNEP Singles Chart[3] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[3] 24
Chart (2007) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[4] 4
German Singles Chart[3] 6
End of year chart (2006) Position
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[5] 18
French Singles Chart[6] 5
End of year chart (2007) Position
Austrian Singles Chart[4] 39
German Singles Chart [7] 70
Preceded by
"Baila morena" by Zucchero
French SNEP number-one single
25 March 2006 - 8 April 2006 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"La Boulette" by Diam's

Sources and external links[edit]


  1. ^ 2006 certifications Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved December 13, 2007)
  2. ^ 2006 singles sales in France (Retrieved May 15, 2008)
  3. ^ a b c d "Papa Pinguin" in various singles charts (Retrieved December 13, 2007)
  4. ^ a b 2007 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved May 15, 2008)
  5. ^ 2006 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved May 15, 2008)
  6. ^ 2006 French Singles Chart Archived 2012-04-04 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved May 15, 2008)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2010-09-11.