Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime… moi non plus“
What’s that French song with all the whispering that sounds really sexy? Well, it’s “I love you… I don’t anymore” by the provocative Serge Gainsbourg and his musical partner (and love interest at the time) Jane Birkin.
Here’s the original video from 1969.
Charles Aznavour – “Que c’est triste Venice“
Aznavour’s English version of his classic “Que c’est triste Venice” may not be the best (because of the translated lyrics, his strong accent, etc.), so I recommend listening to them all: the original French, Spanish, and Italian versions are just wonderful and the lyrics are different -but they all feature that marvelous music.
Edith Piaf – “Non, je ne regrette rien“
Who hasn’t heard Edith Piaf? “La Môme” has reached younger audiences thanks to Marion Cotillard’s role in the film of the same name, translated as “La vie en rose” for worldwide audiences.
No-one else can sing “No, I don’t regret anything” like she did.
Vanessa Paradis – “Joe le taxi“
Singer and actress Vanessa Paradis (also famous for having been married to Johnny Depp) recorded this song when she was just 14 years old.
It became a huge hit, topping the singles chart in France for 11 weeks and, uncommonly for a French-language song at the time, was released in the UK the following year where it peaked at number three
Stromae – “Alors on danse“
“Alors on danse” (So we dance) by Belgian musician Stromae reached number one in more than 15 countries, from his home country to Russia, also becoming successful in North America after being released in Canada.
It was the most-played Francophone (not only from France but in French) single of 2010 all around the world.
Claude François – “Comme d’habitude“
Outside of France, Paul Anka with his touching lyrics and Frank Sinatra with his incredible voice have “destroyed” (in a good way) Claude François’s romantic classic.
“My way” is one of the most famous songs of all time but “Comme d’habitude” (As usual) is still standing strong in its home country, where several artists such as Matt Pokora (a judge on the French version of The Voice) keep making covers.