Music Monday: Americans do love French music!

I consider myself somewhat of an expert in French pop music, but sometimes I still come across something that surprises me. Lately it’s been the discovery that there are an awful lot of classic “American” songs that were actually written and originally performed in French! Here are a few examples.

You know it as “Beyond the Sea” (made famous by Bobby Darin)


But it’s actually “La Mer” (written and performed by Charles Trenet)


You know it as “My Way” (made famous by Frank Sinatra)

But it’s actually “Comme d’habitude” (written and performed by Claude Francois)


You know it as “Seasons in the Sun” (made famous by Terry Jacks)


But it’s actually  “Le Moribond” (written and performed by Jacques Brel)


You know it as “The Good Life” (made famous by Tony Bennett)


But it’s actually “La Belle Vie” (written and performed by Sacha Distel)


You know it as “O, Holy Night


But it’s actually “Minuit chrétiens

Usually these remakes are similar in melody only. It’s pretty hard to translate song lyrics, since they’re essentially poetry. Finding an accurate translation that also fits into the meter and rhyme is nearly impossible. That being said, the original and remake versions of “The Good Life” and “Seasons in the Sun” are close. They are, at least, still about the same subject. “My Way” and “Comme d’habitude,” on the other hand, have absolutely nothing to do with one another. I guess that just goes to prove, a good song is a good song in any language!

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