Rokpool’s Angela Williams looks beyond the annual Eurovision Bunfight and discovers that there’s a whole world of songs in funny languagues to be found, all year round. C’mon – You Know The Words!
10. The Ketchup Song – Las Ketchup
More phonetic Spanish-English translation as a night-club punter asks the DJ for ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang. Cue confusing dance routine only known by girls.
9. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel
Heart-breaking lament from Belgian-born Brel, made famous by the English translation – ‘If You Go Away’ – by Nina Simone. Avoid if you have suicidal tendencies.
8. Comment Te Dire Adieu – Francoise Hardy
Another Gainsbourg-penned love song for the queen of Gallic cool. Later given a disco make-over by Jimmy Somerville.
7. La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf
Second entry (see below) for La Môme Piaf (the ‘little sparrow’). Just as much a part of France’s musical heritage as La Marseillaise. The song also lends its name to a film biopic of Piaf’s life.
6. Lambada – Kaoma
It’s the dance where you shove your knee between your partner’s legs and jiggle around. All well and good if you’re not 13 and trying to cop off with someone with their parents watching.
5. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf
Arguably her biggest legacy, this song is made all the more poignant given Piaf’s well documented addictions to alcohol and morphine and her premature demise.
4. Sexy Boy – Air
Debut UK single for France’s premier export. A song about the shallow nature of fashion and the unrealistic media ideal of beauty.
3. Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus) – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin
Dirty old French man stinking of Gitanes whispers sweet nothings into sultry English girl’s ear about her coming and going through his kidneys. Whatever floats your boat, love.
2. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
”I’m not a sailor, I am a captain”. Well done, mate! Fact: Valens got his grandmother to translate the words phonetically from Spanish to English.
1.Joe Le Taxi – Vanessa Paradis
Jailbait French girl sings about a saxophone-playing taxi driver who likes rum and mambo. Has anyone thought to ask where her parents are?