FIRE by GUY SKORNIK

FRENCH POP LYRICS


Guy Skornik was just 19 when he released his debut EP “Les Quatre Saisons De L’Amour” which includes this song. “Fire” is a great slice of pop-psychedelia, perfect for 1967, though it wasn’t a hit. A couple of years later he wrote “Six Huit” for the actress Michèle Mercier. Also in 1969 he was one of the main members of the extraordinary Popera Cosmic project. All great stuff, but I don’t think any of it has been officially re-issued! Skornik went on to a solo career, and his albums from the Seventies have won critical acclaim.

Translation by Paraphera at Lyrics Translate, though I have made some tiny changes.

FIRE

Empire State Building,
Tunnel sous la Manche,
J'aurais voulu vivre,
Sur cette vieille Terre,
Où le ciel n'est pas de cuivre.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Pleine de Formica
Une fusée là-bas,
Un chien atomique,
Et une vieille dame avec un cœur électrique.
 
Des maisons de verre,
Des vues sur la terre,
Du silence partout,
Et des filles habillées d'argent jusqu'au coup.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Y'a plus de nation,
Plus de religion,
Tous les hommes sont frères,
Mais dans leurs cœurs, il n'y a plus de passion.
 
Leurs yeux sont éteins,
Le soleil est mort,
Et si Dieu existe,
Il a dû retourner sur la terre de ses fils.
 
Fusée pour la Terre... BANG !
 
Ici tout est blanc,
Même l'amour s'apprend,
Les enfants la nuit,
Relisent leurs cours sur des livres phosphorescent.
 
Y'a trop d'autoroutes,
Il n'y a plus d'arbres,
Mais l'herbe est brûlante,
Notre soleil, c'est devenue la république.
FIRE

Empire State Building
The Channel Tunnel
I wanted to live
Upon this old Earth
Where the sky isn't copper
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
Full of Formica
A rocket over there
An atomic dog
And an old lady with an electric heart
 
The houses of glass
The sights on the earth
Silence everywhere
And the girls dressed in silver up to the neck
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
There are too many nations
Too many religions
All men are brothers
But in their hearts, there is no more passion
 
Their eyes are switched off
The sun is dead
And if God exists
He had to return to land of his sons
 
Rocket to the Earth... BANG!
 
Here everything is white
Even love is learnt
Children the night
Re-read their lessons in phosphorescent books
 
There are too many highways
There aren’t enough trees
But the grass is burning
Our sun has become the republic
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SOUVENIRS, SOUVENIRS by JOHNNY HALLYDAY

FRENCH POP LYRICS


Johnny Hallyday, one of the biggest stars of French music, died last month. Here is one of his early recordings from 1960. Like many of his records it is a reworking of an English song, though the original version by Barbara Evans is fairly obscure.
Hallyday later married Sylvie Vartan and they were effectively the king and queen of French pop, though hipsters probably preferred Jaques Dutronc and Francoise Hardy.

Thanks to Gavier at Lyrics Translate for the translation.

SOUVENIRS, SOUVENIRS

Souvenirs, souvenirs
Je vous retrouve dans mon cœur
Et vous faites refleurir
Tous mes rêves de bonheur
 
Je me souviens d'un soir de danse
Joue contre joue
Des rendez-vous de nos vacances
Quand nous faisions les fous
 
Souvenirs, souvenirs
De nos beaux jours de l'été
Lorsque nous partions cueillir
Mille fleurs, mille baisers
 
Et pour mieux garder dans ma tête
Les joies de la belle saison
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Il nous reste nos chansons
 
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Quelque part dans le matin
Où le soleil semblait rire
Tout le long de nos chemins
 
Nous n'avions au fond de nos poches
Qu'un peu d'espoir
Mais nous partions comme Gavroche
Le cœur assez bavard
 
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Vous revenez dans ma vie
Illuminant l'avenir
Lorsque mon ciel est trop gris
 
On dit que le temps vous emporte
Et pourtant ça, j'en suis certain
Souvenirs, souvenirs
Vous resterez mes copains
MEMORIES, MEMORIES

Memories, memories
I find you in my heart again
And again you make flower
All my dreams of happiness
 
I remember a night of dancing
Cheek to cheek
Our holiday meetings
When we played the fool
 
Memories, memories
Of our beautiful summer days
When we left to gather
A thousand flowers, a thousand kisses
 
And to better keep in my head
The joys of the beautiful season
Memories, memories
We still have our songs
 
Memories, memories
Somewhere in the morning
Where the sun seemed to laugh
All along our paths
 
We had in the bottom of our pockets
Only a little hope
But, we left like Gavroche*
The heart rather chatty
 
Memories, memories
You come back into my life
Lighting the future
When my sky is too grey
 
They say that time carries you away
And yet I am certain
Memories, memories
You will stay my friends

* Character from ‘Les Misérables’ – an urchin, a street child

SILENT NIGHT

EUROPEAN POP LYRICS: CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

Silent night is one of the most popular Christmas carols, and here are the English lyrics.

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

However, the original is actually in German. It was composed by the Austrian Franz Gruber who set words by Joseph Mohr. Here are the German lyrics with a more literal translation.

STILLE NACHT

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft, einsam wacht
nur das traute, hochheilige Paar
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh
SILENT NIGHT

Silent night, holy night
Everyone sleeping, awake alone
Just the faithful holy couple
Beloved child with curly hair
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

There is also a Spanish version of the lyrics, and they vary considerably from the German original. You can see them below alongside my English translation. I think it is interesting to compare the Spanish version with “El Nacimiento” from Navidad Nuestra.

NOCHE DE PAZ

Noche de paz, noche de amor
Todo duerme en derredor
Entre sus astros que esparcen su luz
Bella anunciando al niñito Jesús
Brilla la estrella de paz
Brilla la estrella de paz
SILENT NIGHT

Night of peace, night of love
Everyone around is asleep
Amongst the stars that spread their light
Beautifully heralding the baby Jesus
The star of peace shines
The star of peace shines

Finally, here is the French version. Translation from: http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=2967

DOUCE NUIT

Douce nuit, sainte nuit
Dans les cieux, l'astre luit
Le mystère annoncé s'accomplit
Cet enfant sur la paille endormi
C'est l'amour infini
C'est l'amour infini 
SWEET NIGHT

Sweet night, holy night
In the heavens, the star shines
The heralded rite has been fulfilled
This child asleep on the straw
Is infinite love
Is infinite love

SI TU GAGNES AU FLIPPER by CHANTAL GOYA

FRENCH POP LYRICS

Chantal Goya released this song in 1965. Her boyfriend is cheating on her and he won’t even let her win at pinball – brutal stuff!
Thanks to Whalebone at Lyrics Translate for the translation.

SI TU GAGNES AU FLIPPER

REFRAIN:
Si tu gagnes au flipper, 
tu as perdu mon cœur
Car je sais que tu es sorti, 
avec ma meilleure amie
 
Au stock américain, 
tu vas pour t'habiller
Tu viens faire le malin, 
en blouson chemise rayée
 
REFRAIN
 
Tes devoirs sont bâclés, 
on ne se voit plus jamais
Par les rues désertées, 
tu t'en vas pour te bagarrer
 
REFRAIN
IF YOU WIN AT PINBALL

CHORUS:
If you win at pinball, 
You have lost my heart
Because I know that you've gone out 
With my best friend
 
At the American store, 
You go to buy yourself clothes
You just try to show off, 
In your striped shirt and jacket
 
CHORUS
 
Your homework is sloppy, 
We never see each other anymore
You go through the deserted streets 
To get into fights
 
CHORUS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

To celebrate the 300th post on this blog I will look at how to sing “Happy Birthday”, arguably the most famous song in the world, in several different languages. The English original first became popular in the USA around the start of the 20th century.

English:

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear (NAME)
Happy birthday to you

Spanish:

Cumpleaños feliz
Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos todos
Cumpleaños feliz

The 3rd line means “We all wish you”. There are variants but I think it is more common to say ‘todos’ rather than the person’s name, at least in Spain.

French:

Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire (NOM)
Joyeux anniversaire

NB There is a liaison between the “x” at the end of “joyeux” and “a” at the beginning of “anniversaire”, so the “x” will be pronounced with a “z” sound.

German:

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück
Zum Geburtstag viel Glück
Zum Geburtstag liebe(r) (NAME)
Zum Geburtstag viel Glück

Der Geburtstag is masculine and zum is the contraction of ‘zu dem’ using the dative case, meaning “to you”. So the first line translates literally as “Good luck to you on your birthday”.

NB Use liebe with a female name and lieber with a male name.

PROVERBES by JAQUES DUTRONC

FRENCH POP LYRICS

Dutronc’s 3rd LP (1969) couldn’t quite match the brilliance of his first two albums. He seemed to be distancing himself from contemporary rock somewhat, happy to be a besuited outsider looking in. That said, there are still some great tracks on it, like ‘Proverbes’. As the title suggests the lyrics contain numerous French sayings, so I’ve tried to find the closest English equivalent rather than translate them literally.

e.g. Il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres: literally the cup is a long way from the lips

There is a close (if slightly archaic) English equivalent: There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip

I took much of this information from lyrics translate.

This track appears on the playlist of a Readers Recommend topic about songs with Proverbs.

PROVERBES

Ils disent que...
Il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres
Et que loin des yeux loin du cœur
Mais moi j'ai soif de ta chaleur
Et si tu ne me reviens pas j'en crève

Ventre affamé n'a pas d'oreilles
Mais moi j'ai faim et puis j'entends
J'ai faim de toi et je t'attends
Dans la nuit qui porte conseil

Ils disent que...
L'on n'est jamais trahi que par les siens
Mais moi je ne veux pas les croire
J'ai confiance en toi et mon espoir
Est de me dire que tu reviens

Une de perdue dix de retrouvées
Et que loin des yeux loin du cœur
Mais moi je ne veux t'oublier
Car mon cœur est une montre à l'heure

Je t'en supplie reviens moi, reviens
Avec toi je veux voir le matin
Car sans toi le matin est tout noir

Ils disent que...
Tout ce qui brille n'est pas or
Il faut se méfier de l'eau qui dort
Mais toi la nuit tu es ma flamme
Je veux que tu deviennes ma femme

Il faut prendre son plaisir où il se trouve
Mais mon plaisir sans toi n'existe pas
Sans toi je ne veux faire un pas
Et tous les autres me désapprouvent

Ils disent que...
C'est le temps qui fait la chanson
Et que la nuit porte conseil
Mais tu vois ils n'ont pas raison
Moi la nuit je ne dors pas je veille

Tout est bien qui finit bien
Moi je veux bien les écouter
Croire qu'ils disent la vérité
Ils disent que tu seras là demain

Je t'en supplie reviens moi, reviens
Avec toi je veux voir le matin
Car sans toi le matin est tout noir
PROVERBS

They say that...
There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip
And that out of sight is out of mind
But I'm thirsty for your heat
And if you don't return I'll burst

There's no reasoning with a starving man
But I'm hungry and I'm still listening
I'm hungry for you and I'm waiting for you
Sleeping on my decision

They say that...
It's those closest to you who betray you
But I don't want to believe it
I have belief in you and my hope
Is to tell myself that you will return.

There are plenty of fish in the sea
And out of sight is out of mind
But I don't want to forget you
Because my heart is a watch that always keeps time

I beg you to come back to me, come back
I want to see tomorrow with you
Because without you the morning is completely dark

They say that...
All that glitters is not gold
You have to watch out for the quiet ones
But you're the light in my night
I would like you to become my wife

You must take your pleasure where you find it
But my pleasure doesn't exist without you
Without you I don't want to take a step
And all the others disapprove of me

They say that...
It's not what you do it's the way that you do it
And that sleeping on it makes you wise
But you see that they are wrong
I don't sleep at night, I watch

All's well that ends well
I'd really like to listen to them
To believe that they're telling the truth
They say that you will be there tomorrow

I beg you to return to me, return
With you I want to see tomorrow
Because without you the morning is completely dark

UN AIR DU FOLKLORE AUVERGNAT by STELLA

FRENCH POP LYRICS

With France Gall featuring on German Pop Lyrics, the time seems right for a brief return to French Pop Lyrics…

Sheila was the most popular of the ye-ye girls in France, and one of her biggest hits was “Le folklore américain”. This was based on the American song “They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dog Around”, though the French lyrics don’t have much in common with the original words.

On “Un air du folklore auvergnat” Stella parodies Sheila’s hit with wonderful results.

Thanks to Mayasura at Lyrics Translate for the original translation. I have made a couple of tiny changes and added a few annotations.

UN AIR DU FOLKLORE AUVERGNAT

C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que j'avais entendu à "Salut les fouchtras"
C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que chantait Verchuren, le Dylan de là-bas
 
Certains rêvent d'aller en Amérique
Ils trouvent que c'est vraiment fantastique
New-York, ils trouvent cela excitant
On voit qu'ils ne connaissent pas Clermont-Ferrand
 
C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que j'avais entendu chanté par mon bougnat
C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que mon bougnat chantait en livrant ses boulets
 
Mon air ne parle pas de politique
Ni des dangers de la guerre atomique
Il ne juge pas des questions raciales
Car tout le monde est heureux dans le massif central
 
C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que j'avais entendu à "Salut les fouchtras"
C'était un air du folklore auvergnat
Que chantait Verchuren, le Dylan de là-bas
 
Fouuuuuchtra 
AN AUVERGNESE FOLKLORE TUNE

It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That I'd heard on "Hello, the fouchtras" (1)
It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That was sang by Verchuren, their (Bob) Dylan (2)
 
Some dream of going to America
They find that it's really fantastic
New York, they find that exciting
We see that they don't know Clermont-Ferrand (3)
 
It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That I had heard sung by my coal merchant
It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That my coal merchant sang while delivering his coal
 
My song doesn't speak of politics 
Nor the dangers of nuclear war
It doesn't judge questions of race
Because everyone is happy in the Massif Central
 
It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That I'd heard on "Hello, the fouchtras" 
It was a tune from Auvergnese folklore
That was sang by Verchuren, their (Bob) Dylan
 
Fouuuuuchtra (1)

(1) Fouchtra is slang for someone from Auvergne, but that is also sounds a bit like foutre, so it gives the impression she’s saying f**k, especially at the end of the song. Also “Salut les copains” was one of the most popular pop radio shows at the time, so “Salut les fouchtras” is presumably referencing this.
(2) Probably the lyrics are referring to André Verchuren, the virtuoso accordion player.
(3) A city in the Auvergne region.

LE GRAND VENT by LAÏS & GABRIEL YACOUB

FRENCH POP LYRICS

Gabriel Yacoub is best known as one of the founder members of the French folk-rock band Malicorne. Here he is singing one of his own songs with the trio Laïs, and the track appears on the album “Dorothea” (2001). Two versions are included, with the a capella version being by far the most haunting. Both Malicorne and Laïs have featured earlier this year on this blog.

LE GRAND VENT

REFRAIN:
Sur la mer il y a un pré
Et le grand vent y vente
Sur la mer il y a un pré
Et le grand vent y vente

Trois demoiselles y vont danser
Elles ont mangé mon coeur
Elles m'ont mis la tête à l'envers
Et m'ont montré toutes les couleurs
Du grand vent qui vente

REFRAIN

La première est vêtue de blanc
J'aurai son coeur
je ne veux qu'elle et si je mens
C'est qu'elle a mêlé les couleurs
Dans le grand vent qui vente

Je danse l'eau et les serments
La nuit entre mes mains
Les promesses des amants
Les regrets du matin
Dans le grand vent qui vente

S'il veut les trois il n'aura rien
Que le grand vent qui vente

REFRAIN

La deuxième est vêtue de bleu
J'aurai son coeur
Avec les autres si je peux
Je mêlerai les couleurs
Dans le grand vent qui vente

Je danse la joie et le doute
Les perles de rosée
Pour les arbres sur les routes
Les amitiés
Dans le grand vent qui vente

S'il veut les trois il n'aura rien
Que le grand vent qui vente

REFRAIN

La troisième est vêtue de noir
J'aurai son coeur
Je n'aurai besoin d'aller voir
Aucune autre couleur
Dans le grand vent qui vente

Je dansais la cendre et le feu
Les lendemains
Mon amant est devenu trop vieux
Et il s'éteint
Dans la grand vent qui vente

S'il veut les trois il n'aura rien
Que le grand vent qui vente

REFRAIN

Trois demoiselles sont parties
Elles ont mangé mon coeur
Et n'ont laissé que leurs habits
Mais ils ont perdu leurs couleurs
Dans le grand vent qui vente

Sur la mer il y a un pré...
THE GREAT WIND

CHORUS:
On the sea there is a meadow
And the great wind blows and blows
On the sea there is a meadow
And the great wind blows and blows

Three girls went there to dance
They consumed my heart
They blew my mind
And they showed me all the colours
Of the great wind that blows

REFRAIN

The first is dressed in white
I will have her heart
I don't want her and if I'm lying
It's because she's mixed up the colours
In the great wind that blows

I dance the water and the promises
The night in my hands
The promises of lovers
The regrets in the morning
In the great wind that blows

If he wants all three he won't get any
Because of the great wind that blows

REFRAIN

The second is dressed in blue
I will have her heart
With the others if I can
I will mix the colours
In the great wind that blows

I dance the joy and the doubt
The dewdrops
For trees on their roads
Friendships
In the great wind that blows

If he wants all three he won't get any
Because of the great wind that blows

REFRAIN

The third was dressed in black
I will have her heart
I won't need to see
Any other colours
In the great wind that blows

I danced in the ashes and the fire
And the next day
My lover became very old
And he was extinguished
In the great wind that blows

If he wants all three he won't get any
Because of the great wind that blows

REFRAIN

Three girls have left
They consumed my heart
And left only their dresses
But they had lost their colours
In the great wind that blows

On the sea there is a meadow...

LA BISE AUX HIPPIES by BRIGITTE BARDOT & SACHA DISTEL

FRENCH POP LYRICS

Do you remember Jacques Dutronc taking the piss out of hippies in a previous post? Here Serge Gainsbourg has a go at them in a song from the same year: 1967. Bardot and Distel sang it on a TV show, with Serge himself playing guitar in the background.

LA BISE AUX HIPPIES

J'aime pas De Dion
J'aime pas Bouton
J'aime pas Aston
J'aime pas Martin

REFRAIN:
Mais j'aime faire la bise
La bise aux hippies
Oui, j'aime faire la bise
La bise aux hippies

J'aime pas Arthur
J'aime pas Rimbaud
J'aime pas Edgar
J'aime pas Poe

REFRAIN

J'aime pas Edoux
J'aime pas Samoëns
J'aime pas Otis
Pas plus que Pif

REFRAIN

J'aime pas Laurel
J'aime pas Hardy
J'aime pas Le Kid
J'aime pas Charlie

REFRAIN
KISS THE HIPPIES

I don't like De Dion
I don't like Bouton (1)
I don't like Aston
I don't like Martin

CHORUS:
But I like to kiss
Kiss the hippies
Yes, I like to kiss
Kiss the hippies

I don't like like Arthur
I don't like Rimbaud
I don't like Edgar
I don't like Poe

CHORUS

I don't like Edoux (2)
I don't like Samoëns
I don't like Otis
Nor Pif (3)

CHORUS

I don't like Laurel
I don't like Hardy
I don't like The Kid (4)
I don't like Charlie

CHORUS

(1) De Dion-Bouton was a French car manufacturer, popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.

(2) Félix Léon Edoux, a 19th century engineer famous for designing lifts.

(3) Pif et Hercule – a French cartoon strip featuring a dog (Pif) and a cat (Hercule).

(4) ‘The Kid’, a film from 1921 starring Charlie Chaplin.

SIX HUIT by MICHÈLE MERCIER

FRENCH POP LYRICS

This was the B side of Mercier’s single ‘La fille qui fait tchic ti tchic’ (1969, featured recently on this blog), and I think it’s just as good as the A side. It was written by Guy Skornik, who was one of the people behind the wild album by Popera Cosmic which has been featured on this blog.

I think she is singing about a 6cm by 8cm photo of the object of her desires, and there are various references in the lyrics to photography.

SIX HUIT

Je suis sous le charme de ton six-huit
Il est tellement puissant, ton six-huit
Le négatif de mes langueurs
Apparaît en mille couleurs

J'ouvre les lèvres devant ton six-huit
Mon seul objectif, c'est ton six-huit
En besogne, tu vas très vite
Tu t'en sers bien, de ton six-huit

Oh… ton six-huit, ce n'est pas un mythe

J'ai rougi au déclic de ton six-huit
Il est tellement puissant, ton six-huit
Il y a un accord tacite
Entre mon corps et ton six-huit

Oh… ton six-huit, ce n'est pas un mythe

J'aime tes coutumes, j'aime tes rites
Toute ta force réside dans ton six-huit
Tu veux que je m'fasse toute petite
Pour toi, mon corps est insolite

Oh… ton six-huit, ce n'est pas un mythe
SIX BY EIGHT

I'm under the spell of your six by eight
It is so powerful, your six by eight
The negative of my longing
Appears in a thousand colors

I part my lips in front of your six by eight
My only goal, it's your six by eight
At work, you'll go quickly
You use it well, your six by eight

Oh… your six by eight, it isn't a myth

I blushed at the click of your six by eight
It is so powerful, your six by eight
There's a tacit agreement
Between my body and your six by eight

Oh… your six by eight, it isn't a myth

I love your customs, I love your rituals
All your strength lies in your six by eight
You want me to make myself small
To you, my body is strange

Oh… your six by eight, it isn't a myth