Sing your way to French : Edith Piaf – Icône de la chanson française

Non, je ne regrette rien

Edith Piaf: French Music Icon @Pixabay

Édith Giovanna Gassion, the most iconic female singer in France, had a short, intense, agitated life full of love and desolation. A life that was not necessarily reflected and portrayed through her songs. With a thin body, clenched hands, a little black dress and a cross necklace she stood graciously on stage and sang with a unique voice, an inimitable “r” that was never equaled. “Non, je ne regrette rien”, “La foule”, “La vie en rose”, “Hymne à l’amour” are only some of her famous and remarkable songs. But who is the person behind these awe-inspiring lyrics ? 

House of Edith Piaf @Dreamstime

Born in a poor family in 1915, Edith Piaf grew up neglected by her parents. Water and hygiene were foreigners to her. After following her father for a few years in traveling circuses, she fled the family home at the age of 15 and began to sing in the street, then in musette balls. She ended up being spotted by Louis Leplée, who introduces her to the world of cabarets, where she is immediately acclaimed and appreciated by le Tout-Paris : Thus was the birth of the “Môme Piaf”. From a music hall star adored by the public, she quickly rose to the rank of international stars. 

Edith Piaf’s cemetery in Paris, Père Lachaise Cemetery (20th arrondissement) @Pixabay

Whether she is Edith or Piaf, battered by life, shattered by fate, between success and despair, the child without childhood has taken her revenge by leaving as a legacy cult songs that have given her immortality. To list a few: 

Non, je ne regrette rien : a song composed in 1956 by Charles Dumont, with lyrics written by Michel Vaucaire. Édith Piaf recorded it on November 10, 1960. She performed it for the first time in the program “Cinq Columns à la Une“, the day before her singing tour at the Olympia. When interviewed about the song Edith Piaf explains that she draws her courage from faith : “faith in everything”, her faith in life, “I believe, quite simply. I believe that things happen if we want them to. I believe that we can get out of any bad situation.” She confides that even when she is sick, she always manages to overcome hardships, “it is not possible! I can and will do it!” 

Pierre Desgraupes emphasizes that his song Non, je ne regrette rien, although written by Charles Dumont, corresponds to Piaf in every way. She herself confirms: “It’s true, I have no regrets and if I had the choice, I would choose the exact same life over and over again. When asked what she expected from love she simply answered “Whatever it gives me… the wonderful, the sad, the tragic, the extraordinary. I’ve never been disappointed.”

Hymne à l’amour : Ode to love 

La foule : The crowd 

La vie en rose : Life in Pink 

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