In honor of the French election (cringe), I decided to create a list of French covers of English language songs. Now, if the French election (another cringe) is the reason I’m scheduling this particular post for this particular day, there is a more general reason that explains why so much French music has been kicking around in my head.
Simple: spring. Warm weather and the promise of summer is always the season when I bust out the sixties French music, the ye ye songs, the music of Francoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and France Gall.
And then I stumbled on a few amazing cover songs, and so this list was born.
(And aside on politics before we get into the clean fun of music: the rising tide of problematic anti-immigrant right-wing nationalism is frightening. There, I’m done. I refer you to John Oliver).
Ahem, what was that? Ah yes, music!
Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher, Eileen
These Boots Were Made For Walking:
I’m tickled, this is adorable.
Blister in the Sun, Nouvelle Vague:
Nouvelle Vague sings in English, but their accents definitely come through. Also worth checking out is Love Will Tear Us Apart, Just Can’t Get Enough, and Ever Fallen in Love (even if my favorite cover of that is the one by Pete Yorn from Shrek 2 😛 ).
Marie Colere Marie Douceur, Marie Laforet
Paint It, Black, The Rolling Stones:
Completely unfair given that I LOVE the Rolling Stones and LOVE Paint It, Black. This is one of the discoveries that kicked off this post. Also check out her cover of Simon & Garfunkel, La Voix du Silence.
La Voix du Silence, Richard Anthony
The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel:
Or maybe this cover of The Sound of Silence is preferable? I certainly like it. Also check out Fille Sauvage, a cover of Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones. Boom. The Rolling Stones are awesome.
Les Moulins de Mon Coeur
Windmills of Your Mind, Noel Harrison:
I don’t know what to tell you, there are so many excellent French covers of this song (one of my favorites- and also one of my grandfather’s), so I just linked you to a good one by Claude Francois.
39 De Fievre
Ah yes, Fever, the canonical foxtrot music. I love that it’s been translated not only into French but into Celsius. And I’m just linking you to the sultriest one I could find, because that’s what Fever is all about. 😉
Le Penitencier, Johnny Halliday
House of the Rising Sun, The Animals:
I’m not bringing preferences into this post (even though I do prefer House of the Rising Sun) but this is quite good. I mean, they kept the instrumental tone and that really makes it.
Stolen Car, Mylene Farmer and Sting
Stolen Car, Sting:
Does this even count?
Ballade de Hollis Brown, Hugues Aufray
Ballad of Hollis brown, Bob Dylan:
Daring to cover Bob Dylan but this is pretty perfect. It has a good and haunting Western twang. I’m down.
Pleurer des Rivieres, Victor Lazlo
Cry Me a River:
I’m not over-excited about this but maybe you will be?
Garde-moi La Derniere Danse, Dalida
Save the Last Dance for Me:
All that American Rumba ballroom action. Her voice is great.
Comment Ne Pas Etre Amoureux de Vous, Dave
I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, Elvis Presley:
Ahhh, my favorite lives song!
Suzanne, Francoise Hardy
Suzanne, Leonard Cohen:
Honestly just always a fan of Francoise Hardy just as I will always be a fan of Leonard Cohen.
Les Yeux Ouverts, Enzo Enzo
Dream a Little Dream of Me:
Immediately recognizable. Lovely.
Also a quick shout out to Joe Dassin for trying to cover Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecelia. A for effort.
I have to say, the research I did for this one was quite interesting. I stumbled onto such curiosities as a Japanese cover of YMCA and a German cover of American Pie. Wow. This world really is a wonderland.
Best luck to France in the second phase of their election!
3 thoughts on “French Covers of English Language Songs”
This is great! In my 5th year of studying French and consuming French versions of familiar media is one of the best ways to just sort of get the language into my brain. I’ve been having trouble finding French versions of songs that aren’t Disney (which I have a whole separate playlist for, lol) so this was very helpful, thank you!!
I’m so glad it was helpful!
These are great – but you must add Cette Année Là by Claude François