French-language versions of English pop songs?
August 3, 2009 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for French-language versions of well-known English-language pop songs. Any genre or era. (Bonus points for French versions of the New Wave songs from my youth...) My wife and I are learning French together, and I think this would be a fun way to add some color to that process.
posted by jdroth to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The group -M- does a great cover of the Cure's "Close to Me". I don't know how direct the translation is, though, and part of the chorus is still in English.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 1:01 PM on August 3, 2009

New wave, you say? Try Plastic Bertrand's "Ça Plane Pour Moi," the French version of "Jet Boy Jet Girl" by Elton Motello/The Damned.
posted by ROTFL at 1:02 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Dis Lui," the French version of "Feelings" (gack)
Blondie's "Sunday Girl" en Francais
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:03 PM on August 3, 2009

The French version is the original in this case, but Laisser tomber les filles and Chick Habit?
posted by oinopaponton at 1:04 PM on August 3, 2009

Forgot to mention: I'm especially looking for songs I can download from iTunes U.S. And oinopaponton, French originals are okay. I figured some English-language pop songs started in French, so I didn't specify just French covers. :)
posted by jdroth at 1:06 PM on August 3, 2009

Well, they mostly sing in English, but Nouvelle Vague will make you feel Frenchy.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:07 PM on August 3, 2009

i won't help with your learning french, but as a study in phonetics and accents, check out the Scala and Kolancny Brothers choir - they are mostly french speakers who are covering well known pop songs and most of the singers don't speak english, so it's all done phonetically. one of my favorites is "too drunk to fuck".
posted by nadawi at 1:11 PM on August 3, 2009

damn it - yes, nouvelle vague, not scala and kolancny - i knew i was going to do that.
posted by nadawi at 1:12 PM on August 3, 2009

Comme d'Habitude is the French version (original?) of My Way..
posted by jontyjago at 1:16 PM on August 3, 2009

Jacques Brel's "Le Moribund", the song from which "Seasons in the Sun" is based, is great fun, though it's not a one-to-one translation (amusingly, the reference to infidelity was eliminated for the English translation).
posted by carrienation at 1:17 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, if you're okay with French originals, then the most famous choice would have to be Charles Trenet's La Mer/Bobby Darin's Beyond the Sea.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:17 PM on August 3, 2009

Alain Baschung sang Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen (on Bleu Pétrole)
posted by ddaavviidd at 1:22 PM on August 3, 2009

Ladyhawke's Paris Enflamme is nice and clear.
posted by gregjones at 1:25 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Anarchie pour le UK!
posted by scody at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2009

Different language pair, but Wir Sind Helden does a French version of their hit Aurélie that's lots of fun and easy to sing.
posted by gimonca at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2009

oh, and the mention of Wir Sind Helden reminds me: David Bowie did both French and German versions of "Heroes."
posted by scody at 1:45 PM on August 3, 2009

A few 60's classics:

Paint It Black by Marie Laforet, iTunes, YouTube

Mal (Hush) by Johnny Hallyday, iTunes, YouTube

Heureux Tous Les Deux (Happy Together) by Frank Alamo, not on iTunes, YouTube
posted by smackfu at 2:00 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Celine Dion

posted by desjardins at 2:18 PM on August 3, 2009

This, by Les Enfoirés, is my latest earworm. It's a cover of an old Status Quo tune, but the words have been changed so I dunno if that fits your request.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2009

French pop star Alizee sometimes records both English and French versions of her songs.
posted by PenDevil at 2:31 PM on August 3, 2009

Noir C'est Noir
posted by JJ86 at 2:39 PM on August 3, 2009

Blondie's French version of "Sunday Girl" (she recorded several of her hits in French) might fit. I am also going to recommend Sheffield's best Serge Gainsbourg-esque band "The Lovers" - you might like their cover of "The Love Cats". Finally Yves Montand' "Les Feuilles Mortes" is the song you may know as "Autumn Leaves".
posted by rongorongo at 2:52 PM on August 3, 2009

The Beautiful South, "Les Yeux Ouverts (Dream a Little Dream of Me)." Warning: This rendition is both beautiful and toe-tappin' catchy, and you will find yourself singing/humming/whistling it excessively often. Here's their English version. Don't say I didn't warn you.
posted by languagehat at 3:00 PM on August 3, 2009

Yannick did a French-language version of The Four Seasons' "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)". A rappy, fabulous version.

Ces Soirees-La.
posted by amicamentis at 3:24 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Probably not what you're looking for, but I always liked this one.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:41 PM on August 3, 2009

I was in Quebec a few years ago and we heard a french male version of Toni Braxton's Unbreak My Heart just about every hour. It was crazy!

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find this is useless. Still, I would recommend it if you can find it!
posted by firei at 3:48 PM on August 3, 2009

Sorry - just found this link to "La Le" by the afore-mentioned Lovers. Suggest you and your wife record your own version of this and post once you have mastered the vocabulary.
posted by rongorongo at 4:34 PM on August 3, 2009

Histoire a suivre, by the Honeymoon killers. I felt so hip listening to this in about '82. Can only find the live version on Youtube, but I am sure you can ITunes it.

Actually from Belgium, francophone part, I assume.
posted by xetere at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh sorry, yeah that doesn't have an English language version. Oops forgot to take my Adult ADD pills.
posted by xetere at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2009

Toujours un coin qui me rappelle (Always something there to remind me)
posted by thebazilist at 6:49 PM on August 3, 2009

« Older How to find jobs for coding in rails through the...   |   Planespotting at O'Hare: The Security Aspect Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.