“Non, je ne regrette rien” (No, I do not regret anything), a classic French song composed by Charles Dumont with lyrics by Michel Vaucaire and popularised by Édith Piaf in the 60s, here covered so gorgeously by one of my most fave songstresses ever: Aldous Harding.
Dumont states that Vaucaire’s original title was “Non, je ne trouverai rien” (No, I will not find anything) and that the song was meant for the French singer Rosalie Dubois. However, thinking of Piaf, he changed the title to “Non, je ne regrette rien”.
According to journalist Jean Noli, when Dumont and Vaucaire visited Piaf’s home at Boulevard Lannes in Paris, in October 1960, she received them in a very impolite and unfriendly manner. Dumont had tried to offer Piaf his compositions on several occasions, but she disliked them and had refused them. On that day she was furious that her housekeeper Danielle had arranged a meeting with the two men without informing her, so she let them wait an hour in her living room before she appeared. She told them she would listen to one song only. Dumont sang “Non, je ne regrette rien” to which Piaf reacted extremely positively, saying “This is the song I have been waiting for. It will be my biggest success! I want it for my coming performance at L’Olympia!”
Piaf dedicated her recording of the song to the Foreign Legion. At the time of the recording, France was engaged in a military conflict, the Algerian War (1954–1962), and the 1st REP (1st Foreign Parachute Regiment)—which backed the failed 1961 putsch against president Charles de Gaulle and the civilian leadership of Algeria—adopted the song when their resistance was broken. The leadership of the Regiment was arrested and tried but the non-commissioned officers, corporals and Legionnaires were assigned to other Foreign Legion formations. They left the barracks singing the song, which has now become part of the Foreign Legion heritage and is sung when they are on parade.
Let’s keep the spirit alive. No regret. Happy Sunday!
💧Read also ALDOUS HARDING: ART POP ENIGMA.
Featured image via The Beautiful Sounds.
Sources: Golden Plains 2015, Wikipedia, Aunty Meredith Home Videos.