"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

The Second Best French Song Ever


Charles Trenet sings La Mer, followed by Bobby Darin’s classic cover (only a slightly sub standard recording of it), Beyond the Sea, below.

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14 comments on “The Second Best French Song Ever

  1. Edwina says:

    NOBODY sings this better than Bobby Darin.

  2. martin says:

    So, what’s the best French song ever?

    Anyone else see any similiarities between this Bobby Darin character and G.W. Bush?

  3. Laura says:

    Excuse me! What do you mean by “substandard”?! Bobby Darin’s swinging version of “Beyond the Sea” was nothing less than inspired and pure genius. Bobby worked closely with the arranger Richard Wess to give us this great work of art. The original dies on the vine!

  4. admin says:

    I mean substandard because this particular version is not Darin’s best recording of it. Darin’s swing version is absolutely great, but I do think that Trenet’s is even better, more soul less razzmatazz (Trenet wrote the song, Darin coved it)

    As to what the best ever French song is – I’ll post it. But its not that hard to guess, if anyone has any ideas.

  5. Nicolle says:

    Are you serious? Bobby Darin is the only name that comes to mind when i hear beyond the sea!!!!!

  6. admin says:

    Perhaps you should expand your mind so that the guy who wrote the song and made it famous might be someone that comes to mind. Your comment is like saying that Johny Halliday is the only person that comes to mind when you hear ‘Hey Joe’.

  7. Brad says:

    Best French song ever…a hint–Piaf.

  8. Laura says:

    Actually I don’t even think that you can compare these two songs. Although “Beyond The Sea” is based on “La Mer”, it’s been changed so much from the original that it is practically a completely different song. The Jack Lawrence English lyrics are totally different from the original French lyrics. The French lyrics just describe a seascape and the movement of the waves. There’s no mini-story of a woman waiting for her sailor lover to return from an ocean voyage. The music of the two songs also has a very different feel. On second thought, I don’t think that you can say that one is “better” than the other.

  9. admin says:

    I think they can certainly be compared since they are exactly the same tune, same melody. The Darin version has different lyrics precisely because the original is in French and he is among 400 other artists who have covered it. I picked the Darin version precisely because I think its a great cover.

    Its true that saying one thing is better than another is fairly pointless, but the original version of this song is a very important piece of cultural history in France, more so than Darin’s version is in America. A comparable song here would possibly be Sinatra’s ‘My Way’.

    If I were writing in French suggesting that Darin’s version was superior there would, no doubt, be similar chest beating, so I suspect the pro Darin comments here are down to nothing other than inherent ‘petit’ racism.

  10. Laura says:

    I don’t know about the other pro Darin commentors, but my preference for the Darin version has nothing to do with an aversion to the French. As a mater of fact, I have a fondness for the French and was just in France for a couple of weeks two months ago. I don’t dispute that “La Mer” is an important cultural item to the French. I would dispute that “My Way” is anywhere near as important to American popular culture as “La Mer” is to French culture. I would also assert that Bobby Darin’s version of “Beyond the Sea” has become a much more iconic item of American popular culture than a song like “My Way”. It’s been used in countless movies, TV shows, ads, etc. Everything from the Disney film “Finding Nemo” to the video game “Bioshock”. There are many people, especially young people, who know the song from references to it in other works like films but have no knowledge of the singer. I think that’s sad because Darin was such a great talent.

  11. stephanie says:

    By far bobbby darin is the best singer ever. I am 73 years old and met him heard him live I have all his records cds and dvds always looking for more . he just “sent me ” when i saw him live at adgr 27 and is still the best

  12. Christine says:

    ‘My way’ is the english version of a french song “Comme d’habitude”

  13. Thomas Deittert says:

    So what’s the best french song? Check out some of the Brassens stuff.

    If you are interested there is a whole lot of fairly tacky but funny french sixties pop and garage at:
    http://www.popmeter.fr

  14. Thomas Deittert says:

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