10 of the Greatest Edith Piaf Songs
What name comes up more in the topic of French music than Edith Piaf? Many cultured musicians would answer: none. Born Edith Giovanna Gassion, this Parisian rose would eventually become known as “La Môme Piaf” or “little sparrow” in Parisian slang. This nickname of sorts would be oh so fitting for a petite songstress. Sadly, Edith would eventually become addicted to morphine and die on October 10th 1963 at the tender age of 48. Her music would live on for many years though. The 2007 recipient of the Academy Award for best actress, Marion Cotillard, well deserved it portraying Edith in the acclaimed film “La Vie En Rose” which, if you have not yet done so, you must watch. No French singer will ever surpass the sheer emotion Edith put into her music, and she will be remembered forever.
The lyrics of this emotional song tell of a woman being carried around by a crowd when she crashes into a man, falls in love. And then just as quickly the crowd tears them apart, never to see each other again. Perfect stuff for Edith Piaf!
This emotional song cum hymn is a plea to God to keep alive a loved one for just a few more days or months so that memories can be built. There is much in this song which bears a striking resemblance to aspects of Edith’s life.
This song should be familiar to most people – it is originally a French folk song brought to international acclaim by Piaf and later re-recorded by many other artists. This is a song about a big-time Parisian hustler who eventually gets arrested, so the usual English title is misleading, making it sound as if the song had been intended to extol the virtues or merry nature of the Parisian poor.
This Swiss written song was one of the most popular of Piaf’s songs, and it was the introductory song used in her US tour of 1945/1946. She toured with the male singing group compagnons de la chanson who are also seen in this clip.
During Edith Piaf’s rise to fame the French-Algerian conflict was occurring in Northern Africa. This dreary ballad to a young handsome legionnaire or “member of the French legion” defines Edith Piaf’s constant struggle to find true love.
A salute to all of Edith Piaf’s years spent in Paris. This title is a double entendre. Firstly it primarily refers to her home city, where she often longs to be, and loves most in her heart. Secondly, some interpret it to be onomatopoeia of the grueling life of a celebrity. Constantly working and traveling, life never ends leaving the repetitive “Padam, padam, padam, padam” running through your head never ending.
Raised in a brothel, Edith Piaf immediately learned some of the darkest lessons in life. Milord addresses the story of a common prostitute yearning to be loved by a British “Lord”, yet never prevailing in her dreams. What inspired Edith to write such a depressing tale? The world will never know.
Edith Piaf would wed Théo Sarapo in one of her last years, but no man would ever rival her first true love, heavyweight boxer Marcel Cerdan. Legend has it that this solemn hymn was written by Edith Piaf for Marcel after his death as one last display of love.
Often known as “Edith Piaf’s Last Lament” this salute to all of Edith’s mistakes and misfortunes defines her positive attitude on life. Determined never to perform again in one of her last years, Charles Dumont convinced Edith Piaf to perform one last time through writing this passionate summary of her life. 2 years later Edith Piaf would pass away having “nothing to regret.”
Perhaps no other song has ever gained the recognition and association that this one has with France. Although Edith’s last days were more like “La Vie En Noir”. This anthem of giddy French living possessed a certain warm quality all Americans were striving for during the crazy ‘60s. Edith Piaf will never be forgotten. But should her music ever drift away into the halls of time, La Vie En Rose will forever live on in the hearts of Frenchmen and Englishmen alike.