Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ne Me Quitte Pas

I used to be madly in love with this song - If You Go Away - Sung beautifully here by Dusty Springfield. (Dusty's life story was turned into a musical in 2000, "If You Go Away" was chosen for the climax of the show).

The lyrics (French version by Jacques Brel and English by Rod McKuen) are deep and meaningful.

The song brings to fore a heart-wrenching desperation, and hope...( the poignant "But if you stay..." passage comes from Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 3.)

If you go away 
On this summer day 
Then you might as well 
Take the sun away 

All the birds that flew 
In the summer sky 
When our love was new 
And our hearts were high 

When the day was young 
And the night was long 
And the moon stood still 
For the night bird song 

If you go away 

But if you stay
I'll make you a day
Like no day has been
Or will be again

We'll ride on the rain

We'll sail on the sun
We'll talk to the trees
And worship the wind

Then if you go
I'll understand
Leave me just enough love
To hold in my hand

If you go away 

But if you stay
I'll make you a night 

Like no night has been
Or will be again

I'll ride on you smile
I'll sail on your touch
I'll talk to your eyes
That I love so much

But if you go
I'll understand
Leave me just enough love
To hold in my hand

If you go away 

If you go away
As I know you must
There'll be nothing left
In the world to trust

Just an empty room
Full of empty space
Like the empty look
I see on your face

Oh, I'd have been the
Shadow of your shadow
If I thought it might
Have kept me by your side

If you go away 

Please...don't go


Marieke said...

Such a beautiful song, isn't it? I love the translation, it's absolutely beautiful!

It's interesting though that it's such a different song than the original. I love Jacques Brel's songs (I adore the song I share my name with ;) ) because they have a certain rawness to them.

And I think this bit is just amazing:
Je t'inventerai
Des mots insensés
Que tu comprendras
Je te parlerai
De ces amants-là
Qui ont vu deux fois
Leurs coeurs s'embraser
Je te raconterai
L'histoire de ce roi
Mort de n'avoir pas
Pu te rencontrer
Ne me quitte pas

(I will invent intense words for you, that only you'll understand. And I will speak to you of two lovers who found each other a second time - whose hearts embraced.
And I will tell you the story of a king, who died because he longed for you.
Don't leave me.)

So yes, the translation really isn't all that good, but I just love the sense of hopelessness and longing, and the way he expresses it!

Carole Anne Carr said...

Lovely song!

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Grandpa, glad to know you appreciate these oldies. Me too, especially Country & Western.
Today's songs not sure what language from all that yelling and screaming, ha ha.
I'm sure you like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Matt Monroe, Nat King Cole too, huh?
Have a pleasant week, Lee.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Oh, I love this song. Although I prefer the version by Judith Durham and The Seekers.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Joanna St. James said...

I love the words to this song, my volume is broken so i could not listen to it.

L'Aussie said...

I love Dusty Springfield and other singers of that golden era. Beautiful song Granspa.:)

Grandpa said...

Mareike, I never knew your last name, even though I know you are a dreamer and a wanderer (which normally also means that you may be one of those incorrigible romantics - in which case I'm in good company!)

Jacques Brel of course put his heart and soul into this song, which if translated literally may lose some of its mood and essence (apart from making its rendition difficult). Rod McKuen is a poet, so I'm sure he didn't want this to happen:

I won't cry anymore, I won't talk
I will hide here
Watching you dance and smile
And to watch you sing and smile
Let me become
The shadow of your shadow
The shadow of your hand
The shadow of your dog(?)
(Of course in Brel's case he is prepared to do even that just to be near the woman he loved, which is understandable);
I think the English lyrics is powerful too, esp: We'll ride on the rain
We'll sail on the sun
We'll talk to the trees
And worship the wind... and...
I'll talk to your eyes that I love so much...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Marieke

Carole Anne, yes, it is - I can listen to it over and over, and find myself singing it in the shower, under the tree, even in the kitchen!

Uncle Lee, yes Lee it's our genre I think, all those names you mentioned. You may not know it, but I was hit by a sudden pang of sadness and nostalgia after posting the thanksgiving piece and found myself longing for an oldie to continue with my theme of missing those I love. I truly didn't want them to go away...

That's why this post came so soon after, while readers are still sending in their comments to the last one. It's not their fault, they were not late, I was too early in posting this one. But not to worry, I still go back with my response to every single one of them - the least I can do to show my appreciation

The Blogger Formerly Known As...
Glad you love it too. Yes, there're many versions, but not as heart wrenching as Brel's himself, I think

Hi Joanna, that's a pity, hope you can mend it soon and listen to the song again. The way I do it is to wear headphones and volume to full blast!

Hi L'Aussie, yes songs from the era are sentimental,meaningful, and full of emotions

Wan Sharif said...

Magnifique.. Grand Pere speak French also

Grandpa said...

Just a smattering, Wan, not fluent at all - can get me from Charles de Gaulle to hotel!

klahanie said...

Greetings Grandpa,
Dusty Springfield was indeed a wonderful singer, with a unique and sultry voice. I too, like the song you have posted, very much.
When I lived in Canada, Dusty Springfield was not particularly well known. The only song I can recall making the charts, over there, was, 'Son of a Preacher Man'. I did not realise how well she was known and admired until I moved to England.
My friend, have a peaceful and positive weekend.
With respect and kindness, your way, Gary:-)

Grandpa said...

Klahanie, good to see you! Yes, I remember that song - very catchy. She's a very popular singer over here.
You too have a good weekend. Take care

pakmat said...

..she's a great singer, grandpa..enjoyed all of her songs..

Grandpa said...

Bangmat, she is isn't she...has a unique voice

Marieke said...

Incorrigible romantic? Yep, I'm here :)

I do agree - I think the translation is amazing and so poetic. This way, they're almost two songs in their own right. Just beautiful.

Pat said...

Ahhh, another Dusty fan!!! Yay!!! I have loved her from the first moment I heard her voice.

I enjoyed listening to this.

My favourite Dusty Springfield song is 'I close my eyes and count to ten'. I learnt it when I was in primary school, I think. But, to this day, I remember every single word of the lyrics!

Grandpa said...

Hi Pat, I may have been in secondary school then, when we all had our idols

the wanderer said...

you are a true romantic. i have heard and loved this song sung by eartha kitt. thanks for the lyrics, grandpa.

Grandpa said...

the wanderer, I think you are too... You are welcome!

Kittie Howard said...

I love this song. You've hit my era. In my mind's ear I can hear Dusty Springfield singing. She had a magic that permeated the senses. A magic I wish would return.

Grandpa said...

Hi Kittie, and I thought you're gonna miss this! Yes you're right about her singing, I can listen to her over and over again

Joylene Butler said...

It was nice walking down memory lane with you, Grandpa. Thank you again.