Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Index of Brassens’ songs

Indexes of songs in my Brassens Selection

If you are looking for one particular song, you are recommended to use the following alphabetical index. 
Please click on the following line for the link:

Because of the large number of songs that I have translated, I have had to use three separate blog pages.

This present page is Number One and contains the first 39 songs that I translated.  The name that I gave to my earliest Brassens posting list was:

Please click on the link above to browse the index of titles on my first Brassens blog page.

My second page contains 47 songs.  The name that I gave this subsequent Brassens posting list was:
Please click on the link above to browse the index of titles on my second Brassens blog page

My third page I have only just begun.  It contains only a few songs so far.  The name that I gave to my final Brassens page was:
(Click the link) 3) More Brassenssongs with translation

Please click on the link above to browse the index of titles on my third Brassens blog page.


I hesitate to complicate things even further, but for those who would like to see the songs in historical order, I have made the following alternative index of all the songs in my Brassens selection

The list that appears if you scroll down the present page is my personal record of all the songs in my Brassens selection, in the order in which I first posted them.

My latest posting is at the top of the list and my very first is at the bottom.



To access the song, click on the song title -  which links directly to the song on my blogsite.

La Prière « Chanson pour l’auvergnat » (1955).  Brassens shares the view of poet Francis Jammes of the trials and tribulations of all creatures of the world

Cupidon s'en fout -(Don Juan- 1976) - 
A very promising date with a young lady in the forest proves very unsatisfactory

GRAND-PÈRE (Je me suis fait tout petit -1957) - Events after his grandad’s sudden death arouse in him bitter feelings of social injustice.

Brave Margot  - (Les amoureux des bancs publics) (1954)- A popular song about naughty going-ons  in French country life of the past

Le petit joueur de flûtiau  - (1964 - Les copains d'abord ) The story of a royal musician explains a choice of social status that Brassens himself might have made

Le Fantôme(1966 -Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète) -A meeting with a ghost provides him with a hot foretaste of the afterlife.

Le Vent  - (Les amoureux des bancs publics) (1953) A jolly song about the mischievous breeze on the Pont Des Arts

L'assassinatLes Trompettes de la Renommé (1961) A tale with great pathos of crime and punishment

L'épave - (1966 -Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète) A man wrecked by ill-health reassesses his list of true friends

Le mécréant - (Le mécréant 1960) The non-believer, Brassens, tries to follow Blaise Pascal's religious code.

Penelope - ( 1960 – Le Mécréant) How lonely, loveless lives can be made less so.

Au bois de mon coeur - (1957 - Je me suis fait tout petit) In praise of his loyal circle of close mates - the song he wrote for the film "La porte des lilas."

Le Cocu  (1958 - Le Pornographe) A husband whose wife gives herself freely to others asks them for some consideration

Les sabots d'Helene - (1955 - Chanson pour l'auvergnat) Brassens wrapped his admiration for the wife of the local bistro owner in traditional folksong

Je suis un voyou - (1954- Les amoureux des bancs publics) The frank account of his youthful love for a stunning girl called Margo

A l'Ombre du Coeur de Ma Mie - (1958 - Le Pornographe) The traumatic experience of a man who called on another man's wife

La Femme d'Hector - (1958 - Le Pornographe) Dedicated to one lovely and lovable wife in his group of friends in his early life in Paris.

La ronde des jurons - (1958 - Le Pornographe) Celebrating the richness of French swearing in the past and deploring its present aridity

Le mauvais sujet repenti - (1953 - Les amoureux des bancs publics)  The pimp whose repentance was not so glorious.

La marche Nuptiale - (1957 - Je me suis fait tout petit) The wedding march-- a touching song about the poor wedding of Brassens' parents
Celui qui a mal tourne - (1957- Je me suis fait tout petit) About a man who went wrong.  An insight into Brassens' biography?

 La Marine (1953 -La mauvaise reputation) Brassens sings Paul Fort's sailor's song of love

La fessée -  (1966 - Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète) Brassens consoles the beautiful widow of an old school friend - inappropriately!

La Guerre de 14- 18 (Les Trompettes de la Renomme 1961).  His wry comment on the so-called glory of war

La Princesse et le croque-notes (Fernande 1972) Anguish following temptation from a 13 year old.

La fille a cent sous  ( 1960 Le Mecreant) -The girl sold by her husband for 100 sous finds true love

La Rose la Bouteille et la Poignee de main (La religieuse 1969) deplores the loss of the warmth and helpfulness, which people were previously safe to show each other in public.

Lenombril des femmes d'agent  (1955 Chanson pour l’auvergnat) A humorous song about an old gentleman with a very individual fetish

Quatre-vingt quinze pour cent 1972 (Fernande) Inequalities of passion during lovemaking

Marquise Les trompettes de la renommee (1961) A love song written by Pierre Corneille - partly!

Jeanne ( 1961 - Les trompettes de la renommée) In praise of Jeanne's infinite kindness

A l'ombre des maris (1972 - Fernande)An entertaining song about the complications of extra-marital love.

Don Juan (Album- Don Juan - 1976)The story of a modern Don Juan who has loved many women. Brassens would like us to look at him in a charitable and tolerant spirit.

Ballade des dames du temps jadis (La mauvaise réputation -1953)Brassens sings Villon's famous poem

Les Croquants (Chanson pour l'Auvergnat - 1955) Brassens sings of love and marriage believing them to be quite separate.

Le testament (1955 - Chanson pour l'Auvergnat).
While still a young man, Brassens thinks of the death he is very reluctant to accept.

Rien à jeter (1969 - La religieuse) A playful love song extolling the beauty of the woman whom he loved so deeply.

Marinette -J'avais l'air d'un c... - Chanson pour l'Auvergnat 1955 .- A light-hearted song about a hopeless lover.

Les Philistins (1957 - Je me suis fait tout petit)-Brassens song of the poem by Jean Richepin about a son who disappointed his parents' aspirations

Le Pornographe (1958 - Le pornographe)Brassens ponders his public reputation

Heureux qui comme Ulysse (Not recorded in an album)- The theme song for the last film of the great French comic actor Fernandel.

Gastibelza, l'homme à la carabine - His song of Victor Hugo's famous poem based on a Spanish folk ballad of love and wealth

BONHOMME - HER GOOD MAN (1958 - Le pornographe)A poem of great pathos as a peasant woman faces the death of her husband and the memories stirred.

Si le bon Dieu avait voulu (1961 Les trompettes de la renommée)Paul Fort's simple and sincere love poem to the woman of his life

Pauvre Martin (1954 - Les amoureux des bancs publics) A sad song about a simple farm labourer, who had asked nothing of life or his neighbours. He earns Brassens' admiration.

Le Petit Cheval (1953 La mauvaise réputation) Brassens sings this sad poem by Paul Fort with memorable lines - now a well-known children's song in France.

L’enterrement de Verlaine – The Funeral of Verlaine - 1960 – Le mécréant - Song of the poem by Paul Fort which depicts the popular tribute on the death of the eminent poet at the height of the Belle Epoque

Colombine - 1955 - Chanson pour l'auvergnat. -Verlaine's melodic poem gives a glimpse of the traditional Italian theatre of the Commedia del Arte

Mysogynie à part - 1969 - La religieuse -This rumbustious and sometimes explicit song raises issues about the nature of human love

Les châteaux de sable (Brassens) Mistral Gagnant (Renaud)The two songs tell of the transitory joys of childhood. The beautiful Vanessa Paradis sings the 2nd song with Le Forestier.

La Première Fille - ( Les amoureux des bancs publics.) 1954 The excitement and enduring memory of a first love.

La Marguerite - (Les trompettes de la renommé) 1961 – A simple poem about a parish priest who is suspected by malicious narrow-minded parishoners of a secret love affair.

J’ai rendez-vous avec vous - (Les amoureux des bancs publics.) 1954 An early love song of the exhileration of his youthful passion for Joha Heiman.

Pensees des morts (La Religieuse)Verses from the poem by Lamartine tell of the sadness when deep love can only be experienced in the emptiness left by some-one's absence

Venus Callipyge (Les copains d'abord) Brassens' song that is pure fun - but not so pure to celebrate anatomy admired all the way back to the days of Ancient Greece.

Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète -from the album of the same name. Brassens' thoughts of his final resting place revive nostalgia for the seaside town of his childhood.

Putain de Toi - The tramp that you are! (Les Amoureux des bancs publics 1953) A beautiful girl who let him down badly.

Trompe la mort - Cheating death (Don Juan 1976) Brassens maintains that his death is not as imminent as the newspapers suggest.

La legende de la Nonne -Based on Hugo's poem: "The legend of the nun", where the nun tells her innocent schoolchildren about her God's horrific terrors for those sin, which bcomes a Hugo classic of poetic exuberation. (Chanson pour l'Auvergnat 1955)

La mauvaise herbe – Useless weed that I am -Brassens sees himself as the outsider. (Les amoureux des bancs publics) 1954

Mourir pour des idees -Dying for your ideas. Brassens has little sympthy for murderous ideology. (Fernande) 1972

La tondue - The girl with the shaven head- Ugly reprisals after the Liberation of 1945 against those who had been friendly with the German occupiers. (Les copains d'abord) 1964/65

La chasse aux papillons (La mauvaise reputation)
A cheerful - if somewhat bawdy- tale of first love.

La non-demande en mariage Reasons for not proposing marriage to to his Puppchen in spite of the great love he feels for her. (Supplique pour etre enterre a la plage de Sete)

Les Trompettes de la Renommee from album of the same name - To those who are persuading him to seek popular attention he details the malignant effects of publicity

Saturne - In praise of the love felt by a middle aged couple- a touching tribute to his "Puppchen" as she reaches middle age (Les copains d'abord)

La Cane de Jeanne (Les Amoureux des Bancs Publics) Jeanne's pet duck has died. Brassens writes a solemn dirge - with gentle teasing.

Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux (Les amoureux des bancs publics) The melancholic poem by Aragon about the nature of love.

Dans l'eau de la claire fontaine (Les trompettes de la renommee) A lyrical song of a chance encounter with a nymph-like girl.

L'Orage (Le Mecreant) A tempestuous love affair on the night of a thunder storm. Another poem of love lost.

Les copains d'abord (Les copains d'abord) In praise of long-lasting friendships with men who sailed with him on the inland seas near Sete.

Ballade des dames du temps jadis -one verse

Link to the full text and translation of Villon's poem.

Les amours d’antan (Les trompettes de la renommé) Having sung of the legendary beauties of antiquity in the words of Villon, he now sings of the beautiful girls who taught him love- they are from a very different background.

Fernande (Fernande) Carla Bruni's version is included as the second video clip. She tells us that she had been strongly advised not to sing this song, which had been banned for immorality, but she is doing so all the same.

Les amoureux des bancs publics (Les amoureux des bancs publics) The intolerance of respectable people

Auprès de mon arbre (Chanson pour l’Auvergnat) The nostalgia that Brassens feels for the days when he was young and free - and very poor, unlike today when he is rich,bored and lonely.

Oncle Archibald (Je me suis fait tout petit)
One of the eccentrics who fascinated Brassens and earned his affection.

Le Gorille (La mauvaise réputation)
A provocative song about capital punishment

Le parapluie (La mauvaise réputation)
His first approach to a beautiful, petite young lady who had caught his eye.

La mauvaise réputation (La mauvaise réputation)
Brassens sees himself as the total outsider.

Je me suis fait tout petit (Je me suis fait tout petit) A somewhat lurid account of the submissive role that he plays in his relationship with his lifelong partner.

Chanson pour l’Auvergnat (Chanson pour l’Auvergnat)
Gratitude to those who showed him true charity when he was in desperate need. (Jeanne and her husband)

Il suffit de passer le pont (La mauvaise réputation) The intoxication of the first youthful moment of sexual love, but also the worries involved.

Les Passantes (Fernande)Antoine Pol's wistful poem about the memorable women who flitted for a moment into his life and then were gone

Une jolie fleur (Chanson pour l’Auvergnat)
Trying to get over the loss of a very beautiful woman.

Georges Brassens was born at Sète on the 22nd October 1921 and died on the 29th October 1981 at Saint-Gély-du-Fesc, Hérault, the region of his birth

On this blogsite I have posted more than eighty of the famous songs by Georges Brassens, with videos, French lyrics and my translation.

My hope is to share my enthusiasm for his songs.

In my translation, I seek to make the meaning as clear as possible. Unfortunately a translator cannot convey the poetry, which resides solely in the words written by Georges Brassens. Increasingly I have tried to reflect the rhythm of the songs even though this has moved me away from a precise literal translation.
The quality of Brassens verse has been honoured by the most august literary authorities in France.

He is a true lyric poet because he expresses thoughts and feelings from the heart. He crafts his words and rhythms with infinite care and skill and he tantalises and entertains with different levels of meaning.

And with all this, he does not take himself too seriously and is a great guy!

Links to David Yendley’s French Culture Websites

Links to My French Literature Sites
Anatole France – Les Dieux ont Soif – 
Summary and Historical Background  - A vivid picture of life during « The Terror » of the French Revolution.

Balzac – Le Père Goriot – 
Summary – Biography of Balzac and Complete Student Notes for this Coming of age novel: A young student forces his way into Paris High Society and learns its extravagance, its corruption and its cruelty.

Bazin (Hervé)  Vipère au Poing -  
Summary – Author’s Biography and Essay Topics – This autobiographical novel shows the crippling effects of an oppressive upbringing in an extremist Catholic family.

Camus – L’étranger - 
Summary and Author’s Biography – Essay Topics- This famous novel shows how society treats the individual who is not able to conform to conventional values.

Camus – La Chute - 
Summary - Author’s Biography and Essay Topics
In this enigmatic novel, Camus is once again exploring the situation of a social dropout.

Duhamel- Le Notaire du Havre – 
Summary -  Biography of Georges Duhamel - Essay Topics for students- A dramatic and very human autobiographical story of the wild hopes of an impecunious middle class family, living in Paris at the  end of the 19th Century.

Mme de Lafayette – La Princesse de Clèves - 
Summary and Full Essay Topics.  This classic historical novel tells of life in France of the 16th Century, but reflects the life of Mme de Lafayette’s own time – the court life under Louis XIV a century later.

Voltaire – Candide – 
Summary -  Biography of Voltaire and Complete Student Notes -  In an action packed story of many different episodes, Voltaire takes his innocent hero on journey across the world, to review the situations and events of his century.  Voltaire is asking throughout whether this is indeed the “best of all possible worlds”, which the contemporary school of Optimist philosophy are so obstinate to claim
Marcel Pagnol's Biography. - Summary of the novel - Background to the story, which tells of Pagnol’s idyllic family holidays at their remote cottage in Provence during the decade before the First World War.  However, drama also intervenes and this is a very moving story.

Links to the Sites of Two favourite French Singers
Brassens – 80+ songs with English translations and commentary

With videos from YouTube

Carla Bruni – Most of her songs with English translations and commentary - 
With videos from YouTube

Les Croquants - Admiration for a girl who is a free spirit

This is a neat and musical song on Brassens’ familiar themes. He tells how respectable parents hand over their daughters in marriage to men of superior status because of their narrow obsession with their future wealth and social status. The result is marriages that are routine, loveless and set until death. In contrast is the girl who loves a man for what he is and not for what has. She is a free spirit, whose life is full of new experiences as she gives her love when and only when she pleases.

Les Croquants
Les croquants(1) vont en ville, à cheval sur leurs sous,
Acheter des pucelle' aux saintes bonnes gens,
Les croquants leur mett'nt à prix d'argent(2)
La main dessus,(3) la main dessous..(4.).

Mais la chair de Lisa, la chair fraîch' de Lison

(que les culs cousus d'or(5) se fass'nt une raison !)(6)
C'est pour la bouch' du premier venu
Qui a les yeux tendre' et les mains nues…
Les croquants, ça les attriste, ça
Les étonne, les étonne,
Qu'une fille, une fill' bell' comm' ça,
S'abandonne, s'abandonne
Au premier ostrogoth(7) venu...
Les croquants, ça tombe des nues(8)

Les fill's de bonnes moeurs, les fill's de bonne vie,
Qui' ont vendu leur fleurette(9) à la foire à l'encan,(10)
Vont s' vautrer dans la couch' des croquants,
Quand les croquants en ont envie...

Mais la chair de Lisa, la chair fraîch' de Lison
(que les culs cousus d'or se fass'nt une raison !)
N'a jamais accordé ses faveurs
À contre-sous, à contrecoeur...

Les croquants, ça les attriste, ça
Les étonne, les étonne,
Qu'une fille, une fill' bell' comm' ça,
S'abandonne, s'abandonne
Au premier ostrogoth  venu...
Les croquants, ça tombe des nues.

Les fill's de bonne vie ont le coeur consistant
Et la fleur(11) qu'on y trouve est garantie longtemps,
Comm' les fleurs en papier des chapeaux,
Les fleurs en pierre des tombeaux...

Mais le coeur de Lisa, le grand coeur de Lison

Aime faire peau neuve(12) avec chaque saison
Jamais deux fois la même couleur,
Jamais deux fois la même fleur...

Les croquants, ça les attriste, ça
Les étonne, les étonne,
Qu'une fille, une fill' bell' comm' ça,
S'abandonne, s'abandonne
Au premier ostrogoth(7) venu...
Les croquants, ça tombe des nues

1955 - Chanson pour l'auvergnat

The big shots , ride in town astride their moneybags
To buy up virgins from righteous goodly folk
 The big shots, by making down-payments in cash, get
Their hands on them, their hands under...

But the flesh of Lisa, the cool flesh of Lizie,
(Let the arseholes stuffed with money face up to it)
Is for the mouth of the first man she meets
Who comes empty-handed, eyes filled with love.
The rich sods, it depresses them, it
Astounds them, astounds them
That a girl, a pretty girl like that
Should yield herself, should yield herself
To the first troglodyte that comes along.
The rich sods just can't believe it.

The girls with right manners, the girls who live nice lives,
Who sold their flowerlets  at public auction
Spreadeagle themselves in the rich sods’ beds
When the rich sods fancy a bit…

But the flesh of Lisa, the cool flesh of Lizie,
(Let the arseholes stuffed with money face up to it)
Has never given of her favours
‘ gainst money –gainst her wishes

The rich sods, it depresses them, it
Astounds them, astounds them
That a girl, a pretty girl like that
Should yield herself, should yield herself
To the first troglodyte that comes along.
The rich sods just can't believe it.

The good-living girls have a heart that’s consistent
And the flower within has a long guarantee,
Like the paper flowers found upon hats
And like the stone flowers found upon tombs…

But the heart of Lisa, the great heart of Lizie
Likes to make a new start with every season
Never, twice over, the same colour
Never, twice over, the same flower

The rich sods, it depresses them, it
Astounds them, astounds them
That a girl, a pretty girl like that
Should yield herself, should yield herself
To the first troglodyte that comes along.
The rich sods just can't believe it.

1) Les croquants – The French dictionary, Le Petit Robert, tells us that the word « croquants » was given to peasants who rose in revolt in the reigns of Henri IV and Louis XIII. Robert goes on to tell us that afterwards the word was used simply to mean a peasant, although it is is often used as a pejorative to mean “thief” or “Skinflint”. Brassens’ croquants have too much money for these descriptions to apply. In this poem, when he uses this pejorative, he is thinking of ignorant men enjoying the power of their wealth.

2) A prix d'argent - acheter qch à prix d’or means to pay a (small) fortune for something.(Collins-Robert)

3) La main dessus - "mettre la main sur" means to take possession of to seize hold of.(Robert)

4) La main "dessous" – In the second part of the antithesis is Brassens being rude, suggesting that these objectionable men of money would also put their hands up the girls’ skirts.

5) cousus d'or – cousu is the past participle of coudre to sew. “être (tout) cousu d’or means to be rolling in money.

6) se fass'nt une raison = se faire une raison de qch.means to accept sth./ to put up with sth. (Collins-Robert)

7) ostrogoth(7) = In history the Ostrogoths were the Goths who came from the East. The word has cometo be used to describe a person who is ill-educated,, ignorant, boorish, eccentric. None of these words fit the man that brassens intends to describe. Instead, in this poem, the term represents the person that the anarchistic Brassens admired- a spontaneous person standing apart from the false values of conventional society and indifferent to wealth and personal possessions.

8) tombe des nues – Idioms using these words refer to a state of surprise and incredulity. “Je suis tombé des nues” means you could have knocked me down with a feather

9) La fleurette – Little flower. Brassens uses it as a symbol for virginity

10) à l'encan, ==vendre à l’encan-to sell at auction. (Larousse). (Of course the most common translation for “the auction” is « La vente aux enchères »)

11) la fleur – The flowerlet of the young girl, mentioned earlier, has now matured into a full flower.

12) faire peau neuve = to find a new image - make a new start

Please click here toreturn to the alphabetical list of my Brassens selection