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Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)

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Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)

"Ne me quitte pas" is a Jacques Brel's most beautiful song and is also his most successful. Belgian French-speaker author-composer Jacques Brel created and performed a catalog of literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that brought him a large, devoted following in France. With a strong power of expression in his lyrics many consider him a poet as well.

Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)

Jacques Brel was born in Schaerbeek, Belgium, a small city north of Brussels, on April 8, 1929. He began playing the guitar at the age of 15. In the early 1950s he went to Paris, writing music and singing in the city cabarets and music-halls, where on stage he expressed his songs with grand physical gestures. By 1956 he was touring Europe and he recorded the song Quand on n'a que l'amour that brought him his first major recognition. He appeared in a show with Maurice Chevalier and Michel Legrand.

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Jaques Brel

 

Brel announced his retirement from concert work in 1966, giving a final series of shows in Paris at the Olympia in the fall, but after that he had six months of performances internationally to fulfill. These included appearances in the U.S., where Reprise issued Encore and Vanguard Records had Le Formidable Jacques Brel.

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Jaques Brel

 

His themes are extremely diverse, exploring love, society and spiritual concerns. His work is not limited to one style. He was as proficient in funny as in heart-breaking ones. In France, Brel's reputation as one of the major singers and songwriters of the 20th century is secure. In the English-speaking world, his influence is limited by the language barrier and by his musical taste in traditional pop and cabaret, rather than the predominant style of the second half of the century, rock.

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Jaques Brel

 

Brel himself released the original "Ne Me Quitte Pas" in 1958 on his fourth album La Valse à Mille Temps. The song was written after Brel's mistress "Zizou" (Suzanne Gabriello) threw him out of her life. Zizou was pregnant with Brel's child, but Brel refused to acknowledge the child as his own. Zizou later had an abortion due to Brel's actions.

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La Valse a Mille Tempd, cover

 

It is considered by some as "Brel's ultimate classic". He would later say in an interview that the song is not a love song, but rather a song about the cowardice of men.

Ne Me Quitte Pas has been covered in the original French by many artists and has also been translated into and performed in many other languages. A well-known adaptation, with English lyrics by Rod McKuen, is "If You Go Away".

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Jaques Brel - Ne Me Quitte Pas, singel

 

Included on his album The Loner and 13 Other Rod McKuen Songs, "If You Go Away" immediately prompted a hit cover version by Damita Jo; Dusty Springfield, Michelle Lee, the Seekers, Al Martino, Jack Jones, Glen Campbell, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond and Julio Iglesias rank among the song's other admirers.

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Rod McKuen

 

McKuen's translation is significantly different to the original Brel lyric. The English version is based around contrasting what would happen "if you go away" and what could happen "if you stay". In the original French version, the singer begs for his lover not to leave him and is more supplicant and almost self-humiliating (the title "Ne me quitte pas" translates "Do not leave me"). Significant is the last image of the French version; although the McKuen version has lyrics that come close to the original sentiment, the French lyrics are far bleaker.

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Jaques Brel

 

Terry Jacks scored a worldwide hit with it in 1974. His version was released as a single and reached #29 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #68 on the Billboard Hot 100, and went to #8 in the UK.

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Terry Jacks - If You Go Away, singel

 

Ne Me Quitte Pas lyrics


Ne me quitte pas
Il faut d'oublier
Tout peut s'oublier
Qui s'enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentendus
Et le temps perdu
A savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
A coups de pourquoi
Le coeur du bonheur

Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Moi, je t'offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu'après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D'or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l'amour sera roi
Où l'amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine

Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Je t'inventerai
Des mots insensé
Que tu comprendras
Je te parlerai
De ces amants-là
Qui ont vu deux fois
Leur coeur s'embraser
Je te raconterai
L'histoire de ce roi
Mort de n'avoir pas
Pu te rencontrer

Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

On a vu souvent
Rejaillir le feu
D'un ancien volcan
Qu'on croyait trop vieux
Il est parait-il
Des terres brûlées
Donnant plus de blé
Qu'un meilleur avril
Et quand vient le soir
Pour qu'un ciel flamboie
Le rouge et le noir
Ne s'épousent-ils pas

Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Je ne vais plus pleurer
Je ne vais plus parler
Je me cacherai là
A te regarder
Danser et sourire
Et t'écouter
Chanter et puis rire
Laisse-moi devenir
L'ombre de ton ombre
L'ombre de ta main
L'ombre de ton chien

Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

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Ne Me Quitte Pas

 

If You go away lyrics


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's song.
If you go away, if you go away, 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 sail the sun, we'll ride on the rain,
We'll talk to the trees and worship the wind.
Then if you go, I'll understand,
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand,

If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.
If you go, as I know you will, you must tell the world to stop turning
Till you return again, if you ever do, for what good is love without loving you,
Can I tell you now, as you turn to go, I'll be dying slowly till the next hello,

If you go away, if you go away, 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 sail on your smile, I'll ride on your touch,
I'll talk to your eyes that I love so much.

But if you go, go, I won't cry,
Though the good is gone from the word goodbye,
If you go away, if you go away, 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.

I'd have been the shadow of your shadow
If I thought it might have kept me by your side.
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

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If You Go Away

 

 

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