(c) Ça C'est Paris
This little gem, written by Jean Lenoir and performed by Lucienne Boyer (among dozens of others, both in French and in translation) has an lilting, dreamlike melody that is often heard in French music boxes. The title translates to "Speak to Me of Love" and the lyrics tell of the sweet nothings that lovers whisper in each others' ears, and how these words can melt the troubles of the world away, even if they're not entirely genuine.
Where you've heard it: the film soundtracks of, The Impostors, and .
(c) Black Round Records
"J'attendrai, " which means "I Will Wait for You, " was actually initially written in Italian by Dino Olivieri and Nino Rastelli and called "Tornerai." The melody is inspired by the Humming Chorus from Puccini's great opera . The lyrics speak of awaiting the return of a lover who has gone far away to an unnamed place, and it became something of an anthem for young couples during WWII.
Where you've heard it: the film soundtracks of and The Arch of Triumph.
(c) Ça C'est ParisFréhel was one of the grandes dames of the bal musette, the accordion-fueled ancestor of the modern discothèque, and this song, written by Vincent Scotto, is one of the most popular ever to come out of that era. Both lyrically and musically, it glorifies the sultry and scandalous dance called the java, a variant on the waltz that found the couple dancing dangerously close together, often while the male partner had both hands on the female partner's derrière
Where you've heard it: the film soundtracks of and Charlotte Gray.
(c) Capitol Records
No one has made such a singular impact on the history of French popular music as the golden-voiced Edith Piaf. Of all the wonderful songs in her repertoire, though, "La Vie en Rose" ("Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses") is surely the most beloved and best-remembered, all around the world. Piaf wrote the lyrics herself, and the melody was written by Louis Guglielmi.
Where you've heard it: soundtracks to dozens of films and television shows (particluarly those that are set in France) including Sabrina (both the classic and the remake) and French Kiss, as well as Something's Gotta Give, Bull Durham, WALL-E, The Bucket List, and so many more. It's also the title track for the Oscar-winning 2007 Edith Piaf Biopic.
(c) Master Classics Records
Legend has it that singer, composer, and lyricist Charles Trenet wrote "La Mer" in just ten minutes, scribbling the lyrics on sheets of toilet paper as he rode on a train. Whether or not it's true, it's certainly fitting: the song is sweet and whimsical and effortlessly timeless. It's been recorded in a number of languages, including Bobby Darin's "Somewhere Beyond the Sea, " which carries the nautical theme ("La Mer" simply means "The Sea") but is not a direct translation.
Where you've heard it: the movie soundtracks of Finding Nemo, Saving Private Ryan, L.A. Story, and many others. "La Mer" also provided a crucial plot point in the first season of the television series Lost.
(c) ZYX Music
Here ya go!
Founded by two sisters from Bordeaux, France, inspired by the conscious rap of Public Enemy, De La Soul, and Arrested Development as well as the smoother but no less exhilarating sounds of Soul II Soul and Des'ree, Les Nubians are a new breed of Afropean-styled hip-hop. Les Nubians debut album, Princesses Nubiennes, mixes uplifting messages with contemporary hip-hop stylings. Other French rappers such as MC Solaar and Mel' Groove have forged a blueprint upon which Les Nubians build their sound, equally influenced by classic soul, contemporary R&B and the inspiration of such African world music icons as Miriam Makeba, Ray Lema and Youssou N'Dour