Saturday, January 28, 2012

C'est would be bon: a little difference of opinion

Art courtesy iTunes.
Fascinated with Yves Montand's singing, I purchased C'est si bon for it's classic lilting melody and Yves classic presentation. I first heard him late in his life when he sang with and to Barbara Streisand in "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever." If I had heard him younger (and when I was younger), I would have been a great fan.

I looked up the lyrics and apparently there's some sort of conflict about the official lyrics and their translation. The lyrics Yves sings match the song I purchased. It's lovely poetry in appreciation of women and their effect on a man in love. Quite lovely. My amateur word-for-word translation is:

It is so good
I don’t know if there is anything more beautiful.
If there is, it’s not for me.
Love is really all the joy of the world.
My life begins as soon as I feel it.
And I say, “Oh!”
And I say, “Ah!”

Love is so good,
Nothing can make me leave.
One arm above, One arm below,
Singing songs.
They are so good,
those sweet little nothings
That say so much.

Seeing us so delighted
Passersby in the street envy us.
It is so good 
to watch for that marvelous hope in her eyes
that gives me shivers.

They are so good
These little feelings.
Better than a million [dollars]
So much, so many, so very good.

You can guess at this happiness which is ours,
And if I love, you understand why.
It makes me drunk and
I want no other
Because all women everywhere are in this one woman.
And I say, “Oh!”
And I say, “Ah!”

It is so good,
Being able to embrace it and
to start with the least little occasion.
They are so good,
to play piano
All the way along one’s back
While we dance.

The allure is amazing.
I can’t speak of it without saying 
They are so good.
When I hold her in my arms,
I have to say all that.
Love is with me forever.

It is so good.
And if we are crazy
It is because it is so good.
Because it is so good.
Because it is so good.

Since the "it" referred to as "so good" (C'est Si Bon - It is so Good) becomes a sort of nebulous referent, I changed the italicized words to make the referent concrete. 
Art courtesy iTunes.

Now, the conflict comes in with this page (with misspellings) which shows different lyrics in both the French and English versions with a more monetary meaning. I have to believe these are bogus lyrics because they have little to do with Yves' sung version in the 1950's. In fact, when Eartha Kitt and Barbra Streisand sing the lyrics, they only sing the first half of the song which is the unmangled part. Dean Martin has his own version, as well, which also leaves out the wishes for a rich woman.

It's just crazy! I've no idea why someone added in those strange lyrics about finding a wealthy woman, replacing the wonderfulness of a woman in love and the references to love's buoyant effects. Perhaps due to the lack of instant communication we have now or the strange way that copyright was enforced. Or perhaps Andre Homez's real lyrics were about finding a rich woman ... but I don't believe it.

Anyway, it's there for your consideration. I hope you find it worthwhile.
Song of the DayC'est si bon - À Paris

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