The beautiful Paris city and its splendid cultural baggage have been one of the most interesting topics of discussion in almost all artistic mediums. This would give you a clear picture of why there are a lot of jazz and pop songs written about this magnificent city. All of these songs are well written; however, a handful of songs stood out above others and was able to capture the soul essence of the city. These songs act as an excellent Paris tour guide by showing the tourists a bird’s eye view of the best places in the city. Below is a list of some of the most nostalgic songs about the city.
“Under the Bridges of Paris” by Eartha Kitt
The original song ‘Sous les Ponts de Paris’ was written by Vincent Cotto and Jean Rodor dating a long way back to 1913. The English version of the song was composed by the lyricist Dorcas Cochran about forty years later. The song was recorded eventually featuring Vera Lynn and Dean Martin. However, it was the version of the song recorded by Eartha Kitt, which is the most impressive one.
The background music of the song features swaying nursery-rhyme lilt and accordion sounding orchestral flourishes, which all give a quirky effect to the passionate voice of Kitt. The lines ending with “How would you like to be/down by the Seine with me” are truly eternal; there is no doubt that this line would have made a number of real-life lovers to head all way to the banks of Seine River.
“Give Paris One More Chance” by Jonathan Richman
Lyricist Jonathan Richman gives you a wide view of the City of Love in this song. The singer recites, “And if you doubt that Paris was made for love”, and then being lost in his thoughts, he repeats the lyrics, “Give Paris one more chance” again and again throughout the song. The turning point of Jonathan’s career was the album ‘Jonathan Sings!’ that was composed in 1983.
“J’ai Deux Amours” by Josephine Baker
The song ‘J’ai Deux Amours’ really says about the life of Josephine Baker both as an American and as the resident of the Paris city. The English translation of the title “J’ai Deux Amours” goes as “I Have Two Loves”. This actually refers to Baker’s two cultural loves. During the time of WWII, the artist was trained as a spy agent, before she worked for Croix-Rouge or in the Resistance movement’s intelligence.
She became so distant from her native USA by 1945 that in the original lyrics of the song, you would see the verse “J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris”, which means, “I have two loves, my country and Paris”. However, she eventually changes it to “J’ai deux amours, mon pays, c’est Paris” meaning “I have two loves, my country is Paris”.
“Paris is Burning” by St. Vincent
Annie Clark, who was an American musician, led a double life during 2006, both as a touring guitarist for Sufjan Stevens and the Polyphonic Spree, and as a mystifying solo artist under the nickname, St. Vincent. About seven years before she reached to fame, her album ‘Marry Me’ was much overlooked and regarded as a brave, dark, and richly composed work.
“Paris is Burning” number has a poignant score and it is all about the revolt of the poor class people living in the city. This could perhaps be a written referring to the Paris Commune of 1871. The burning city could also refer to the difficulties of coming out of a harsh relationship.
“La Bohème” by Charles Aznavour
This wonderful song was recorded for the first time in 1965. The song is written in a classic French genre. The song tells us about the French singer’s life in the town of Montmartre. The song also expresses grief in the changing face of the singer’s dearly loved neighborhood. The song was re-recorded in various languages including Italian, Spanish, English, and German.
In this song, we could see how the singer spent his hungry yet satisfied childhood days in the northern region of Paris, wandering about the place and looking at different artworks. These parts of the city have now become aggrieved by its own success.
“Paris Sous les Bombes” by Suprême NTM
‘Paris Sous les Bombes’ is the third album composed by the hip hop stars JoeyStarr and Kool Shen. The duo is also regarded as the Godfathers of French rap music. The word ‘bombes’ in this song signifies the Aerosol cans used by the graffiti artist friends of the duo.
The title track of the song is all about the nostalgic moments they had spending nights spray painting in the walls of their neighborhood. The two rappers are widely known for confusing the authorities and moving them the wrong way.