50 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2017, #MusicalMemories, Memoir, Music, Writing/Blogging

Musical Memories #AtoZChallenge 2017

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#AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Musical Memories” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the A to Z Blog. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!

JE T'AIME | #AtoZChallenge
Day 10, April 12

The time: August 4, 1973
The place: Wedding reception hall, downtown Toronto

First, a little background:

In 1969, French artist Serge Gainsbourg recorded this song with his then girlfriend, Jane Birkin. Basically, it sounded like a couple having sex, with lyrics to match.

Click HERE for an English translation of the lyrics.

From Wikipedia: The eroticism was declared offensive. It was banned from radio in Spain, Sweden, Brazil, the UK, Italy and Portugal, before 11 pm in France, by many stations in the United States and denounced by the Vatican and the L’Osservatore Romano. One report even claimed the Vatican excommunicated the record executive who released it in Italy. Birkin says Gainsbourg called the Pope “our greatest PR man”.

First dance, Je "Taime...Moi Non Plus | #AtoZChallengeI purchased the single as a curiosity (no restrictions on it in Germany, where I was living at the time), but found myself attracted to the melody. A couple of years later, when I played it for my boyfriend, he started dancing with me. It became sort of a ritual with us. Ain’t love grand? 😀

When we were planning our wedding reception in 1973 and selecting a first song, Future Hubby suggested “Je T’Aime”. I was reluctant, given that most of our guests were Catholic and some over 40. It was personally significant, though. Obvious solution? Go with an instrumental version. That’s what we did and it sounded something like this:

Are you familiar with this song? Do you like the melody?
Do you think it was right to ban it?

Looking forward to your comments!


The Doglady’s Den #AtoZChallenge 2017 Youtube playlist:
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Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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50 thoughts on “JE TAIME…MOI NON PLUS | #AtoZCHALLENGE (J) #MusicalMemories

  1. Whew! Is it hot in here or what??? I listened to the instrumental first, and I actually really liked it. Then I listened to the original.

    I can understand why it got banned. I honestly would not like to hear something like that on the radio, unless I am alone or with my significant other. I think it would be awkward hearing it together with a bunch of people in public. It was the breathing that had it banned, I guess. But considering the crap artists come up with these days, that’s tamed and romantic. I did Google an English translation so there was no way it could not be interpreted as not about lovers doing the deed…Anyway, this is a really interesting post, Debbie 🙂

    As Lovely as a Tree

    1. Personally, it didn’t bother me, (we Germans are pretty blasé about this stuff and it was not banned in Germany) but I completely agree it would have been awkward to use the original song in a large group of people; especially devout Roman Catholics! I never entertained that idea; just really loved the melody and thought it was perfect for the first dance. P.S. There’s an English translation link in the post as well. Does it match the one you found? 🙂

      1. And we just happen to be generally Roman Catholics here, so yes, you hit the nail on the head. I’m pretty sure it could get banned here still should it become popular again.

        I did not notice the link to the translation at all, ha ha haaa!!! Well, the one I saw was very similar except it said “back” rather than “loins”, so I was like, “What…?” LOL!!!

  2. Yes, I remember it being banned here in the UK. I don’t know why.
    Loved the post and story.

  3. Another memorable song, I believe it was “Banned” over here for a while.
    Lovely write to the post also.


  4. Sheltered ol’ me, I have never heard of the song. It’s a nice melody, but I do like more in my songs than a lot of heavy breathing. For that topic, I would prefer “Sex” by Berlin.

    1. Yes, the melody attracted me much more than the breathy vocals. 🙂 I wasn’t familiar with the one you mentioned so I looked it up. That is a fun song. Thanks!

  5. I first heard the song in the late seventies, when I started learning French and was intrigued by the title enough to write a poem of my own around it. Yes, Love is grand. I love your hack for playing the instrumental at your reception. How special! Creativity should never be banned, i think. There are far worse songs today with the most popular profanity — so big deal. I think snippets of the music from Je T’aime have been used in various songs/ads. I like it! I think the melody is so lounge-in-your-sofa-with-a-drink-nearby-reminiscing-soothing.

    1. The musical track is one of my favourites and yes, the lyrics would be no big deal nowadays. I don’t believe in censorship at all. Thanks, Vidya! 🙂

  6. Oh, I much prefer the instrumental over the vocals on this one. I can only imagine what everyone would think if the vocals were used for the wedding dance. Great selection today!

  7. I don’t believe I’d ever heard this song before, though I have very dinosaur tastes in music and don’t keep up with the music of my own generation or what’s popular today. It’s a very pretty, sensual song.

  8. I liked the instrumental version better – neat solution to the wedding music issue! Can’t imagine what the in-laws would have said if you’d gone with those lyrics 😉

    1. I never considered using the original, Nila. Not really appropriate for a formal reception, plus we had a live band. Can’t see them doing those sound effects – they were all male. 😀 Sadly, there were no in-laws at the wedding. 🙁 Hubby’s parents lived in Italy, but in any case, the family matriarch forbade anyone living here from attending. She held the purse strings and so, they didn’t. His cousins from Toronto (see the ‘D’ post) didn’t care and were happy to come. At least one faction of the family wasn’t xenophobic!

    1. Cool! I’m psyched that so many people actually know it. I didn’t think they would! Jane doesn’t strike me as a great beauty, but with this song, she certainly comes off as sexy. 🙂 Thanks for dropping in.

  9. Debbie, I prefer the instrumental arrangement over the lyrical version. I’m not sure if I’d go so far as to ban the song but the words really didn’t inspire me one, which is a big part of how well a song does in my opinion. You were wise to go with the melody for your reception. I think you would’ve gotten a lot of raised eyebrows and dropped jaws if your guest heard these words. lol Thanks for sharing and for visiting today’s Art Sketching Through the Alphabet Letter “J” for Jack & Jill post! Happy A2Zing, my friend!

    1. Hi Cathy; The song was only recorded in French, never English (that’s just a translation [looks more or less accurate; there’s a few out there] that somebody did on the internet) and our guests likely wouldn’t have understood the lyrics. The sound effects, on the other hand, require no translation and might have had a few people choking on their pasta. 😀 I never actually considered using the original version. Not exactly appropriate for a formal reception. LOL Thanks for visiting!

  10. Honestly, hearing it for the first time, I love the tune and felt it was sensual. Then I clicked the EnGLISh Translation link and understood why it may have raised a few eyebrows… personally, I liked it. Would be excellent romantic music, if you ask me.

    1. A mobile disco? Your life sounds so interesting, Keith! 🙂 It’s a great song, isn’t it? The banning only made it all the more popular. I still have my 45 as well. Thanks for sharing your memories with me. Cheers!

  11. I remember this–if you speak French it most definitely was WAY ahead of it’s time. I heard it at university where the campus radio station was always pushing the envelope.

    1. Oui, je comprend les mots. 🙂 I’m from Germany, where nobody bats an eye about these things, even back in 1969. Definitely not appropriate for a wedding reception, though.

  12. 1969 and the instrumental sounds very familiar to me! Very beautiful! I didn’t know the lyrics and/or story behind it. Whew!!! The way things were back then, and before, in the Catholic Church where even the suggestion (especially in French) would definitely cause an uproar! 😀

  13. HiYa, DEBBIE ~
    I’d never heard this song before but I really love it — particularly the instrumental version you provided. The melody is wonderful. (And you know how hot we are for… organs. Ha! Even if that is really a synthesizer in “B-3” mode.) I listened to it three times!

    The original version was good too, but their breathy voices are just kind of acceptable. And the lyrics aren’t exactly poetry, but no more offensive than some of the songs from the ‘HAIR’ soundtrack — and even less so than one I can think of in particular.

    The marriage of such a lovely melody to lyrics like that reminded me of that funny moment in the movie ‘THIS IS SPINAL TAP’ when Nigel Tufnel reveals to Marty DiBergi the title of the beautiful instrumental he’s working on. :-O

    This was a great installment in your series.

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. Yes, we certainly do love organs, Stephen. 😀 Jane Birkin wasn’t that great of a singer or an actress, in my opinion, but she was Serge’s girlfriend at the time. He first recorded the song with Brigitte Bardot, his previous fling, but never released it. I agree, there are more shocking lyrics out there now, and this probably wouldn’t even cause a stir. Help me out here. I don’t remember the title of Nigel Tufnel’s ‘beautiful instrumental’. It’s been years since I saw ‘Spinal Tap’. I’m glad you enjoyed this episode. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about a mutual favourite: Warren Zevon. Thanks for visiting!

  14. That was a fun story about that song, Debbie. By the look of those two with their sleepy lids, they’d just finished making out. He is smoking a cigarette after all. Hahah! What a song! Ooh la la! I can see why you picked an instrumental version for your wedding. Safer that way!

    1. The French and Germans think nothing about this sort of thing, but some older Roman Catholics wouldn’t have been too comfortable, I’m sure. I never actually considered using the original version. Seemed out of a place at a wedding reception. 🙂

  15. Very interesting! I like the song and the melody for sure. I listened to the full version and read the translated lyrics. I can see why it was banned back then … those being the times they were. I don’t think there would even be a raised eyebrow today. Well, maybe the radical right would have a problem with it, but not mainstream folks.
    I love that you used it in your wedding. Wise choice going with the instrumental version 😏

    Thanks for the introduction!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. It’s a beautiful song, for sure. I know what you mean, nobody would bat an eye now. In Germany, things like that didn’t cause any furor whatsoever, not even in 1969. I never considered using the original for our reception, but it would fit right in for the honeymoon. 😀

  16. Oh yes I remember this song all too well. And as young teens were more curious to hear it because it was banned……But I love the melody and perhaps it was wise to play the instrumental version rather than have raised eyebrows or offended guests at your wedding! p.s. we didn’t understand the words at all but smirked all the same….

  17. Love this song! It never got played on the radio in Knoxville, TN when it came out, but my good friend Marvin introduced it to me and later I got the 45 record. Several years back I bought a Serge Gainsborough tribute CD with a number of different artists doing his songs including this one. Great melody. I don’t think it fit the Top Forty radio format, but it’s great for late night radio listening.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. I’m psyched that you know and love this song, Lee! Not surprised you didn’t hear it on the radio back then. 🙂 Serge Gainsbourg had some interesting material.

  18. I know the song. The ban must have been lifted, because I’ve heard it on daytime radio at a much later time. I think going with an instrumental version was a great solution. Could have been awkward otherwise!

    1. I’m happy so many people know this song! 🙂 The ban was in 1969/70. I’m not sure if it extended beyond that. Compared to some songs out there now, this is nothing. I never considered using the original at the reception. Plus, we had a live band. Can you just see them doing the sound effects? 😀 They were all male. LOL