Ne me quitte pas
"Ne me quitte pas" ("Don't leave me") is a 1959 song by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. It 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".
|"Ne me quitte pas"|
|Song by Jacques Brel|
|from the album La Valse à Mille Temps|
|Recorded||11 September 1959|
"Ne me quitte pas" is considered by some as "Brel's ultimate classic". It 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. Brel first recorded the song on 11 September 1959, and it was released on his fourth album La Valse à Mille Temps. It was published by Warner-Chappell Publishing. In 1961 a Dutch-language version sung by Brel was released on the Philips label; entitled "Laat me niet alleen", with lyrics by Ernst van Altena, it was a B-side to Marieke (also a Dutch-language version). Brel recorded "Ne me quitte pas" again as the title track of his 1972 album.
In a 1966 interview, Brel said that "Ne me quitte pas" was not a love song, but rather "a hymn to the cowardice of men", and the degree to which they were willing to humiliate themselves. He knew, he said, that it would give pleasure to women who assumed it was a love song, and he understood that.
The lyrics "Moi, je t'offrirai des perles de pluie venues de pays où il ne pleut pas" ("I'll offer you rain pearls from lands where it does not rain") are sung to a theme borrowed from the second part, Lassan (Andante), of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 by the composer Franz Liszt.
Johnny Hallyday version
|"Ne me quitte pas / La garce"|
|Single by Johnny Hallyday|
|from the album Johnny Hallyday au Zénith|
|Released||November 30, 1984|
|Johnny Hallyday singles chronology|
|"La garce" on YouTube|
French singer Johnny Hallyday released a live version of this song as a single in November 1984. It was recorded during his performances at Le Zénith. The song was part of his 1984 album Johnny Hallyday au Zénith.
Alain Wodrascka in his 2008 book Johnny Hallyday: les adieux du rock'cœur notes how Hallyday put in his 1984 cover of Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" his special vocal qualities, i.e. his vocals that are "full of sensuality and expression of physical strength of an indestructible man, who sings as if making love".
- Maysa Matarazzo in Maysa Sings Songs Before Dawn and Maysa Matarazzo 1961 (released in Argentina). released again in 1966 álbum Maysa (1966). This version was used by Pedro Almodóvar in the movie Law of Desire (1987). Also used in 2001 for the Brazilian mini-series Presença de Anita (Anita's Presence) and in 2009 miniseries Maysa: Quando Fala o Coração.
- Barbara chante Brel
- Nina Simone in her June 1965 I Put a Spell on You album
- Frida Boccara (some versions): 1. Duet with Luis Recatero (EP Belter 51532, 1965); 2. Frida Boccara Sings – 1967, LP Melodia, made in USSR (Поёт Фрида Боккара [Д-20579-80]); 3. Place des Arts – Montreal '71 Live (2 LP Philips, 1971 and CD 2006, Canada); 4.An Evening With Frida Boccara (1978, Live at Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne – 2 LP Philips and some CD compilations); 5. Un jour, un enfant – posthumous CD (1999)
- Vicky Leandros – Brel asked Leandros to sing this song after they met in a French TV studio. The song was released on the album Ich Bin released January 1971 and on the French album Je Suis Comme Je Suis released in Canada (October 1971)
- Mireille Mathieu in Les grandes chansons francaises
- Alison Moyet Appears as the B-side to "Love Letters"
- Alison Moyet Appears as the B-side to "Getting into Something"
- Isabelle Aubret in her Chante Brel album
- Timna Brauer & Elias Meiri in their album "Chansons et violons"
- Elena Kamburova in her album Дорога (The Road) CD
- Maria Bill sings Jacques Brel
- Estrella Morente, a flamenco singer, on her album Mujeres, whose arrangement and performance is based on Nina Simone's.
- Caro Emerald as a digital download performed in both French and English.
- 2012: Mashrou' Leila's version "ما تتركني هيك - ne me quitte pas". Indie band from Lebanon performed the cover-version at Paleo Festival Nyon – (Chapiteau / Switzerland) in 2012.
- 2017: Mike Massy adapted the song in Arabic, Lebanese slang "ما تفل Ma Tfell / Ne Me Quitte Pas" and released it in his EP "Le Délire". Lyrics by Nami Moukheiber, Arranged by Mike Massy.
- 2008: Źmicier Vajciuškievič's version "Nie hublaj mianie" ("Не губляй мяне")was recorded on the album Toje što treba.
- 1965: Emili Vendrell – "No em deixis tan sol"
- 1967: Mercè Madolell – "No te'n vagis pas"
- 1968: Salomé – "No em deixis mai"
- 2005: Albert Fibla – "No em deixis, no"
- 1971: Arsen Dedić – Nemoj poći sad
The pop standard "If You Go Away", with lyrics by Rod McKuen, has been covered by many artists including Ray Charles. Different lyrics by Momus, closer to those of the original, render the song as "Don't Leave", added to all reissues of his 1986 album Circus Maximus. American duo the Black Veils translate the song as "Don't Leave Me" on their 2009 album Troubadours, which includes translations of six other French chansons. Sung by Holcombe Waller in Ryan Trecartin's "Sibling Topics (section a)" at 23:10.
- 1967: Shirley Bassey released a version as a single which also appeared on her album And We Were Lovers.
- 1967: Dusty Springfield popularized a multi-lingual French/English version for her album The Look of Love
- 1967: Lana Cantrell, for her album And Then There Was Lana
- 1967: Kim Weston, for her MGM album For The First Time
- 1967: The Seekers, for their album Seekers Seen in Green
- 1968: Glen Campbell recorded a version on his album Wichita Lineman
- 1969: Frank Sinatra released a version on his album My Way
- 1969: Scott Walker recorded a cover of "Ne me quitte pas" on his third solo album Scott 3, originally released in 1969. Scott Walker released various Brel covers on the albums Scott 1, 2 & 3, which were translated by Mort Shuman.
- 1971: Neil Diamond covered "Ne me quitte pas" on his seventh studio album "Stones".
- 1974: Terry Jacks covered "If You Go Away" and released it as a stand alone single.
- 1982: Marc Almond covered the track with his band Marc and the Mambas on the album Untitled
- 1989: Marc Almond recorded a second cover on his album Jacques, an hommage to Jacques Brel.
- 2003: Shirley Horn, for her final album May the Music Never End
- 2003: Cyndi Lauper recorded a version for her album At Last
- 2006: Art of Time Ensemble recorded a version with vocalist Martin Tielli on their debut album Live in Toronto.
- 2009: Barbra Streisand recorded a multi-lingual French/English version for her album Love Is the Answer
- 2011: Dalis Car recorded for the album InGladAloneness
- 2013: Tout Va Bien recorded a version which was released as a single on iTunes.
- 2014: Storm Large in her album "Le Bonheur"
- 2014: Caro Emerald as a digital download performed in both French and English.
- 2007: Douwe Heeringa "Leafste bliuw by my"
- 1971: Vicky Leandros in the album Pes mou pos mporeis (Tell me how you can).
- 1979: Yiannis Parios in the LP Tha Me Thymithis (You will remember me), with the title "Mi me afinis mi" (Don't leave me, don't).
- 1996: Haris Alexiou in her live album: Gyrizontas ton kosmo (During my world tour).
- 2007: Yiannnis Parios' live rendition of the aforementioned song.
- 2009: Vassilikos in the album "Vintage"
- 1974: Dani Granot Sang "Ana Al Telchi" - Please don't go(אנא אל תלכי), a translation by Dafna Eilat, in his album Shkiot Nashim Vechol Hashar.
- 1992: The late Yossi Banai sings Al telchi mikan - Don't go from here(אל תלכי מכאן), a translation by Naomi Shemer, in the Im neda' le'ehov – Songs of Jacques Brel (אם נדע לאהוב) record
- 2001: Rita and Rami Kleinstein sang the same Hebrew version live in their tour, that was later released on a CD, Rita Rami on Stage
- 2008: Itay Pearl Israeli composer http://www.itaypearl.com, wrote a song as a response to the original Jacques Brel version.
- 2009: Shlomi Shaban: Translated by Dory Manor, Al Telchi Achshav - Don't go now (אל תלכי עכשיו).
- 2011: Miri Mesika sings the translation by Naomi Shemer, in her http://www.israel-music.com/miri_mesika/live_acoustic_at_zappa
- 1974: Simone de Oliveira (Portugal) "Não me vás deixar (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" (J. Brel – David Mourão Ferreira) in Nunca mais a Solidão
- 1979: Altemar Dutra (Brazil) "Se Você Partir" – Se Você Partir (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (J.Brel – Romeo Nunes)
- 1989: Raimundo Fagner (Brazil) "Não Me Deixes" – Não Me Deixes (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (J. Brel – Fausto Nilo)
- 1968: Anica Zubović's version "Ako odeš ti" (Beograd Disk, EP "Anica" Yugoslavia 1968)
- 2009: Branko Završan "Saj ne boš kar šla"
- 2011: Jure Ivanušič "Ne zapusti me"
- 1972: Zeki Müren "Beni Terketme"
- 1975: Ertan Anapa "Beni Terketme"
- 1977: Lale Belkıs "Beni Bırakma"
- 2008: Mendy Cahan's version "לאָז מיך נישט אַלײן"
- 2007: Das Blaue Einhorn's version of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" in French and German, from their album Verkauf dein Pferd – Lieder vom Halten und Lassen (2007)
- 2014: Caro Emerald as a digital download performed in both French and English.
In popular culture
The song was used in season 1 episode 19 of the critically acclaimed TV show Person of Interest. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" was used by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar in his sixth film, Law of Desire, in a striking performance by Brazilian singer Maysa Matarazzo. A parody of the song and the singer, as the archetypal chansonnier, was performed by Italian actor Gigi Proietti. It is also the name of an episode in the series Ramy.
- Robine, Marc. "Quand on n'a que l'amour- Jacques Brel". Retrieved 14 January 2007.
- Christian Lamet; Stan Cuesta; François Gorin; François Ducray (2007). La chanson française (in French). Paris: Scali. p. 234. ISBN 235012097X.
- "Jacques Brel - N° 4".
- "Jacques Brel - Marieke / Laat Me Niet Alleen (Ne Me Quitte Pas)".
- Dialogue between Jacques Brel and Geneviève de Vilmorin, interviewed by Emmanuel Poulet (RTL, 1966)
- Alain Wodrascka (2008). Johnny Hallyday: les adieux du rock'cœur. Carpentier. ISBN 978-2-84167-565-4.
... à fleur de sensualité et l'expression de la force physique d'un homme indestructible, qui chante comme s'il faisait l'amour - Johnny mettra ces mêmes qualités vocales au service de sa reprise de «Ne me quitte pas» de Jacques Brel (1984)
- "Johnny Hallyday - Ne Me Quitte Pas / La Garce at Discogs". Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "ultratop.be - Johnny Hallyday - Ne me quitte pas". Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Confusion between Suzanne Langlois and Jacques Brel". Second Hand Songs. 11 May 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
- "Sting – Ne Me Quitte Pas – (live)". YouTube. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Maria Gadú – Ne Me Quitte Pas – (live)". YouTube. 20 September 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- Video on YouTube
- Discogs.com: album "Радмила Караклаич" (LP, USSR 1973)
- "Игорь Иванов".
- "nun me romp er ca".
- (in English) SecondHandSongs cover hierarchy for 'Ne Me Quitte Pas'
- (in French) (in English) (in Italian) Brelitude - List of 'Ne me quitte pas' cover versions
- Video on YouTube
- See the article "List of Jacques Brel cover versions".
- Alfred de Grazia: Don't Leave Me: a translation into English by Anne-Marie de Grazia at the Wayback Machine (archived 14 January 2008)