Non, je ne regrette rien

"Non, je ne regrette rien" (French pronunciation: [nɔ̃ ʒə nə ʁəɡʁɛt ʁjɛ̃], meaning "No, I do not regret anything") is a French song composed by Charles Dumont, with lyrics by Michel Vaucaire. It was written in 1956, and is best known through Édith Piaf's 1960 recording, which spent seven weeks atop the French Singles & Airplay Reviews chart.[1]

"Non, je ne regrette rien"
Song by Édith Piaf
Composer(s)Charles Dumont
Lyricist(s)Michel Vaucaire


The composer Charles Dumont tells in the book Edith Piaf, Opinions publiques, by Bernard Marchois (TF1 Editions 1995), that Michel Vaucaire's original title was "Non, je ne trouverai rien" (No, I will not find anything) and that the song was meant for the popular French singer Rosalie Dubois. But, thinking of Edith, he changed the title to "Non, je ne regrette rien" (No, I Regret Nothing).

According to journalist Jean Noli, in his book Edith (Éditions Stock 1973), when Charles Dumont and Michel Vaucaire visited Piaf's home at Boulevard Lannes in Paris, on 24 October 1960, she received them in a very impolite and unfriendly manner. Dumont had several times tried to offer Piaf his compositions, but she disliked them and had refused them  the standard was too low, according to her. On that day she was furious that her housekeeper Danielle had arranged a meeting with the two men without informing her. So she let them wait an hour in her living room before she appeared. "As you can see I am extremely tired", she said to them, very irritated. "Hurry up, only one song! Quick to the piano, go ahead!" she commanded. Nervous and perspiring, Dumont sang the song in a low voice. When he finished there was a big silence, as they waited for Piaf's verdict. "Will you sing it again?" asked Piaf in a sharp voice. When he was hardly halfway through, she interrupted him. "Formidable [Fantastic]!," she burst out. "Fantastic," she repeated, "this is the song I have been waiting for. It will be my biggest success! I want it for my coming performance at L'Olympia!" Vaucaire, delighted, replied, "Of course, Edith, the song is yours".

Piaf dedicated her recording of the song to the French Foreign Legion.[2] At the time of the recording, France was engaged in a military conflict, the Algerian War (1954–1962), and the 1st REP (1st Foreign Parachute Regiment)  which backed the failed 1961 putsch against president Charles de Gaulle and the civilian leadership of Algeria – adopted the song when their resistance was broken. The leadership of the Regiment was arrested and tried but the non-commissioned officers, corporals and Legionnaires were assigned to other Foreign Legion formations. They left the barracks singing the song, which has now become part of the French Foreign Legion heritage and is sung when they are on parade.[3]


The rhymes of the words echo the rhythm of the melody following typical French meter, where words almost always stress the final syllable, in iambic and anapestic compositions. A literal translation into English is unable to maintain the internal harmony of lyric and tune, since English words usually stress an earlier syllable and are most often suited to trochaic (DA-da-DA-da) and dactylic (DA-da-da-DA-da-da) meter. A variety of English language versions have been recorded. Discussion of their merits is ongoing.[4] The superlative, all-encompassing object arousing the transcendent emotions of the lover singing the song, and the good and bad that the lover has experienced are rendered by the use of the impersonal pronoun (ni le bien qu'on m'a fait / ni le mal: literally neither the good that one did to me / nor the bad; but the construction is usually translated with the passive voice, neither the good that was done to me / nor the bad).[5]

Other recordings

The song has been recorded by other performers, including:

  • Piaf herself recorded an English version, titled No Regrets.
  • Frances McDormand as DuBois sings the song in Madagascar 3 Europe’s Most Wanted
  • Shirley Bassey in 1965,

(reaching No. 39 on the UK charts) and on the album Love Songs.

Other languages

  • "Nej, jag ångrar ingenting" (Swedish) by Anita Lindblom in 1961
  • "Ne oplakujem" (Croatian) by Tereza Kesovija in 1962
  • "Ne oplakujem" (Croatian) by Ana Štefok in 1964
  • "Ne, ne žalim ni za čim" (Serbian) by Lola Novaković in 1964
  • "Nej, jag ångrar ingenting" (Swedish) by Gun Sjöberg in 1966
  • "Nelituj" (Czech) by Světlana Nálepková in 2005
  • "Ne, ni mi žal" (Slovenian) by Aleš Polajnar in 2014
  • "No dico no" (Italian) by Dalida
  • "No me puedo quejar" (Spanish) by Dalida
  • "Nah de Nah" (Spanish) by Javiera Mena
  • "Nem, nem bánok semmit sem" (Hungarian) by Vári Éva


Édith Piaf version (1960-1961) Peak
France[11] 1
Kingdom of the Netherlands 1
Wallonia 1
Quebec 1
Switzerland 5
Flanders 6
Italia[12] 8


  1. Archives on "InfoDisc" site. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  2. Cooke, James J. (1990). "Alexander Harrison, Challenging de Gaulle: The O.A.S. and the Counterrevolution in Algeria, 1954–1962". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Boston: Boston University African Studies Center.
  3. While the officers were interned, they sang a variant of the song using lyrics relevant to their situation, which was recorded and is now available on YouTube. Video on YouTube
  4. "Edith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien discussion thread". Song Meanings Lyrics website. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  5. "Edith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien discussion thread". Song Meanings Lyrics website. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  6. Johnston, Philip (16 March 2004). "It ain't over till the Home Secretary sings". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. McWilliams, Ed (28 February 2002). "Princen sided with people" (Letter from Ed McWilliams, former US foreign Service Officer). The Jakarta Post.
  8. "Hans Zimmer Explains the Intersection Between Edith Piaf and the Inception Score – /Film". Slashfilm. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  9. Hern, Alex (31 December 2017). "Tesla founder mines rich marketing seam by selling Boring hats". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  10. "Hat — The Boring Company". The Boring Company. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  11. Chartsventes (7 June 2016). "World singles charts and sales TOP 50 in 58 countries: Edith PIAF". World singles charts and sales TOP 50 in 58 countries. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  12. "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Anno: 1961". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
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