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Serge-Gainsbourg-No-Comment---Exte-538514


So what’s the difference between a tribute and plagiarism?
Classical music has been ripped off by so many that we sometimes ignore (when the melody is slightly less-known) the original piece!
Serge Gainsbourg found his inspiration in Classical music so often that DECCA Records even published an album compiling the inspiration behind some of his greatest tracks.
To my knowledge, he “borrowed” Chopin’s melodies at least 3 times, transforming them into beautiful tracks he didn’t necessarily sing:
The Prelude No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28 became “Jane B“, famously sung by his partner at the time Jane Birkin.
Catherine Deneuve’s “Dépression au dessus du jardin” was lifted straight from Etudes, Op. 10 No. 9 in F minor.
But the cover I first heard that actually spiked my interest in this classically-trained musician’s melodic inspiration was Lemon incest (1984) which he sang with his daughter Charlotte.





Forget the controversial subject matter, the lyrics (it took me some time to understand that Niédwa Sorou was reverse slang for the painter Le Douanier Rousseau) or the video (love the denim though!). What really struck me the first time I heard it was how familiar it felt. I was sure I’d heard this track before!





I later learned it was Frédéric Chopin’s Etude n°3 op.10. And when I went around the web trying to learn more about it, I realized a lot of users called it Tristesse (Sadness)… in reference to a Tino Rossi song released in 1939 which had also borrowed the melody!!





“L’ombre s’enfuit, tout n’est que songe
Et tu n’es plus, malgré tous nos désirs,
Qu’un souvenir
Si l’amour n’est que mensonge
Au parfum triste qui ronge
S’il est vrai qu’à moi ta lèvre ment
Sache pourtant que toujours quand même
Cher amour je t’aime
Eperdument”



More recently, another cover was used extensively in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest Scientology movie, The Master. This is when the track changed completely in my ears. No longer a sleazy french track, the naïve and honest lyrics of this version tore down the wall of cynicism that I had built around myself.





No Other Love can warm my heart
Now that I’ve known the comfort of your arms
No other love.
Oh the sweet contentment that I find with you Every Time
Every Time.
No other lips could want you more For I was born to glory in your kiss.
Forever yours
I was blessed with love to love you Til the stars burn out above you
Til the moon is but a silver shell
No other love, Let no other love
Know the wonder of your spell.”



Nearly 20 years later, in 1969, The Lettermen gave these lyrics a “close-harmony” twist: mp3





But why did I decide to dedicate so much time to this composition, especially since I’m not really a classic music buff nor have i ever really played an instrument?
Is it because the Lyrics were dedicated to me recently?
Is it because I Like Chopin?





Not really… It’s just that, a few hours ago, I stumbled across yet another cover of this melody (a surf-rock version nothing less!!!) and I decided it was time to take all this useless trivia off my chest and turn the page.





The thing is you can never totally turn the page. People will continue integrating this Etude into popular culture. Muse even transformed it into a Prelude for their Olympic Anthem Survival on their latest album The 2nd Law





So, you’ll ask me: was it worth it? Am I always that anal about things? What now?
No Comment!


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