vendredi 16 novembre 2007

Another French myth collapses.

This French vidéo was made in 1964 and was a huge hit at the time. So what? will you ask, the 60's were a time of huge hits. Yeah, sure, but this was a real, real, huge hit really. I mean so huge that the title of the song ["Zorro est arrivé" (Zorro has arrived)] has now turned into a set expression of the French language. Whether politicians, trade-unionists, school children etc. they'll all refer to "Zorro" in order to indicate that we were in dire straits but the white knight came and saved us all.

Now the singer we see here is a very famous French one and still performing at 90. He's reckoned to be a great musician (although you can't tell from this clip) and many of his songs now belong to the French repertoire. So I never had any doubt that this Zorro song was as French as the béret and the camembert.

How wrong I was! To my great, great, great surprise, I've just learned that "Zorro" is the French cover of the "Along came Jones" title by the Coasters (1959)!

And eventually it should come as no surprise since the French musical scene was so pathetic during the 60's that the only way to feed the market with popular songs was to cover American hits. The most enduring one in France probably will remain "500 miles" in 1962.

But as astonished as I was to learn about the real origin of Zorro (Leiber-Stoller), how many Americans would be to learn that "My way" is originally a French song? This cover by F. Sinatra is so great that you would think it's kind of emblematic of America. And yet, it was a French song in the beginning, created by the worst disaster to ever strike the French music industry (in terms of quality). I don't give the video, this blog has certain claims in terms of decency...

Zorro is American?!? The things you learn with the Internet...

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Zorro may have been American in the sense that his fictional adventures took place in Spanish Mexico, or even perhaps by the fact that the character was in some way connected with Mexican or Chilean banditos. Yes, the author was an American, but I contend that his stories were intended for everyone, irrespective of nationality, who desperately needed heroes following World War I. This author, unlike the deeply sorrowful and depressing “lost generation,” held out hope that mankind could find worthy attributes — even in fictional characters — to which others could aspire.

Flocon a dit…

Maybe was the post somewhat ambiguous somewhere.
I knew the fictional character was from an American author

and I knew about the Disney serials being broadcast in France at that time (1964)

I was in the age to watch it then.

But there's no mention of Zorro in the Coasters's song and I thought Salvador seized the opportunity to write this song because Zorro was a very popular charcter back then (and still is).

It's only the song that I thought was French, I already knew about 12 that Zorro was an American novel hero.

"I contend that his stories were intended for everyone, irrespective of nationality"
This is true indeed for every writer or musician or artist in general.