5 Juliette Gréco songs that you must listen to

Happy 90th birthday to the French singer Juliette Gréco!

Juliette Gréco

To find out more about the woman who Sartre once described as having a ‘million poems in her voice’, click here and here.

To celebrate, here are five of her best-known songs that are definitely worth a listen:

1. Sous le ciel de Paris 

Written by Jean Dréjac for the 1950 film of the same name, the song was covered by Juliette Gréco for her third album in 1951. Gréco’s recording is one of the best-known versions of the song, especially after having been on the soundtrack of the British film An Education starring Carey Mulligan.

For a more modern take on the song, why not check out these covers by Zaz or by HK et les Déserteurs, who I also write about here and here?

2. Jolie môme 

Gréco covered this song (which can be loosely translated as ‘pretty girl’) by the singer-songwriter Léo Ferré in the mid-Sixties, and has made it a key part of her repertoire ever since.

3. Paris canaille 

Again originally by Léo Ferré, this song (translated as ‘mischievous Paris’ or ‘cheeky Paris’) uses old-fashioned French slang to reveal the secrets of the City of Light.

4. La Javanaise

Written by Serge Gainsbourg for Gréco in summer 1962, whilst they were listening to records and drinking champagne together in her Paris apartment, this has become one of Gréco’s (and Gainsbourg’s) best-loved songs.

Have a look at an imagined version of their oh-so-elegant jam session here, in a clip from Gainsbourg: Vie Héroïque, Joann Sfar’s film about Serge Gainsbourg’s life.

5. La marche nuptiale 

This is probably my favourite cover performed by Gréco. Written by Georges Brassens in 1957,  it was also covered by Barbara, who I write about here.

The stripped-down musical arrangement in Gréco’s version lets her voice come through, whilst the way that she sings the song gives it a beautiful poignancy.

Hope you enjoyed reading this! 

What about you? What are your favourite French songs and singers? 🙂

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