French Language Blog

François Feldman’s “Joue pas” (“Don’t Play”) Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Music, Vocabulary

French people remember François Feldman as a distinguished chanteur (singer) who left an indelible mark on the French song scene of the 1980‘s.

But in addition to an early successful carrière (career), they tend to remember his later “gaffe“, or to use nowadays popular “mème internet(“Internet meme”), his “EPIC FAIL“, so to speak, performed en direct (live) on French Television, in the presence of that same TV host, Michel Drucker, who a few years before had la folle idée (the insane idea) of introducing Whitney Houston to Serge Gainsbourg live on his TV show!

Indeed, during a 1996 Téléthon meant to help people suffering from myopathy, François Feldman shouted to the audience: “tout le monde debout!” (“everybody stand up!”), before trying to catch up with “…là-bas!” (“over there!”), pointing to the smaller portion of the audience who were not sitting on a fauteuil roulant (wheelchair.)

François Feldman’s “epic fail” live on French TV: “Tout le monde debout” (“Everybody Stand Up”)!

* * *

By all means, the comment genuinely seemed unintentional by François. But if, for a split of a second, he thought that ce jeu de mot (this wordplay) could somehow make people laugh, then he must have immediately come to his mind, though a bit too late of course, the title of his song… “Joue pas” (“Don’t play“)!

At any rate, sheer coincidence or not, soon after this incident, the performance of François Feldman‘s songs started to nosedive dramatically in the charts, which led some French people, with a little penchant (inclination) for dark sense of humor, to speculate that his “everybody stand up” gaffe may have left “un effet paralysant sur sa carrière, or “a most crippling effect on his career“…

* * *

Joue pas” (“Don’t play”)—(In un duo with Joniece Jamison)

* * *

FF – Tu peux me faire danser, bouger, tourner autour de toi

FF – You can make me dance, move, turn around you

JJ – Tu peux me faire chanter, murmurer, crier n’importe quoi

J-J You can make me sing, whisper, scream anything at all

FF – Tu peux me faire sentir, s’il faut partir

FF – You can make me feel, if it’s time to leave

JJ – Où

J-J Where

FF – Où le soleil sera

FF- Where the sun will be

JJ – Tu peux me faire sourire, éclater de rire, rêver dans tes bras

JJ – You can make smile, burst out laughing, dream in your arms


Mais joue pas, pas avec moi

But don’t play, not with me

Car l’amour ça plaisante pas

Because love’s no joke

Joue pas, joue pas comme ça

Don’t play, don’t play like that

Tu sais, tu sais jamais

You know, you never know

Jusqu’où ça ira… de jouer avec moi

To where it can go… to play with me

JJ – Tu peux me dessiner, me sculpter, en pâte à modeler

JJ – You can draw me, sculpt me in modeling clay

FF – Tu peux me colorier, me tatouer Aux couleurs de l’été

FF – You can color me up

Tu sais, tu sais jamais

You know, you never know

Jamais jusqu’où ça ira

To where it can go

FF + JJ – De jouer avec moi

FF + JJ – To play with me

FF – On pourrait se fiancer, se marier, je dis pas n’importe quoi

FF – We could become engaged, get married, I’m not rambling

JJ – On pourrait faire un bébé, ptit bébé

JJ – We can make a baby, little babe

FF + JJ – Mélange de toi et moi

FF + JJ – Mix of you and me


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  1. Charles Laster:

    OO. French disco’s so much better than the american version, and the lyrics are so much better.