Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Play this song at my funeral, please. Would this was everybody’s anthem. Or is that terribly cheesy? Edith Piaf sang like her spirit was on fire, but did she really sweep away all her regrets or did she even want to? Who knows. If, like most Americans, your main source of all things Piaf is the Hollywood movie of her life, you have a glancing familiarity with her various high- and low- lights. You know that she lived one of the most outstandingly dysfunctional lives of a revered cultural figure. The movie, being a movie, is overly simplistic and overly dramatic, but the story it’s based on is at least as strange as fiction. Edith Piaf’s life was marred continuously by tragedies and disasters both of her own making and beyond her control. What regrets she may have been haunted by we’ll never know. It is both ironic and completely appropriate that a woman who lived through so much would produce such fiercely uplifting music.

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