...or des nouvelles de Bourg-les-Essonnes
Another thing my brother and I tried to remember last weekend were the words to the song with the brain-wormy line "Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge".
By coincidence, the song came up in a Metafilter post this week along with a link to Billie Gentry's original version. I love the Billie Gentry version with it's unsettling whiney quality and strange narrative (much more than the Sheryl Crowe ersatz version) but I think I actually prefer Joe Dassin's French version. (I've googled everywhere but I'm afraid I just can't find a link to give you an idea of what it sounds like). In a clever transposition, the young man Billie-Joe becomes a young French woman, Marie-Jeanne Guillaume, who throws herself off the "Pont de la Garonne" but like the original it never actually quite descends into the maudlin. One of the things I like is the way all of the cultural references are translated to a French context too:
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
C'était le quatre juin, le soleil tapait depuis le matin
Je m'occupais de la vigne et mon frère chargeait le foin
And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas
"Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please"
Et mon père dit à ma mère en nous passant le plat de gratin :
"La Marie-Jeanne, elle n'était pas très maligne, passe-moi donc le pain".
"I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right"
Donne-moi encore un peu de vin, c'est bien injuste la vie
However, in both versions the enigma remains — just what was it exactly that Billie-Joe (or Marie-Jeanne) and the singer were throwing off the bridge last Sunday? Answers in the comments please.