Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes  (I wish you could understand) is the cover of a 1965 song performed by Marie Laforêt that can be found on the Manchester and Liverpool album released in 1967.

Bertrand Le Page, Mylène’s manager at the time was the reason for Mylene to sing this song: “I always told Mylène that she should do covers.

One day, I lent her all my Marie Laforêt records, because I wanted her to sing three songs that I liked a lot. However, I didn’t tell her which ones. She called me back, telling me I’m going to sing Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes, which was one of the three chosen. This is where we realize what the word synchronicity means.” (” Platinum “- 1994)

So what are those three covers, Bertrand was talking about? This is the first one, Juliette Gréco “Déshabillez moi” is the second one…anyone can think of the third from that era?

Well, thanks to Peter Ferrara – now we know the third – FRANTZ! READ MORE HERE

Bertrand Le Page also indicated at some point Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes will appear on Side B of the 45 rpm Sans Logique but that it was replaced by Dernier Sourire despite his insistence and his publisher. The studio version of Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes by Mylène remains the only one up to this day. There is a remix below by Polyedre which reuses the voice recording.

Words by Georges Pirault. Music composed by Francis Lai.

Tour 1989

Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes was sung on all the dates of Tour 89. Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat.

The song is a total tear-maker. I remember how I could cry like a baby watching this concert over and over again – together with Mylene (she is in the screen and me on my couch next to the TV set). That’s where Mylene’s emotional exposure might have sprouted from…She has perfected it with time to the untouchable level. I am sure real fans go to the concert with a box of tissues…There will be tears…there better be tears…we want emotions from Mylene. And miraculously, she does deliver – year after year, decade after decade…inexhaustible well of the most powerful and pure emotions she is, our darling.

“I wanted to maintain a certain distance with the public. Because soliciting is neither in my principles nor in my nature. But while singing Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes, which I borrowed from Marie Laforêt, I felt tears rise to my eyes. The first evenings, I refused to let them flow. Then, I ended up admitting that this false modesty was only cowardice, in front of an audience which demanded true emotions.” (“Télé 7 jours “- 27/11/1989)

In 1989, five years had passed since the first hit of Farmer (“Maman a tort” in 1984), and other successful songs had crowned the singer’s career. However, she always sang in play-back when she was invited on television (she only performed live – with difficulty – “Tristana” on La Nouvelle Affiche, on April 1, 1987). As a result, some people believed that Farmer was not a real singer. Thus, to prove her talent to her critics, Farmer scheduled a series of concerts for May 1989 in Saint-Étienne and at the Palais des Sports (Paris) for a total of nine shows.

According to Sophie Tellier, one of the dancers, Farmer thought at the beginning that she would never be able to go on stage, and then she saw this tour as an “incredible challenge”. Farmer admitted that she knew before her tour that she would be the subject of criticisms and is why she got ready physically and artistically with a great perfectionism. She chose the Palais des Sports, because she explained that she “hated the intimate places” that “prevented her from finding pleasure” and that she needed big spaces. In October, she revealed that she will perform 16 songs on stage.

Every effort was made by Farmer and Boutonnat so that this concert would be huge, whether it is at the level of the stage set, the music, special effects, choreographies… As these concerts were “a real triumph” (all available tickets were sold), a tour was scheduled adding 44 shows mainly across France, but also Switzerland and Belgium. Because of the smallness of some concert halls and the enormous size of the stage set, several shows were forced to be cancelled. Other shows were postponed (for example, the concerts in Valence and Sanary were postponed on October 16 for technical reasons). All the concert halls were full every evening. Farmer was also the first French female singer to sing in the great hall of the Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy.

Before going on stage, Farmer had an intensive athletic training including running (5 km per day), physical and breathing exercises, and was on a diet (she had even stopped smoking). She also took singing lessons. In an interview, she said about the concert : “I really eagerly awaited the moment to try this experiment. Today, I want to go there. I feel I’m able to do it. A second round is beginning. (…) I don’t want an intimate concert hall. I need wide open spaces, a breath.” She confessed that she was anxious at the idea of singing on stage and that she didn’t manage to sleep because of that. However, she considered this show as “an immense pleasure”.

Thierry Rogen, who has been involved in the elaboration of the show, said in an interview that this concert was “one of [the] most beautiful professional experiences, but at the same time one of [the] worst”. According to him, preparations for the concert were very difficult, because Farmer and Boutonnat had a high level of professionalism and they wanted to produce a great spectacle. He explained: “We [Farmer’s team] were scared until the end to not be up to the task.  We were the first to put synths and movies on stage, with a technology that was not so sophisticated as it is today. Mylène’s discs were so sophisticated in the production that we could not go on stage and just put a drummer, a bass player and a guitarist.

It needed that the audience find again on stage the color of albums which contained multiple sequences and programming. Therefore, in addition to the vocalists and Mylène on stage, there were also some backings, which included footage of voices. Perhaps it is this that has led criticism, because some people said that the sound was too great to emerge only from the stage.” He confirmed then that Farmer had never sung in playback during this tour.

The basic idea of the stage set was “the passage of time”. Boutonnat and Farmer wanted to create “a little gothic atmosphere, mixing mysterious, deep and old things”, connected to the psychoanalysis. All should be “both thoughtless and strength”. Finally, a cemetery was chosen by the singer to frame her show and “her arrival on the stage resembled that of a ghost coming out of a tomb”. Indeed, the atmosphere of these concerts was rather sad and cold. White and black (with a bit of red) were the dominant colors of the show. The transport and the assembly of the stage necessitated enormous technical means. Spectators were not allowed to photograph the singer or the stage, because an agency was specially in charge of this work.

After the first shows, Farmer said that through these concerts, she was able for the first time in her life to have confidence in herself.

Wow! What a journey! What a transformation!

Please enjoy the newly created an incredible symphonic version by Polyedre (added Octoober 10, 2021)

Let’s talk a little about Marie Laforêt (born Maïtena Marie Brigitte Doumenach; 5 October 1939 – 2 November 2019) was a French singer and actress, particularly well known for her work during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1978, she moved to Geneva, and acquired Swiss citizenship.

Her first name Maïtena, which is of Basque origin, means “beloved”, and is sometimes used by the inhabitants of Languedoc, especially of Pyrénées and also resembles the diminutive of the name Marie-Thérèse, “Maïthé”.

Doumenach, her last name, is Catalan in origin – Domènec in Catalan. Her birth name Maïtena Marie Brigitte Doumenach, and her repertoire which included pieces inspired from world folklore, have led to speculation of an Armenian origin of her parents. The singer herself used to define herself sometimes as “ariégeoise”, i.e. from the region of Ariège in the south of France.

marie laforet

Marie Laforêt was born at Soulac-sur-Mer, in Médoc, in the villa “Rithé-Rilou”, named after her aunt and her mother: Marie Thérèse and Marie Louise Saint Guily. Her father’s family, Doumenach, were originally from Olette, a village in the Pyrénées Orientales, on the border of Têt. Her paternal great-grandfather, Louis Doumenach, led a textile factory at Lavelanet, in Ariège and his son, Charles-Joseph Doumenach, was a colonel and municipal counsellor.

The singer’s maternal grandfather built “cabanons” in the resort of Soulac-Sur-Mer, in Gironde in 1886. During the Second World War, the artist’s father, an industry man, was captured and detained as a prisoner of war in Germany until the liberation in May 1945. Laforêt, her sister Alexandra and their mother knew a period of many hardships. At the age of three Laforêt suffered a sexual trauma which affected her for a long time. During the war, the Doumenachs found shelter at Cahors and in the province of their ancestors Ariège, in the village Lavelanet. After the war, the family moved to Valenciennes where the father led a factory for railway utensils. Later they settled in Paris. After becoming more religious and having considered becoming a nun, Laforêt continued her secondary studies at the Lycee La Fontaine in Paris. There she began to show interest for the dramatic arts and her first experiences in this domain proved to be therapeutically useful for her through their cathartic effect.

Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in a French radio talent contest Naissance d’une étoile (birth of a star) and won. Director Louis Malle then cast the young starlet in the film he was shooting at the time, Liberté, a project he finally abandoned, making Laforêt’s first appearance on screen her turn opposite actor Alain Delon in René Clément’s 1960 drama Plein Soleil.

After this film she became very popular and interpreted many roles in the 1960s. She married director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, who cast her in some of his own works, including La Fille aux Yeux d’Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes), based on the Balzac story, which would become her nickname.

In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues, accompanied by a young Jacques Higelin at the guitar, she sang the title song and immediately started releasing singles, her first hit being 1963’s Les Vendanges de l’Amour. Her songs offered a more mature, poetic, tender alternative to the light, teenage yé-yé tunes charting in France at the time. Her melodies borrowed more from exotic folk music, especially South American and Eastern European, than from contemporary American and British pop acts. Laforêt worked with many important French composers, musicians and lyricists, such as André Popp and Pierre Cour, who provided her with a panoply of colorful, sophisticated orchestral arrangements, featuring dozens of musical instruments and creating a variety of sounds, sometimes almost Medieval, Renaissance or Baroque, other times quite modern and innovative.

With businessman Judas Azuelos, a Moroccan Jew of Sephardic descent, she had two children, a daughter and a son. The daughter, Lisa Azuelos, is a French director, writer, and producer, who made a film about another famous French singer, Dalida, in 2017.

At the end of the 1960s, Laforêt had become a rather distinctive figure in the French pop scene. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which expected of her more upbeat, simpler songs. She was interested in making more personal records, but finally gave in. Although her most financially successful singles (“Viens, Viens”, a cover of the German hit ″Rain Rain Rain″, and “Il a neigé sur Yesterday”, a ballad about the break-up of the Beatles) were released in the 1970s, Laforêt progressively lost interest in her singing career, moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 1978, where she opened an art gallery and abandoned music.

Marie Laforêt died on 2 November 2019 in Genolier (Suisse), a small town in the Nyon district near Geneva, from the consequences of a primary bone cancer as revealed by one of her daughters, Deborah Kahn-Sriber in 2020.[8] The ceremony took place in Paris, church Saint-Eustache, on 24 November; followed by the burial in the family crypt at the Cemetery Père-Lachaise (division 49). She was 80.

More about Marie Laforêt and Mylene Farmer HERE



lyrics with translation

Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes
Toi que je vais quitter ce soir
Que l'on peut avoir de la peine
Et sembler ne pas en avoir
Le cœur blessé, encore sourire
Indifférente apparemment
Aux derniers mots qu'il faut écrire
Lorsque finit mal un roman
L'âme éperdue, sauver la face
Chanter, des larmes plein les yeux
Et dans un univers de glace
Donner l'impression d'être heureux
Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes
Puisque notre amour va finir
Que malgré tout, vois-tu, je t'aime
Et que j'ai mal à en mourir?
Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes
Malgré tout ce qui s'est passé
Que je t'aimais plus que moi-même
Et que je ne peux t'oublier
Et que je ne peux vous oublier, merci!
I with that you could understand
I am leaving you tonight
That it's possible to have pain
And appear not having 
The wounded heart, still smiling
Indifferent apparently
To the last words that must be written
When a novel ends badly
The distraught soul, saving face
Singing, tears in my eyes
And in a world of ice
To give the impression of being happy
I wish you could understand
Since our love will end
That despite everything, you see, I love you
And that I'm aching to die?
I wish you could understand
In spite of all that has happened
That I loved you more than myself
And that I can't forget you
And I can't forget you, thank you!

The page last edited July 26, 2022

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