REGRETS (DUET WITH JEAN-LOUIS MURAT)


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

“Regrets” is a 1991 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer as duet with musician Jean-Louis Murat.

The song was released on 29 July 1991 and was the second single from her third studio album L’Autre…. The music video was shot in a cemetery in Budapest, as the song deals with a love relationship between two people separated by the death of one of them. This ballad became a top three hit in France and was also successful in Belgium.

Truly regretful thing is I almost couldn’t find the full video on the net. Luckily, I didn’t give up and found it but with pretty serious efforts.



It is Mylène who apparently have proposed this duet to Jean-Louis Murat after having listened to and liked his album Cheyenne Autumn released in 1989. Its really a lovely, sensitive and very deep album. No wonder she loved it so much!



Marianne Rosenstiehl took photos for the Regrets just as many others of that era.

Guest of the show “Secrets de stars” on France Inter on December 2, 1989, while Jean-Louis Murat is still little known, Mylène already admits her interest in this artist:

“I love the author, I love the performer and I wanted to send him a note to tell him that I liked what he was doing, but I have trouble doing it. I’ll put it another way another day.” (Mylène Farmer – France Inter – 12/02/1989   Ahh…isn’t it sweet? And she sure did!

About the birth of this duo, the first for Mylène, she said: “Everything happened in letters, for a year. Because I’m not good at long speeches.” (Mylène Farmer – TV Hebdo – 04/20/1991)

The idea of the duet started from an “irregular but faithful” correspondence through letters between both singers for a year. Murat explained: “One day, in the box of letters, I have a letter from Mylène. She is asking me if I want to sing with her. This letter is not a legend, I received by mail, simply. I couldn’t believe my eyes; she gave me her phone number.” Finally, Murat called her and they met in Paris.

According to Murat, Farmer had the idea to record a duet with him and he accepted after listening to an audiotape of “Regrets” in which Farmer sang the two voices – her own and that of Murat trying to make it deeper. At that time, Farmer said in several interviews that she considered Murat as her “brother”, her “double”, her “twin” and a “poet”, she called her encounter with Murat “fantastic”.

I thought their voices are blended so perfectly with all their subtle tones and undertones…It’s a romanticism in the purest sound form of it. As far as the looks, they were just as if the soulmates. I can’t imagine anyone to be more Mylene in the male representation as Jean- Louis. I believed the story the song and clip told off the bet without any doubts nor regrets. 😊 I wish there would be more duets from them…but alas….at least we are luck to have this one.

In 2004, Murat said in the French newspaper L’Express that “Regrets” helped him to launch his career.

The lyrics to Regrets were written by Mylène Farmer. Regarding the writing of this song, Mylène clarified:

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“Paradoxically, the hardest thing to write was the text of the duet with Jean-Louis Murat. It is always difficult to bring someone into your own world. You have to lend words to someone else, even if you know them very well, it’s a complicated thing. ” (Mylène Farmer -” Podium “- September 1991)

And I can only imagine how challenging the process must have been for both of them. But what a success! I think the lyrics is one of a kind for the reasons outlined. It is less ambiguous and with the touch of philosophical sensitivity and of course very Mylene’s dark romanticism. We recognize her cemetery theme once again just like it was already introduced in Plus grandir. It does however takes entirely different direction.

For the first time, Mylène refers to the work of Pierre Reverdy which will be a regular source of inspiration in his writing work.

She borrows the line ” Au vent que je guess ” from the poem Grain blanc in the collection Sources du vent published in 1929.

In his analysis of the song, the psychologist Hugues Royer stated: “Death is a subterfuge to make the impossible love.  Its easier to romanticize a dead person than a living one who, sooner or later, will show the faces of his faults? It is indeed the fear of everyday life that terrifies the advocates of absolute love.”

The music for Regrets was composed by Laurent Boutonnat.


Thierry Rogen confirmed in an interview with “Styx Magazine” in 2011 that the title was strongly influenced by the Don’t give up duo of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel that Mylène regularly mentioned among her favorite songs at the time. And don’t I second that! I love love love that song! I always adored Peter Gabriel



It was planned from the start that Regrets would be a duo and Mylène immediately thought of Jean-Louis Murat.

The recording of the title took place over one day. Mylène first recorded her voice before Jean-Louis Murat recorded his.

Three remixes are created by Laurent Boutonnat and Thierry Rogen for the song

For the “Sterger Dub Mix”, ‘Sterger’ corresponds to the word ‘Regrets’ written backwards. We also find in this remix lyrics of the song spoken backwards including “our souls”.

The album L’autre…, released on April 8, 1991 and was a real triumph, squatting first place on the top French albums for several consecutive months. More here: https://mylenefarmerbook.com/chapters-41-60/lautre-chapter-56-of-155/

To succeed Désenchantée, the choice falls on this duet with Jean-Louis Murat, Regrets. It also seems that it was planned from the release of the album and even before, that this title would become the second single.

The video is a Requiem Publishing and Heathcliff SA production whose length is 6:17. Directed by Laurent Boutonnat who also co-authored the screenplay with Farmer, the video was filmed for two days February 25 and 26 1991 in a Jewish cemetery abandoned in Budapest with a budget of about 35,000 euros. The train, which leads to the cemetery was turned on only for the video which features, in addition to the two singers, a deer.

At the beginning of the video, a tram stops in front of the entrance of a snow-covered cemetery. Murat gets off from the tram and pushes the front gate. He walks in the cemetery, passes a deer and meditates at a grave. When he sits, Farmer comes behind him and puts her hands on his eyes. Murat takes Farmer by the hand, then they run, laugh and huddled one against the other in the cemetery. They doze off on a tombstone, and after a last embrace, they say goodbye to each other and split off. The man then gets on the tram and goes away.

Did you notice that the flowers that he brought with him seemingly to leave on the gravestone, he takes back with him? I was always intrigued by it: was it a simple mistake or intentional gesture?

According to the analysis made by magazine Instant-Mag, the video is the “metaphor of a past and regretted love. It “shows the indispensable link between two people, as well as the inevitability of this link: we can be attached to the other person, but also lose her”. With this video, Farmer “reached the quintessence of elegant sadness which lives in her work”. According to this analysis, the character played by Murat would be alive and would try to meet that played by Farmer who would be dead. To this end, the train would represent the transition from these two worlds.

The deer who flees would be “the symbol of the woman’s essence”, and the bunch of thistles would evoke “the desire to provoke unconditional love with the other person”. As for the immaculate snow, it would participate in the gloomy atmosphere of the video and would symbolize “a mild but deadly mask which isolates” the two opposing parties. Biographer Bernard Violet said that Boutonnat simply transposed the song in the video by adding his personal aesthetic, in this case, a stylized, little contrasted and overexposed black and white. Anything that expresses reality was filmed at normal speed, while all which describes dream, hope or regret, was filmed at slower speed. It is perhaps,  a bit to dry and overly analytical but I wanted to give you a 360 picture of what opinions the song evoked.

Even though Désenchantée was still prayed on the air, Regrets was sent to the radio at the end of June 1991 and the reception was excellent.

How daring to launch this melancholy ballad which will be further illustrated by a black and white and snowy clip in a season much more suitable for summer hits.

Several fomats are available: a 45 rpm, a maxi CD (including a limited edition with a pin), a maxi 45 rpm and a single cassette. The photo of Marianne Rosenstiehl illustrating the release and bringing together the two artists was taken on the set of the video for the song.

The title will meet with great success. It enters the 20th position of the top50 in France. He reached 3rd place in this ranking, and it will remain there for sixteen weeks, eleven of which are in the top 10.

Sales in France are estimated at over 250,000 copies. The single is certified gold.

Regrets also has a very big success in radios reaching the first position of airplay in France in August 1991 and it remains the top 10 for thirteen weeks.

February 2, 2018 there was a reissue of the Maxi 45 Tours Regrets. February 08, 2019 the Maxi 45 Tours Collector Color Green Regrets came out.

Regrets is present on the following albums:

  • L’autre… 
  • Dance Remixes (remixed version) 
  • Mylenium Tour (live version)
  • the best of Les mots (2001)
  • Best Of Volume1 / Volume2 (2011)

The clip was broadcasted for the first time on television on September 9, 1991 in the program “Stars 90” hosted by Michel Drucker on TF1. Mylène is also present on the set to discuss her trip with Luc Besson in the Arctic during the summer.

Promotion was very limited – closer to none. Mylène only sang it on television only once for “Stars 90” on TF1 October 7, 1991 with Jean-Louis Murat


Mylenium Tour


Regrets was performed live during concerts the Mylenium Tour of 21 September 1 999. March 8, 2000.

Arrangements for the stage: Yvan Cassar. No Jean-Louis Murat on stage, Mylène offering a solo version of the track. Among the stage images, a snowstorm which could be a reference to the clip.



Jean-Louis Murat confirmed in an interview that he agreed to sing Regrets on stage at Bercy for the 1996 Tour. Unfortunately, the project could not materialize, he was on tour on these dates.

It was planned that Regrets would become the second single from the album Mylenium Tour (a promo VHS of the live clip was even edited and sent to some media in May 2001) but there will ultimately be no second single for this album

Mylène Farmer sings “Regrets” – Mylenium Tour – Photographer: Claude Gassian


We have not seen Mylène and Jean-Louis Murat together since the Regrets but Mylène helped the singer in one of his projects.

Jean-Louis Murat indeed told the magazine “Platine” a few years ago:

“When I made the film Murat en plein air (1993), in 16 mm, in cinema conditions, I had no money, and it was fully funded by Mylène Farmer. I know she doesn’t really like me saying it, she even asked me not to put her name in the credits, but she did it for me. help, just for the beauty of the gesture.”  Wow…I am tearing up…


In 2016, during an interview on RTL, Jean-Louis Murat spoke of this duo Regrets at length, even affirming his ” eternal recognition ” for Mylène and Laurent Boutonnat. How beautiful!

In 2000, the recording company scheduled to release the live version of “Regrets” as the second single from the album Mylenium Tour, and thus sent a promotional VHS to the radio stations. However, given the differences with Farmer who preferred “Pas le temps de vivre” as single and the disappointing sales of the previous live singles “Ainsi soit je…” and “Dessine-moi un mouton”, the song was finally not released.

The song received positive reviews. French magazine Smash Hits said: “We fall in love. “Regrets” is one of the best tracks on the album. This song, with its elegance, deserves to be number 1 on the Top”. Jeune et Jolie deemed the song a “magical and moving duet”. OK ironically stated the song is “desperately distressed of beauty”. According to Elia Habib, an expert of French charts, “Regrets” is “a slow [song], which successfully blends the singer’s voice [that of Farmer], which merges into the melody to that of Murat, which stands out and thus puts her partner off the scent”. In contrast, French television host Marc Toesca, who presented the singles chart, said in the Best magazine that he did not particularly appreciate the song. Oh well..like one of my friends would say “I am not a hundred dollar bill to be liked by everyone”. To me, the song is a masterpiece and one of the best Mylene has done. And indeed, my favorite duet.


about Jean-Louis Murat


I think it is important now to talk about the other half of the success.

Jean-Louis Murat (born 28 January 1952) is the pseudonym of the French singer/songwriter Jean-Louis Bergheaud. He spent much of his childhood with his grandparents in Murat-le-Quaire from which he got his pseudonym.

Jean-Louis Bergheaud was born in La Bourboule, France to a father who was a carpenter and a non-professional musician. Further to his parents’ divorce, he spent his whole youth in the isolated farm of his grandparents in Murat-le-Quaire, a village overviewing the thermal city of La Bourboule. From his earliest days, solitary and introverted, Jean-Louis Murat showed he was gifted for music and for many instruments, which will lead him to the local wind section at the age of 7 with his father, then to the conservatory brass class where he will improve his talent for singing too. At the same time at 15, his English teacher let him discover Soul and Jazz music and he met several Blues artists as John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker or Memphis Slim.

Thanks to his English teacher, he continued studying against his father’s advice. Keen on poetry as well as romantic and upheaval literature amongst others, Oscar Wilde, André Gide, D.H Lawrence or Vladimir Nabokov, he was the first one of his family to pass the Baccalauréat. Married at the age of 17, he joined the University of Clermont-Ferrand for a short period of time; he had a son and divorced when he was 19 and left in order to travel and lived by doing odd jobs in France and Europe all by himself, in the style of Jack Kerouac. He held a couple of positions between Paris and several French tourist spots; he was ski instructor in Avoriaz or a beach attendant in Saint-Tropez, and he finally went back to his village in 1977 at the age of 23 and devoted himself to music, that has never left so far.

With some Clermontois’ friends from Clermont-Ferrand, he created a rock band called “Clara” with him as lead singer and songwriter. He also played saxophone and guitar in the band. William Sheller noticed them and invited them to do a couple of his opening acts and then employed them as musicians for a while. The band split and thanks to William Sheller, Jean-Louis Berghaud at the age of 27, in 1981 (under the name of Murat) he recorded a 45 rpm record including 3 songs, called Suicidez-vous, Le Peuple est mort with Pathé Marconi EMI, with Jean-Baptiste Mondino’s photo as cover of the sleeve; critiques were positive but the sales did not take off. The French radio station Europe 1 censored the song since a girl was said to commit suicide because of it. A mini eponymous album followed in 1982 including 6 songs, under the name of Murat and an album in 1984 called Passions Pivées garnered very low sales (2,000 copies), and after a tour with Charlélie Couture, his record label withdrew the contract. At the time he was around thirty.

In 1985, Jean-Louis Murat did some recording with CBS but none of the discs came out, then the year after, he jumped on the opportunity to record at Virgin Records and in 1988, the 45 rpm record Si je devais manquer de toi came out. This one met with some success, allowing the singer to start being recognized at last. His success was confirmed the sales of his new album which came out in 1989, called Cheyenne Autumn. It was recorded in London and included other singles which were also successful (L’Ange Déchu; Te Garder Près de Moi).

This beginning of fame brought him to be noticed by the movie industry, so Jean-Louis Murat appeared in 1990 as an actor in a film by Jacques Doillon who offered him a role in La vengeance d’une femme with Isabelle Huppert and Béatrice Dalle. But what made him definitely known in the eyes of a wider public is the single “Regrets” (in duet with Mylène Farmer) in 1991 (No. 3 in Top 50), while he was turning 40. At that same time, his new studio album came out, Le Manteau de Pluie. His titles Col de la Croix-Morand and Sentiment Nouveau met with a great success; Sentiment nouveau entered the top 50 position in the early 1992’s. Since then, his albums have regularly been into the French Top 20.

Jean-Louis MURAT – Si je devais manquer de toi

Deeply attached to the Auvergne where he lives, countryside and nature give him a very personal poetic inspiration. Very prolific, guitar player and singer with a typical tone, Jean-Louis Murat writes, produces and publishes more than one album a year including Venus in 1993, Dolorès in 1996, most of his albums are followed by long tours characterized by an interesting musical work, none of the tours looks like the previous one, those give birth to live album as Murat Live in 1995, Live in Dolores in 1966 or Muragostang in 2000. He likes to being surrounded with his family and relatives in order to be helped when he creates and when he moves around. As for movies side, he was on the bill of a film in 1996, Mademoiselle personne, especially with Elodie Bouchez and Romain Duris; he is actually behind this full-length feature film (nevertheless whose broadcasting will be limited) presented as a musical movie (produced by Pascal Bailly), whose soundtrack he composed.

Jean-Louis Murat – concert Muragostang (2001)

In March 2013 his album Toboggan came out and in October 2014, the follow-up album called Babel came out, recorded with Delano Orchestra band.

Just like Mylene, Jean-Louse became Interested in Buddhism and got involved in the Tibetan cause.


remixes



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lyrics with translation


Loin tres loin du monde
Ou rien ne meurt jamais
J'ai fait ce long,
Ce doux voyage.

Nos âmes se confondent
Aux neiges éternelles
L'amour cachait
Son vrai visage

Oh viens, ne sois plus sage
Apres tout qu'importe

Je sais la menace
Des amours mortes

Gardons l'innocence
Et l'insouciance
De nos jeux d'antan, troublants

N'aie pas de regret
Fais moi confiance, et pense
A tous les no way
L'indifférence des sens
N'aie pas de regret
Fais la promece, tu sais que
L'hiver et l'automne n'ont pu s'aimer

Debout la tete ivre
Des reves suspendus
Je bois a nos amours

Infirmes

Au vent que je devine
Nos levres éperdues
S'offrent des noces
Clandestines

N'ouvre pas la porte
Tu sais le piege
De tous les remords
De l'anatheme

Je me fous des saisons
Viens je t'emmene
La, ou dorment ceux qui s'aiment

N'aie pas ... (Viens ce soir)
De regret (Viens me voir)
Fais moi confiance, et pense
A tous... (Viens t'asseoir)
Les no way (Pres de moi)
L'indifférence des sens
N'aie pas... (L'aube est la)
De regret (Reste la)
Fais la promece, tu sais que (Je te promets)
L'hiver et l'automne (D'etre la)
N'ont pu s'aimer (Pour l'éternité)
Far, far away from the world
Where nothing ever dies
I made this long,
This sweet journey.

Our souls merge
To the eternal snows
Love hid
Its true face

Oh come on, don't be wise
After all what does it matter

I know the threat
Of dead loves

Let's keep the innocence
And the carefree spirit
Of our old games, disturbing

Have no regrets
Trust me, and think
Of all the no way
The indifference of the senses
Don't have any regrets
Make the promise, you know that
Winter and autumn could not love each other

Stand up with your head drunk
Of suspended dreams
I drink to our loves

Infirm

To the wind that I guess
Our distraught lips
Offer each other weddings
Clandestine

Do not open the door
You know the trap
Of all the remorse
Of the anathema

I don't care about the seasons
Come I'll take you
Where those who love each other sleep

Don't be ... (Come tonight)
Of regret (Come see me)
Trust me, and think
To all... (Come and sit)
The no way (Near me)
The indifference of the senses
Don't have... (The dawn is here)
Of regret (Stay there)
I'm not sure what to say to you (I'm not sure)
The winter and the autumn (To be there)
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do it again (I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do it again)


The page last edited July 26, 2022

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