Saturday, November 22, 2008

Strange similarities

For some reason yesterday an old recording popped up into my memory. It's of Jean Sablon singing "Rendez-vous sous la pluie" ("Meeting in the rain"), and was on a Django Reinhardt compilation cassette that I used to have (Django plays guitar on that track). Not only do I not know where the cassette is, I don't even have a cassette player anymore. So I went online and found it on YouTube:

My reactions were: 1. Nice song. 2. Django is a pretty good accompanist. 3. Doesn't it sound familiar? In particular, doesn't it sound like this?

The YouTube page says "Rendez-vous sous la pluie" was written by Charles Trenet and Johnny Hess in 1936 (and is corroborated by other sources, such as this obituary of Trenet), while "Singing in the rain" (the song) dates to at least 1929, and possibly earlier, according to Wikipedia. Yet there is a striking similarity, at least to my ears, in the tune of at least the first two lines of the songs. And, of course, in the titles. Inspiration, or something more?


Szerelem said...

heh - do see (hear?) the similarities. But I don't think they're close enough for it to be anything that possible inspiration.

Also - hearing old French songs makes me immideately want to go back to studying French.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

szerelem - in fact I keep hearing such similarities and wonder whether there's anything to them. (Was Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Memory" ripped off from Ravel's "Bolero"?) In this case the similarities of the titles made me genuinely wonder whether it had been a trans-Atlantic import. Some French singers, like Claude Nougaro, regularly borrow jazz tunes and attach their own words, and vice versa "Autumn Leaves" originated in France, but all these are credited correctly.