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Edith Piaf - La Mome Piaf

By Elise Örtegren.

La Mome Piaf- A Little Sparrow, not just because of the beautiful name, but also because of Piaf’s petite body and charisma.

Edith Giovana Gassion- Piaf isn’t just one of France’s international stars, she is an icon of the post-war music. Edith Piaf was inspirational for many artists such as Paul Anka with his cover of Piaf’s song hymne a l'amour, but who or what inspired Piaf in her music? Her independent childhood, her singing on the streets at 15 years and tragic loss of both lovers and loved ones is a big inspirational source of hers in her music lyrics.

What makes Edith Piaf inspirational and iconic to further generations is how her songs influenced others. Piaf's music has inspired artists such as, Donna Summer, Louis Amstrong, Celine Dion and even Iggy Pop who sang rock music! Iggy Pop did a cover of Piaf’s signature song- La Vie en Rose in 2012. His cover of her song was a modernization of the song with a more jazzy sound. His dark voice gave the song his own little touch of Piaf’s fantastic work even though his French wasn’t the best. I was looking on the internet and found several covers of her famous songs from youtube. People my age are doing covers of her music from the 40s. Her music didn’t die just because she did, I think that is a sign of how long beautiful music can last. For music and an artist to be iconic, its lyrics require to last generations ahead.

I believe that Piaf has influenced more than just music!

Edith Piaf had a beautiful voice but besides that, she had a well-considered style. Piaf was well known for her thin eyebrows that she kept up to her death on October 1963. Edith was just 4.8 foot but on stage, she was like a giant, everything surrounded her and her big beautiful voice. Piaf always wore this black dress and low shoes, unlike many other women, Edith embraced her length. Piaf appearance inspired for an example Marc Jacobs in his final show dedicated to the Persian luxury brand according to himself. In an interview, he says Edith Piaf was one of his biggest inspirations for the show. I believe that an iconic artist does not just reflect in music and singing but also, clothing, quotes and lifestyle. An iconic artist needs to influence people in further generations, such as Piaf have done with Marc Jacobs.

In 1945, the song La Vie En Rose was written by Piaf. La Vie En Rose, or Life In Pink was about the joy of finding love and happiness. The song was released right after World War ll and was also as a song for those who survived the hard war. Edith's team didn't think the song would go anywhere but it became Piaf's signature song. La Vie En Rose was about love in Piaf's life and her hard childhood. La Vie en Rose was written around the time her fame rises and the song started her career overseas. In 1960, the song Non, je ne regrette rien was released and is translated to ‘’No I do not regret anything.’’ The song was about forgetting the past and have no regrets. ‘’Swept away past loves with heartache I’ve withstood - starting from the unknown’. These two songs are both illustrations of how her past inspired her.

When I first started to listen to Edith I didn’t understand the words and I still don’t even though I know the meaning of the songs. I believe that some artists can make a person feel things without them having to understand the words, sounds and a beautiful voice can be enough! In Piaf’s case this was important and she said; ‘’I want to make people cry even when they don’t understand my words’’. I believe this is the biggest compliment I can give Edith Piaf as an artist. My favorite song of the artist is La Goualante du Pauvre Jean. The meaning of the song is that life is nothing without love. When Piaf was a young girl she was poor but when her popularity grew her money did as well. She is singing about how life is nothing without love.

Yes, I have learned a few French words from her lyrics but the biggest impact Piaf had on me was to inspire me to listen to more French cabaret music and also French opera. I remember listening to Edit Piaf and then finding other French artists. Julien Clerc, one of my favorite artists was actually found by my inspiration from her music. Piaf was during her time the first international star and influenced the world into noticing French music just like I did!

This whole article is about telling how inspiring Edith Piaf is and why she is so special! But what didn’t Edith Piaf do right? Why was Piaf also unliked by many? Throughout Piaf’s grown-up life she had a massive drinking and drug problem and that also lead to the downfall of her carrier, she performed late into her life and died on October 10, 1963. Just a few weeks before her death Piaf collapsed on stage and had to be driven to the hospital. What started Piaf's drug problem? In 1951, Piaf was in a car accident that left her with broken bones in her body which lead to her getting morphine, according to sources that were when she got in a drug addiction which later on lead to the death of hers.

I find it fascinating that an artist can make a work of art in terms of emusic, paintings, movies, etc. That is considered bigger than the artist herself. Edith Piaf’s art anyway will, even if she died 50 years ago, always remain.