Là-bas (song)

Là-bas (song)

"Là-bas" is a 1987 song recorded as a duet by the French singer Jean-Jacques Goldman and the British-born artist Sirima. It was the second single from Goldman's 1987 album Entre gris clair et gris foncé. It was a smash hit in France and became a very popular song throughout the years.

Background, lyrics and music

In 1987, Goldman had finished composing the song but had not yet found a female voice to record the duet with him. Philippe Delettrez, Goldman's saxophonist, met Sirima who sang in a Parisian metro, and proposed to Goldman to meet her. After several tests in studio, Goldman finally decided to record the duet with her.

Composed by Jean-Jacques Goldman, the song deals with "the need of escape and the dilemma between a vital renewal and the loss of one's roots". While Goldman wants to go away to start a more fruitful life, Sirima, who personifies "stability, rooting and habit", begs him to stay with her and to found a family. The song is built as a dialogue that ends with two monologues in which "one is decided, with the other begs".

The song was also released under the title "Over there" to win over the anglophone countries. On Radio Canada, it was awarded best francophone song of the year thanks to the voters of the listeners.

In an interview, Goldman explained that he had made reference to "Là-bas" by using a sentence from it in his 1997 song, "On ira".

Chart performances

In France, the song was charted for 21 weeks, from December 5, 1987, to April 23, 1988. It went straight to #17 and managed to reached the top ten three weeks later. It peaked at #2 for five not consecutive weeks, but was unable to disloge Guesch Patti's "Étienne", then Sabrina's "Boys (Summertime Love)" which topped the chart then. The single kept on dropping on the chart when it fell off the top ten, after spending 12 weeks in it. It achieved Gold status awarded by the SNEP in 1988. According to Infodisc website, the song was sold about 593,000 copies and is the 402th best-selling single of all time in France.

Cover versions

The song was covered by many artists troughout the years, including Michel Delpech in 1996, Murray Head and Lio, Corey Hart and Julie Masse in 1998, Renaud Hantson and Nourith, Michel Leclerc (instrumental version) in 2000, Florent Pagny and Natasha St-Pier in 2002 (available on St-Pier's album De l'amour le mieux), Philippe Heuvelinne and Marc Rouvé in 2003, Humana, Prise 2 Son (released as a single, the second track of the CD "Un Autre Monde, #45 in France) in 2004, Opium du Peuple, and Grégory Lemarchal and the 500 choristers in 2007 (available on his posthumous album La Voix d'un ange). All these versions were recorded on an album or a single.

Jean-Jacques Goldman re-recorded the song as a duet with Céline Dion for the Les Enfoirés' 1996 album La Compil' .

The song was performed on several French TV programmes, such as Tapis Rouge à Notre-Dame de Paris (France 2, April 15, 2000) by Hélène Ségara and Bruno Pelletier, Tubes d'un jour, tubes de toujours (TF1, December 27, 2002) by Daniel Lévi and Cécilia Cara. The song was also performed in Dutch-language by Erik Mesie and Nadieh under the title "Ik sta".

Track listings

7" single

  1. "Là-bas — 4:46
  2. "À quoi tu sers ?" — 5:29 12" maxi
  3. "Là-bas" (extended version) — 6:08
  4. "À quoi tu sers ?" (vocal) — 5:29 CD single
  5. "Là-bas — 4:46
  6. "À quoi tu sers ?" — 5:29
  7. "Entre gris clair et gris foncé" — 7:19


Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France Gold 1988 500,000 593,000


Chart (1987-1988) Peak
French Singles Chart 2


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