Parole Parole Paroles Paroles

Escaping the radio was impossible when I grew up in Germany during the seventies. I had a radio alarm clock which would mostly end my dreams with some horrible MOR-rock, jazz noodling or some inane Schlager.

Driving around with my parents would also mean that I could not escape the radio brainwashing for hours. While we had a cassette player in the car, my parents were not really thrilled to play my tapes which were full of my latest self-made 20-minute-extended-versions of "Funky Town" and "Heart of Glass".
But every now and then a strange, haunting song would ooze through the aural mud. Without understaning a single word it would somehow find its way directly into my subconciousness and drip its obscure message back into my mind.

One of those songs was the enigmatic "Paroles Paroles" in which a husky female voice sang her lonely melody while a man talked to her inbetween. He seemed to plead and beg to her in a very dramatic and passionate way, while she just kept on singing.
He didn´t even stop asking her to listen when she burst into the climatic, goosebump inducing chorus.
The incredible tension between the two was almost tangible. Even without getting the words and still being unaware of the whole concept of love, I knew that something really substantial was going on between those two.

"Paroles" was sung by French superstars Dalida and Alain Delon. For a long time I thought it was the original version. Dalida even recorded a german version of the song called "Worte". But the full magic of the song somehow transcended in the french language only.

Somehow her voice is full of such a profound sadness that listening to the song brought me close to tears even before I knew anything about the terribly sad story of Dalida. When she recorded the song in 1973 she had already gone through a personal hell. It became a huge hit all over Europe, Canada and Japan.

However, "Paroles, Paroles" was actually the french version of the italian original "Parole Parole" which was recorded a year earlier by Mina & A. Lupo.

While both languages are very melodic, I prefer the french version as it sounds more intimate and gripping.
Alain Delons delivery is more whispered and dreamy. He appears to have accepted the distance between him and her and he is passionate but sad that his words are not reaching her.

A. Lupo on the other hand seems to be much more aggressive. Sometimes during the song you can actually feel a menacing streak in his voice as if he is about to slap her at any moment. The visual presentation of the italian show, which is posted below, shows a strong woman that actually mocks the guy who is shouting into her ear. She shrugs him off with a knwowing laugh.

At the end of both versions the men seem to realize that they have failed. Their pleads are getting weaker and their voices soften, while the female voice keeps singing her melody completely unfazed and unresolved.
She has long realized that all the sweettalk is just empty words and she is not going to fall for them anymore.

The great climax of the song is the absence of a climax.
The rules of pop music would have demanded at least a finale in which both singers would belt out the chorus together. But this would have destroyed the song completely.

The wonderful thing about "Parole" is that it tells a story which transcends in any language. Its a story of failed communication, the meaning of words and the lack thereof.
You don´t have to understand one word of it, but you will get the meaning by simply listening.

This is from an italian TV-show and -like the song- the direction is amazing in its slight creepiness.

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