La Mauvaise Réputation, by Georges Brassens

The chanson française (french songs genre) suffered a big change during the mid-1940 and 1950s. The melodies were important, but people started valuing more and more the lyrics and the artist's commitment. And that's when the great songwriters and composers stood out: Charles Aznavour, Léo Ferré, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens...

La Mauvaise Réputation was the first single from the album of the same name published in 1952. This work also included Le Gorille (the two songs becoming his largest hits), along with Chanson pour l'Auvergnat o Les Amoureux des bancs publics (The public benches lovers).

The lyrics tell a (semi-biographic) story of a person that has bad reputation (mauvaise réputation) at his hometown because he always goes against the crowd: he doesn't celebrate the National Day, he lets the apple thieves run away while blocking the cops, he doesn't follow the established path... and he sees that, even been a good person, he is not going to end well.

Each situation that colors the story is followed by a different impaired group (in a humorous attempt to point out that nobody is perfect): everybody will point their fingers at me, but the one-handed; everybody will chase after him, but the one-legged; everybody will look at him, but the blind... Finishing each verse with resignation: "it goes with it."

The song became incredibly popular, and was successfully adapted to other languages like Creole, Basque, or Portuguese. Georges Brassens himself recorded the song in Spanish, although the most well-known cover in that language was by Paco Ibañez, a version that was covered in itself by other bands like Loquillo y los Trogloditas.

Article published on December 5, 2012.
This article has been modified since its original publication.