Piaf: No, I Regret Nothing

“For me, singing is a way of escaping. It’s another world. I’m no longer on earth.”
—Edith Piaf

Piaf

Edith Piaf (December 19, 1915 – October 10, 1963) is considered by many to be France’s greatest popular singer. She used her heartbreaking voice to sing ballads which communicated the many personal tragedies and difficult childhood memories from her life.

Her most famous songs include La Vie en Rose (1946), Milord (1959), and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (1960).

Edith Piaf developed severe rheumatoid arthritis in her early 30′s. Her physical deformities were often visible as she hobbled across the stage or as she moved her hands while she sang.

Piaf’s lifelong struggle with rheumatoid arthritis is starkly portrayed in the movie La Vie en Rose. This movie is a biographical sketch of the famous singer’s life from childhood up until her death. (Actress Marion Cotillard, who played the adult Piaf, won the Best Actress Oscar Award for this movie.)

One of Piaf’s final greatest hits, sung for the first time just a few years before her death, was ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’ – or ‘No, I Regret Nothing’. I have included a video of this song below, along with its lyrics translated into English.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Neither the good that’s been done to me,
Nor the bad;
It’s all the same to me!

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
It’s been payed for,
swept (away),
Forgotten.
I don’t care about the past!

With my memories
I have lit the fire!
My disappointments, my pleasures,
I no longer need them.
Swept away are the loves
with their trembling,
swept away forever!
I start again at zero.

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Neither the good that’s been done to me,
Nor the bad;
It’s all the same to me!

No, nothing at all,
No, I don’t regret anything!
Because my life,
because my joy,
today
begins with you!

4 Comments
4 comments
  1. sara says:

    When I sat down and watched La Vie en Rose, I had no idea that Edith Piaf had RA, and I became really upset as I watched the movie and saw the very brutal (and realistic) depiction of the disease. I watched it when my meds were only just beginning to work, and it really affected me. It is amazing what she was still able to do even in the grips of RA at its very worst. I guess it’s not so bad having something in common in both Renoir and Piaf, but I am very very grateful that we have more options open to us these days.

  2. raandme says:

    I recently discovered Edith Pilaf after hearing Martha Wainwright sing one of her songs on Jimmy Fallon. I was immediately transfixed.
    I had no idea she had rheumatoid arthritis. And I had no idea there was a movie about her. I’m going to go search Netflix for it now.
    Thank you for this post!

  3. RA Guy says:

    As Sara mentions, this can be a difficult movie to watch if you are living with rheumatoid arthritis. The scenes of Piaf being carried into her dressing room or bedroom, crying out and asking out for something to take away the pain, hit pretty close to home for me (although I am too big to be carried around…)

    Overall I would highly recommend this movie, not only for the big screen portrayal of RA, but also for the beautiful music.

  4. Rachel says:

    I too discovered Edith’s RA history only through this movie, and it is truly heart wrenching, especially in the context of her life. It is refreshing to have the illness portrayed in a movie, however tragic.

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