Romy Mon Amour

30 years ago, on May 29, 1982, French-German actress Romy Schneider died. I take the freedom to re-post an older entry by Guuz, with a few slight changes.

“Sissi just sticks to me just like oatmeal”, is a famous quote by Romy Schneider. Born Rosemarie Magdelena Albach-Retty in Vienna, she made her acting debut on stage by the side of her mother (like her father an actor too). In 1955 the world fell in love with her, when she played empress-to-be Sissi in the first of three films about the Austrian royal. From that point on, she tried to break away from her saccharine image by taking parts in sombre films like Christine (where she met fiancé Alain Delon), Orson Welles’ The Process, and Visconti’s Ludwig.
Her life was filled with tragedy: she was dumped by Delon, first husband Henry Meyen hanged himself naked in front of his house only a few years after the divorce, and her son David died in a fatal accident. Officially, she died because of cardiac arrest, but rumour has it she commited suicide. Knowing this, I can only see oceans of schmerz in her eyes.
Pursued and abused by the German press for nearly her whole life, Romy Schneider’s relationship to her homeland maybe is mirrored most perfectly in Robert Enrico’s relentless Le Vieux Fusil.
On a lighter note, she sang as well. In what I think is her best movie, Les Choses de la Vie, her melancholic, Hardy-like voice is perfect for La Chanson d’Hélène, a duet with Michel Piccoli. And for Max et les Ferrailleurs, she sang a short a-capella song in German.

Romy Schneider – La Chanson d’Hélène
Romy Schneider – La Lettre de Rosalie
Romy Schneider – Lily et Max

Sinner DC’s hommage to Romy S. features overwhelming sadness as well as an irresistible loop, and Jérôme Boloc’s Romy et Dewaere pairs her with French actor Patrick Dewaere whose life story was similarly tragic.

Sinner DC – Romy Schneider
Jérôme Boloc – Romy et Dewaere


J’aime on You

On the b-side of her strange 1975 post-yé-yé folk schlager Refais-le-me-le (comme à Ibiza) – Let’s Do It (Like We Did on Ibiza) in English –, unknown French lolita pop bird Minouche Sterling invented the famous chord progression that was stolen the same year by Shirley & Company for their worldwide smash hit Shame, Shame, Shame.

Sure, you’re right: I made that one up. The producers of Minouche’s unperceived 7“ probably thought that no one would ever play the b-side; it’s one of the most shameless (and funny) rip-offs in French pop history. In fact, Shame, Shame, Shame – written by Sugarhill Records founder and too seldom sung soul/ disco/ rap pioneer Sylvia Robinson and released by the lesser known Linda & The Funky Boys almost simultaneously with Shirley – was one of the first international breakthrough disco/ dance hits, and everybody tried to cash in on the success. In France, television personality Christian Morin did an instrumental version featuring his quite mangy sounding clarinet, while jack-of-all-trades Henri Salvador unleashed a flea bag of a cover version including the rabid replacement of „Shame“ through „J’aime“ – genius! The worst cover was surely done by German 50s overbite idol Peter Kraus – a funk-goes-boof-tah must-have provided by FS confidant Roy Black with the well-meant advice: „Buckle your seat-belt before playing.“

Minouche Sterling – Non mais des fois

Shirley & Company – Shame, Shame, Shame

Linda & The Funky Boys – Shame, Shame, Shame

Henri Salvador – J’aime tes g’noux

Christian Morin – Shame, Shame, Shame

Peter Kraus – Shame, Shame, Shame


There’s more to the Shame, Shame, Shame story. Soul singer Donnie Elbert recorded a cover of Love is Strange in 1974. He then claimed songwriting credits of Shame, Shame, Shame, saying that his vocals were replaced by those of Shirley Goodman & Jesus Alvarez. The case got real muddy when Shirley & Company followed up S, S, S with Cry, Cry, Cry: same groove, different lyrics. But those lyrics were very similar to Donnie Elbert’s You’re Gonna Cry When I’m Gone, also from 1974. The squabble was never resolved. But wait – there’s also George McCrae’s Rock Your Baby, featuring the licks extraordinaire of guitarist Jerome Smith, one of the unsung heroes of the era. Set to the s(h)ame groove. And he was definitely the first to use it. And he got a nod from John Lennon, who based his Whatever gets you thru the night on, you guessed it, that irresistable groove.

Donnie Elbert – You’re gonna cry when I’m gone
Donnie Elbert – Love is strange
Shirley & Company – Cry, Cry, Cry
George McCrae – Rock your baby
John Lennon – Whatever gets you thru the night

Of course, Shame, Shame, Shame was (like Love is Strange) covered many times. See model Izabella Scorupco’s version here, and see Cher & Tina Turner here.