(J Christie/P Delanoe)
While Yellow River became
a worldwide hit, its French version, L'Amerique,
also became somewhat of a standard in its own right, particularly in
countries where French was spoken. The song has been covered by many
singers from France and Canada, where French of course is a main language.
The song was conceived as an original number for French
crooner superstar Joe Dassin, who had a mixed heritage: born in New
York, grandson of a Russian Jew and a Hungarian, son of a film director
father and a violinist mother, and raised in France. Joe was often described
as having an American passport, a French heart and a cosmopolitan soul.
Joe already had a number of French hits when he teamed
up with Pierre Delanoe, the most successful French composer of the 20th
century. It was Pierre who took Jeff Christie's melody and created
French lyrics, which tell of Joe's love for his native USA.
Not sure if Joe would like the song, his manager made Joe
listen to the L'Amerique demo, teasing
him that he would give the song to his French rival Johnny Hallyday.
Joe recognised the potential immediately, recorded L'Amerique,
and it became one of his most successful hits: so successful in fact,
that it spawned several covers, and
Joe himself used it to close his stage shows. Joe even recorded an Italian
version of L'Amerique.
The same team also later produced a French
version of Iron Horse.