A pink taxi

A pink taxi

September 19, 2010

Joe Dassin

My cousins' father, Amir, was very fond of Joe Dassin in 1978. He probably purchased the cassette in the South of France when he visited there. Iranians of the Old Regime loved Cannes!

I remember listening to Joe Dassin in 1978,  sitting in the back of his car, driving towards the Caspian Sea (Shomal), with my cousins. I hadn't been to France yet, but I was already a fluent French speaker by the age of 7, and memorized the lyrics. We sang, with serenity, oblivious of the grander events that were surrounding us. Those were the last carefree holidays in Pahlavi Iran.

When I hear Joe Dassin today, I return to those childhood days. I think of the jovial but always nostalgic songs like "Salut" or "Champs Elysees". I especially remember the graver melancholic words of L'Ete Indien. "Toute la vie sera pareille a ce matin!" (Our entire life will be similar to this morning). That was wishful thinking for my Iranian family. Unfortunately for them and all of us, my maternal family's life was shaken by the following summer.

Today my kids can recite the lyrics of Joe Dassin. They sing them with innocence and gaiety. They laugh at the words and enjoy the charming tunes. Once, while sitting at an overheated fondue restaurant in a ski resort in Switzerland, "Champs Elysees" came on, and my eldest son, then 5 years old, sang along, louder than any of the other customers there, one arm around me, the other around my sister. He had removed his t-shirt it was so hot, and was quite the sight at the restaurant!
Most recently, and after making the "Champs Elysees" song his class theme, my son (and his siblings), walked down the famous avenue in Paris, like Joe Dassin "le coeur ouvert a l'inconnu", their hearts open to the unknown. And, similar to my car ride in 1978, my son introduced his younger cousin to this joyful song, with their grandparents in the front seats, as they drove through the winding and beautiful vistas of the Grande Corniche.

Here is a link to his nicest songs:





  1. Correction:Amir was my brother in law not my cousin.Another correction Dassin was loved by all Middle Eastern francophones,namely the Lebanese,partially the Persians.
    This year was the 30th anniversary of Dassin's premature death,so the French in their tradition of keeping the memory of their idols alive,had his songs,and programs about his life all summer,both on radio and TV.
    Couple of years ago,I enthusiastically bought a table at the Salle Des Etoiles in Monte Carlo to listen to Dassin,and to recollect his memories.To our surprise and disappointment,we discovered that we had mistook him for another famous singer.Of course, we had not heard of his early death.
    This summer,we celebrated the 10th anniversary of my grandson in Paris,and the favorite companion was Dassin and his music,especially when we used to traverse the Camps Elysees!

  2. My favorite and most cherished memories of Joe Dassin is of my mother listening to his tunes in our first home in Dubai in the late 70s/early eighties. His melancholic yet gay tunes captured an entire generation in the 70s. To date, his songs are played on Radio Nostalgie and are part and parcel of the St Tropez legend. As I post this comment, I go back to sitting in my parent's room as my mom would get ready. Joe Dassin's tunes would play on my mother's black cassette player (which she still kept after 30 years!)"L'Ete Indien" and "Et si tu n'existais pas" would fill up the room as my mom would adjust her make up and wear the latest fashion trend of the 70s. My mom idolised Brigitte Bardot and she wore her hair exactly like the sex icon back then. My mom would tell me stories about the best days in Beirut and Tehran. Joe Dassin's songs longed for better days. Dassin died tragically at the age of 41 from a heart attack in 1980 forever elevating his status in the pantheon of French singers and idols. A little know fact was that Dassin was an American Jew born in NYC.

  3. Amu, what needed to be corrected? "My cousin's father, Amir.." Her cousin is me, Vida, and my father is Amir. And yes, he loved Dassin.