Le Large (The Open Sea)

No ordinary tale etched in my memory,
no ship full of pirates that can take control;
no shooting star that would leave me in the dark;
no fear, none at all.

And tomorrow all will be well and so far away,
there at the end when I take to the sea;
all will be far, so give me your hand,
there at the end when I take to the sea.

No tears--and nothing else that can strangle me,
no cloud of mist across my faded eyes;
no grain of sand or dune to halt the hourglass;
no quarter moon, none at all.


No other places, none other than you.
No secret key, no chance for me.


No hungry shark and no sad tune,
no regret, no quaking ground;
no empty phrases
and no chaos--none at all.


Words and music by Sophie Huriaux
English translation by Frank Beck

In April 2018, Françoise Hardy released the album Personne d'Autre ("Noone else"). It was the 28th album in a career that began 56 years earlier with her hit single "Tous les garcons et les filles" ("All the boys and girls my age/promenade in the street two-by-two . . . ").

But this album was different: it came four years after Hardy nearly died in a Paris hospital at the age of 70, as a result of lymphatic cancer. As a last resort, her son agreed to try an experimental type of chemotherapy, and, miraculously, she regained her health.

When Hardy began to compile material for a new album, she wanted, among other things, to reflect her near-death experience, and French singer/songwriter Sophie Huriaux, better known by her stage name, Le Grand Sophie, provided "Le Large." The song was chosen for the album's video, shot in black-and-white by François Ozon, a French film director who had never done a music video before. His best known films are Swimming Pool (2003) and Frantz (2016).

Few contemporary songs deal with mortality with such openness and finesse; this brilliant collaboration by Hardy, Huriaux and Ozon sees it as the last of life's gifts.

Françoise Hardy in 1966

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful. As someone with cancer that keeps coming back this means so much to me.