Saturday, December 23, 2023

More covers of Beau Dommage's '23 décembre'

Sung by one of Québec's most iconic bands, Beau Dommage's '23 décembre' ('December 23rd') is a 1950s neighbourhood portrait of pre-teens off from school until January 7th. It references working-class shops, hockey and Québec traditions, like having a nativity scene under the Christmas tree at a time when the Catholic church still had a firm hold on French Canadians. The band sings about snow, jokes about pictures of naked ladies (sex and religion go hand in hand) and mentions New Year's Day, making it a New Year's song as well.

The mural in the picture is the cover of Beau Dommage's eponymous first album, which features '23 décembre', and is located in Montréal behind 6760, rue de Saint-Vallier, which is where the band started their career. This address is also part of the lyrics in 'Tous les palmiers' ('All the palm trees').

Since I know many of you can't make heads of tails of the lyrics, here's part of it in English:

Sometimes, I want to go and have a talk with her
Star Fairy can I have another hockey stick?
I lost mine, I'm such a dope
I traded it for pictures where there's nothing to see
Just a girl from the back hiding her butt with her hands
23 December, 'Merry Christmas, Mister Côté'
'Hey kiddo, we'll see each other on January 7th'

Does this actually exist in any other language? I doubt it, but if you know of one, let us know! Here's an old live version of '23 décembre' by Beau Dommage. Everybody knows the lyrics!

Here's a live guitar-and-song version by Star Académie (French 'The Voice') contestant François Lachance that made a Star Académie Christmas album: Here's an odd, mellow version by Montréal's Gabrielle hb