Montréal, October 8, 2019 —
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is proud to announce that the song “Aimons-nous,” with lyrics by Yvon Deschamps and music by Jacques Perron, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on October 15, 2019, during the inaugural ceremony of the Palestre Nationale pavilion of the Association sportive et communautaire du Centre-Sud.
“We are truly proud to induct and celebrate this legendary song that, just as its creators, transcends the ages and is as impactful today as it was nearly 50 years ago.”—Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of theCanadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“Aimons-nous,” which was the counterpoint to Deschamps’s monologue “Le P’tit Jésus,” was initially released on the album Le p’tit Jésus/Le foetus/La honte (1970). This was Deschamps’ third collection of monologues, which wryly look at Québec society on a cultural, social, and political level, turning his acerbic humour on unions, racism, and intolerance. Clémence Desrochers one day gave him a wise piece of advice: “When you don’t know how to end a monologue, sing a song.” The first song he included in his live shows were “Aimons-nous” and “Dans ma cour,” and Yvon Deschamps would write nearly 60 more over the course of his career.
Aimons-nous quand même/Aimons-nous jour après jour (Let’s love each other despite everything/Let’s love each other day after day)
Aimons-nous quand même/Aimons-nous malgré l’amour (Let’s love each other despite everything/Let’s love each other despite love)
Aimons-nous de rage/Aimons-nous mais sans pitié (Let’s love each out of rage/Lest’s love each other but without pity)
Aimons-nous en cage/Aimons-nous sans amitié (Let’s love each other in a cage/Let’s love each other without friendship—all the lyrics are freely translated)
Jacques Perron and his band Vos Voisins accompanied Yvon Deschamps on stage from 1969 to 1973 when his shows at Théâtre Maisonneuve were increasingly frequent, and “Aimons-nous” was a crowd favourite. The song was one of the highlights of the show 1 fois 5, in 1975, when Deschamps celebrated Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on Mount Royal alongside such luminaries as Gilles Vigneault, Claude Léveillé, Jean-Pierre Ferland, and Robert Charlebois — a historical event that was released on a double album of the same name.
“Aimons-nous” was also re-edited on the box set Yvon Deschamps Volume 1 – Les années 60-70 (2004 GSI Musique, BMDVD3568), on the Aimons-nous EP, which included six different versions (2012), as well as on the L’intégrale 1958-2008 box set.
One day, someone heckled Deschamps and shouted, “Stop singing, you’re a horrible singer!,” to which he replied “Can’t be that bad, since everyone’s singing along!” His songs were covered by the likes of Ginette Reno, Monique Leyrac, Nicola Ciccone, Laurence Jalbert, Dan Bigras, Isabelle Boulay, Judi Richards and her daughters Karine and Sarah-Émilie and, above all, by Diane Dufresne on her album Deschampsons (2015).
In 2017, “Aimons-nous” took on a whole new meaning in the wake of the attack on Québec City’s great mosque. Ariane Moffat, Karim Ouellet, and La Bronze — who sang part of the song in Arabic — turned Aimons-nous into a hymn to diversity, and the song reached the top of the iTunes chart in Canada.
Deux mille ans de haine/N’ont rien changé à l’amour
Pour briser nos chaînes/Sonnent canons et tambours
C’est l’amour qui gronde/L’amour avance à grands pas
Par amour du combat/Je t’aime, tu m’aimes, il l’aime (freely: Two thousand years of hatred / Haven’t changed love / To break our shackles / Cannons and drums are banging / It’s the rumble of love / Love is making important strides / For the love of fighting back / I love you, you love me, he loves)
Yvon Deschamps became Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2001, has won a Governor General Award for the Performing Arts, and became a Compagnon de l’ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2017.