Sharon

If You Love Me (L'Hymne à l'Amour)

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If a singer is going to record a cover of a well-known song, it's pointless to provide a carbon copy of the original. Unless he/she brings something fresh or different to the song, listeners are better off sticking to the original version. Jazz artists have the right idea -- it's better to interpret than emulate. Sharon is hardly a jazz artist, but the obscure disco singer had the right idea when, in 1978, she provided this unlikely arrangement of Edith Piaf's famous "L'Hymne à l'Amour." Sharon doesn't approach the gem as French pop; reporting to producer/arranger Tony Green, she gives "L'Hymne à l'Amour" a slick, glossy Euro-disco makeover. And it works -- Piaf's classic is surprisingly successful with a disco beat. What isn't surprising is the fact that this rare 12" single (which contains an instrumental version on the second side) was recorded in Montréal. That Québec city has a large French-speaking population, and Piaf's recordings have been incredibly popular there. But the obscure Sharon doesn't embrace the song's French lyrics exclusively; her main focus, in fact, is the English-language version, which is known as "If You Love Me." Although she isn't a great singer -- her vocals are definitely on the thin side -- Sharon and Green deserve credit for trying something different with one of France's best-known standards.

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