Barbara, L’Aigle Noir & La Dame Brune (France)

by | Apr 6, 2019

Barbara – An Artist profile

In her signature shades and melodic accessory, l’Aigle Noir, the black eagle, soars in the acoustic waves, vocals ablaze and accompanying herself on the piano. She stands tall in French chanson, an equal to the likes of Charles Aznavour, Georges Brassens, Georges Moustaki, Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg, without maybe their renown or propency to shock, whether the two latter are related or not. Her muse is all at once sharp, serious and cheeky, satisfying her desires on adventures with male encounters with impressionist touches of lyrical naughtiness, or tackling a hidden societal flaw with an impressive tact as far as the French rules could then be stretched. But her main craft lies on the edges of nostalgic romanticism and itching madness, as she reports with a voice that embraces the moment and the situation, the burning agony of excessive passions and heartbreak. As talented a songwriter as a performer, she delights whether she interprets her own penned songs or covers the likes of Jacques Brel.

Barbara in 10 songs

  1. Göttingen
  2. Si la photo est bonne
    This playful song is cheeky but what an effectively sarcastic take on topical events that at once is fun, sexy and seriously politically troubling
  3. La Solitude
    Her generation has a few songs about solitude and Barbara’s version stands quite high on the list. It is the personalisation of loneliness like the companion that hangs on our last breath. A 6:8
  4. Pierre
    To use silences so effectively and balance it with instruments coming in and out, speaking and singing is quite an achievement on this marvelous piece that epitomises the simple power of chanson.
  5. Chapeau Bas
  6. Dis, quand reviendras-tu ?
  7. Madame
  8. La Dame brune
  9. Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’ Amour C’Est Vous
    The song she wrote for her supporting public is a must on this list. In spite of all that life threw at or took from her, they were there and just like anything that matters, a song needed to immortalise that sentiment, and what better than a waltz arrangement of varying paces and vocals that sound like the whisper of a “Thank you”.
  10. L’ Aigle Noir (The Black Eagle) and L’aigle noir meaning
    Barbara’s song “L’Aigle Noir” (The Black Eagle) is famous for its poetic lyrics and ambiguous meaning. Barbara’s signature song is inspired by a dream she had which has since then been given a deep meaning relating to childhood trauma, either as an early Jewish teenager during the third Reich or growing up around the incestuous behaviour of her father. While it became a huge hit, the true meaning behind the song only came to light later. In surface, the song describes a dream where the narrator sleeps by a lake and is visited by a black eagle. The lyrics are evocative and melancholic, but don’t give away a clear meaning. It is Barbara’s own interpretation that gives the song a darker undertone and uncover some of the deeper meaning. The black eagle, she revealed, represents her abusive father. The dream depicts her confronting this trauma and the loss of her innocence. The lyrics about being alone and her mother’s inability to help further reinforce this idea. Despite this revelation, the song retains a power to resonate with listeners in different ways.  L’Aigle noir was once voted the third most loved French song in France. The imagery and emotions it evokes can connect with anyone who has experienced loss, loneliness, or a broken sense of security. We also reckon that she has changed the meaning by overcoming her nightmares and become the positive black eagle that, through her songs, has conquered her fears.

All Barbara’s songs

  • A mourir pour mourir
  • A St Lazare
  • Accident
  • Amours Incestueuses · 1972
  • Attendez que ma joie revienne
  • Au bois de Saint-Amand · 1964
  • C’ est trop tard
  • Ce Matin Là
  • Ce n’est rien
  • Chapeau Bas
  • Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu ?
  • Du bout des lèvres
  • Göttingen· 1964
  • Je Ne Sais Pas Dire · 1964
  • Je serai douce
  • L’ Aigle noir
  • L’ Homme En Habit Rouge · 1973
  • L’ île aux mimosas
  • L’ oeillet blanc
  • La Dame Brune
  • La fleur d’amour · 1972
  • La Solitude · 1964
  • Le bel Age
  • Le Mal de vivre
  • Le soleil noir · 1968
  • Le temps des Lilas
  • Les amis de Monsieur · 1959
  • Les insomnies · 1981
  • Les voyages
  • Lily Passion
  • Ma plus belle histoire d’amour · 1967
  • Madame
  • Marienbad · 1973
  • Mes hommes
  • Moi je me balance · 1968
  • Mon enfance · 1964
  • Mon pote le gitan
  • Nantes · 1964
  • Ne me quitte pas (Barbara chante Jacques Brel) · 1961
  • Paris 15 aout
  • Pénélope
  • Perlimpinpin · 1972
  • Sans bagages
  • Septembre
  • Si la photo est bonne · 1964
  • Sur la place
  • Une petite cantate · 1964
  • Vienne · 1972

Any we forgot? Let us know.

Barbara’s official website

Further resources