[Extremely French voice] “Dallas.”

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Attitude” is a lifestyle as well as the name of the French music legend Johnny Hallyday’s 1985 album and title track. But, it turns out, Hallyday wasn’t the only bad boy laying down cool American tunes en Français around the same time.

In line with the rich tradition of creating French songs for intros to dubbed versions of American television shows, Dallas got its own and—unlike the American version—the song was a dark anthem for the city. The lyrics as translated by Paula Bosse of Flashback Dallas:

Dallas, your ruthless world,
Dallas, where might is right,
Dallas, and under your relentless sun,
Dallas, only death is feared.

Dallas, home of the oil dollar,
Dallas, you do not know pity;
Dallas, the revolver is your idol,
Dallas, you cling to the past.

Dallas, woe to him who does not understand,
Dallas, one day he will lose his life.
Dallas, your ruthless world,
Dallas, where might is right.

This gift of a song, which was titled, obviously, “Dallas,” comes from the mind of composer Jean Renard (who, unsurprisingly, also worked with Hallyday many times). But it was performed by a band called Dallas.

It was a huge hit! Dallas ended up performing “Dallas” (apparently their one and only song) in matching Dallas uniforms on TV multiple times.

Renard also composed the French-only song for another TV show named after a U.S. city, Santa Barbara. This writer may still be processing the trauma of hearing his mom spontaneously belt out,Santa Barbara, je ne sais pas! over the years.

H/t Julia Barton

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.

  2. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.

  3. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  4. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  5. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.