Rossi himself was, in his day, quite the sensation. He was a French cabaret singer who also sang art songs by Jules Massenet and Reynaldo Hahn. Like Liszt and Tom Jones, he could have the ladies swooning with just a few bars of a romantic ballad.
Petit Papa was a hit for Rossi the very first time he recorded it in 1946, selling over 30 million copies. A staggering figure, to say the least, especially considering the total population of the country was just 40 million.
Rossi gave a televised performance on Christmas Eve 1977 along with a dozen or so irresistably bescarfed and betoqued poppets [pop-pay] presumably on French television. Unfortunately, that video has been removed from Youtube copyright reasons. Normally, we would have to content ourselves with this version and listen “avec les yeux fermes.”
The Interwebs brings glad tidings of PUPPIEEESSSSS!!!!!! and FRENCH-SPEAKING TODDLERS!!!!!!! *wilt*
Dinner Table Fact: Despite incredible success, Rossi is only the second most famous person from his French island homeland, Corsica. Top spot was stolen by an enterprising artillery officer called Napoléon.
Here is a literal, non-OM translation:
It’s a beautiful Christmas night
Snow spreads its white coat
And eyes lift toward the sky
On their knees, small children
Before closing their eyes
Say a last prayer.
Little Father Christmas
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don’t forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress warmly
Outside you will be so cold
And it’s kind of my fault.
I can’t wait for sunrise
To see if you brought me
All the lovely toys that I see in my dreams
And that I ordered from you
The sandman has passed
The children are going to sleep
And you will be able to begin,
With your sack on your back,
To the sound of church bells,
Your distribution of surprises.
And when you are on your beautiful cloud
Come first to our house
I wasn’t always very good
But I ask for your forgiveness.