Tomber la chemise

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"Tomber la chemise"
Tomber la chemise.jpg
Single by Zebda
from the album Essence ordinaire
  • "Quinze ans"
  • "Le pont du carrousel"
Released7 June 1999
Genre Pop rock, reggae
Label Barclay, Universal Music
Songwriter(s) Magyd Cherfi
Zebda singles chronology
"Tomber la chemise"
"Y'a pas d'arrangement"

"Tomber la chemise" (English: literally "Take Off Your Shirt" but the meaning is "Get ready to play hard") [1] is a 1998 song by the Toulousian collective Zebda. [2] The song was released on 7 June 1999 as part of the first single from Zebda's third album Essence ordinaire and received a successful reception in France, where it reached number-one on the singles chart and won two awards. This summer 1999 hit song "Tomber la chemise" was part of a sudden popularity trend by rappers of immigrant origins in France at that time. [2]


Structure and lyrics

Although "Tomber la chemise" appeared to be an outsider in the race to the top of the charts that summer, this highly political song became the hit that finally brought Zebda national recognition after eleven years of existence. [3] According to an expert of French charts, this song "devotes an expression of the spoken language, becoming inseparable from this song, and bases its originality on the regional savour that the accent of the Midi conveys". The melody is similar to those of Regg'Lyss songs. [3]

Chart performances and awards

In France, the song went straight to #11 on 12 June 1999. It entered the Top 10 the next week and stayed in it for 20 weeks, three of them atop. Thereafter, it kept dropping and fell off the Top 100 after 30 weeks. It achieved diamond certification status awarded by the French provider, SNEP. The song is currently the 145th best-selling single of all time in France. [4] In addition to being a commercial success, the song went on to be named the best French song of 2000 at both the Victoires de la musique [5] awards and the NRJ Music Awards. [6] [7]

In Belgium (Wallonia), "Tomber la chemise" remained on the Ultratop 40 for 19 weeks. It started at #22 on 7 August 1999, climbed quickly and finally peaked at #3 in its seventh week. It totaled ten weeks in the Top 10.

Cover versions and parodies

In 1999, the song was parodied by Le Festival Roblès under the title "Solder la Chemise" ("Sell Off Your Shirt"). [8] [9] [10] Les Fatals Picards, a French band which participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, also parodied the song under the name "Monter le pantalon" ("Pull Up Your Pants") on its album Pamplemousse mécanique (A Clockwork Grapefruit). [11]

In 2002, the song was covered by Yannick Noah, Michèle Laroque and Francis Cabrel on the album Tous dans le même bateau (All in the Same Boat), [12] also available on Les Enfoirés's the best of La compil' (vol. 3), released in 2005.

Track listings

CD single
  1. "Tomber la chemise" — 4:25
  2. "Quinze ans" — 4:50
  3. "Le pont du carrousel" — 4:06

Certifications and sales

CountryCertificationDateSales certifiedPhysical sales
France [13] Diamond20 December 1999750,000868,000 [14]


Related Research Articles


Zebda is a French music group from Toulouse, France, known for its political activism and its wide variety of musical styles. The group, which was formed in 1985, consisted of seven musicians of diverse nationalities, and the themes of much of their music involved political and social justice, the status of immigrants and minorities in France, and the inhabitants of the French banlieues, or suburbs. Zebda earned widespread recognition, as well as several awards, for its 1998 single "Tomber la chemise". In 2001, the band spearheaded an independent political party that won over 12% of the first-round vote in Toulouse's municipal elections. The group disbanded in 2003 but reformed in 2011.

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  1. Burke, Rose Marie (February 11, 2000). "Rai Music Reigns in France As 'Bears' Assert Their Roots". The Wall Street Journal Europe . Retrieved 18 December 2008. One big 1999 hit was "Tomber la Chemise" ("Take Off Your Shirt") by the Franco-Arab group Zebda (meaning butter, or beurre in French, a play on the word Beur)...
  2. 1 2 Muggleton, David. The Post-subcultures Reader. Berg Publishers. p. 195. ISBN   1-85973-668-8 . Retrieved 18 December 2008. On the other side of the Channel, meanwhile, rappers of immigrant origins were taking France by storm, as in the huge 1999 Summer hit 'Tomber La Chemise' ...
  3. 1 2 Elia Habib, Muz hit. tubes, p. 467 ( ISBN   2-9518832-0-X) : "Après onze ans d'existence sur les scènes locales toulousaines, le groupe Zebda accède à la renommée nationale en marquant un tube en or dans son répertoire". ("After eleven years of existence in the local Toulouse music scene, the group Zebda came into national renown when they added a golden hit to their repertoire.")
  4. Best-selling singles of all time in France (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  5. "Zebda". Radio France Internationale . RFI musique. September 2005. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. Marti, Sébastien (26 February 2008). "Musique. Zebda, le retour". La Dépêche du Midi (in French). Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  7. "NRJ Music Awards". News de Stars (in French). 25 July 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.External link in |work= (help)
  8. "Parodies, un genre impertinent". pour.inn (in French). 29 August 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  9. "Paroles #1 du titre Solder la chemise (Tomber la chemise)" English: 'Lyrics to Solder la chemise (Tomber la chemise).' Retrieved on 18 December 2008.
  10. Le Meilleur : Best of, track listing (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  11. Haazheel (April 2007). "Interviews - Les Fatals Picards" (in French). Retrieved 12 December 2008.Ivan: On a juste parodié le nom, c'est pas une chanson sur eux. Paul: C'est sur une chanson de Zebda « Tomber la chemise ».
    (Ivan: "We just parodied the name, it's not a song about them [Zebda]." Paul: "It's about a Zebda song, 'Tomber la chemise.'")
  12. Tous dans le même bateau, track listing and charts (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  13. French certifications Archived 2012-02-23 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  14. Zebda's certifications and sales in France See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les certifications depuis 1973" => "ZEBDA" (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  15. " – Zebda – Tomber la chemise" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  16. " – Zebda – Tomber la chemise" (in French). Les classement single.
  17. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Zebda" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  18. " – Zebda – Tomber la chemise" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  19. 1999 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved 12 December 2008)
  20. 1999 French Singles Chart Archived 2009-06-27 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 20 December 2008)