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"Tomber la chemise" (English: "Take Off Your Shirt") is a 1998 song by the Toulousianmarker collective Zebda. The song was released on June 7, 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.

Structure and lyrics

Although "Tomber la chemise" appeared to be an outsider in the course to the summer hits, this song, critical of the social differences, became a hit that brought Zebda national recognition after eleven years of existence. 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.

Chart performances and awards

In France, the song went straight to #11 on June 12, 1999. It entered the top ten the next week and stayed in it for 20 weeks, three of them atop. Thereafter, it almost kept on dropping and fell of the top 100 after 30 weeks. It achieved Diamond status awarded by the French provider, SNEP. The song is currently the 145th best-selling single of all time in France. 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 awards and the NRJ Music Awards.

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

Cover versions and parodies

In 1999, the song was parodied by Le Festival Roblès under the title "Solder la Chemise" ("Sell Off Your Shirt"). 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).Paul: "It's about a Zebda song, 'Tomber la chemise.'")

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), 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

Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France Diamond December 20, 1999 750,000 868,000Zebda's certifications and sales in France See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les certifications depuis 1973" => "ZEBDA" (Retrieved December 12, 2008)


Chart (1999) Peak

Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 3
Dutch Mega Top 100 22
French SNEP Singles Chart 1

End of year chart (1999) Position
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 18
French Singles Chart 5


External links

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