The song of Craonne has been for a long time a key element in the remembrance of WWI. It was in particular sung by Marc Ogeret, Mouloudji and Maxime Le Forestier. You can also have heard in several films as “Un long dimanche de fiançailles” (J-P Jeunet, 2004).
It was the subject of multiple versions during the war, on a fashionable waltz tune “Bonsoir m’amour” composed by Adhelmar Sablon, in 1911. This song was first known under the name of “La chanson de Lorette” in reference to Lorette plateau in Artois. From 1916, other versions have called to mind the fights in Champagne as well as those in Verdun or in the Somme.
The song of Craonne appeared in summer 1917: “the plateau”, which the song deals with, is about California plateau that overhung Craonne village. It was the objective of incessant and particularly bloody attacks during Nivelle’s offensive, from 13th April 1917.