What's The Meaning Of The French Song In The Allstate Commercial?

Allstate recently started running a commercial featuring an old fashioned-sounding song, sung in French. The tune plays as cars drive around town with random things placed precariously on the roofs (because who hasn't accidentally driven off with their purse, coffee, or... goldfish bowl?). If you've seen the TV spot, it's more than likely that the song got stuck in your head. It sounds charming, romantic, and vaguely epic, like it should be featured in an old movie about star-crossed lovers. And as it turns out, there's a pretty good reason for that.


The song doesn't just sound old and romantic and like the soundtrack to a film; it actually is all of those things. The song is called "Non, je ne regrette rien," which translates to "No, I have no regrets," and is performed by the late Edith Piaf. Piaf, who was born in 1915 and died in 1963, was affectionately known by fans and those in show business as "little sparrow," and she became famous for this song and others like "La Vie En Rose" (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "No, I have no regrets" is a great theme for a commercial that advertises safe driving, and arriving at your destination with, well, no regrets.

Edith Piaf is more popular than you may realize

The Allstate commercial is far from the first time "Non, je ne regrette rien" was featured as a soundtrack; it has been used in countless TV shows, commercials, and movies. The fame the song earned its singer was so immense, that in 2007, a movie about her life — La Vie en Rose — was released, starring Marion Cotillard, who won the Best Actress Oscar for the role. Further, Lady Gaga paid homage to Piaf in her movie A Star Is Born by singing "La Vie en Rose."


Piaf is incredibly popular on Spotify, which may surprise folks who use the platform mostly to play throwback playlists and the latest hits. "Non, je ne regrette rien" has a whopping 79 million plays on the streaming service, and "La Vie en Rose" has a solid 80 million (via Spotify). For context, Taylor Swift's new single "Willow" has 88 million spins on Spotify. Pretty impressive for an artist five decades later.

Who was Edith Piaf?

Édith Piaf was born in Belleville, Paris, on Dec.19, 1915, and at that time, her name was Édith Giovanna Gassion (via Biography). Though it could be speculation, it is said that she was named after Edith Cavell, a nurse from World War I, who is famous for having been executed for helping Belgian soldiers escape from their captivity amongst German forces. Edith's mother was herself a singer, and performed in Paris cafes under the name Line Marsa, though her real name was Annetta Giovanna Maillard, and fascinatingly, Edith's father, Louis-Alphonse Gassion, was a street acrobat. It's unsurprising, therefore, that Edith had the performing arts gene.


While a great deal of what went on in her young life is unknown, she rose to fame in the 1930's for her beautiful ballads, some of which she wrote herself. She was first "discovered" in 1935 by Louis Leplée, owner of nightclub Le Gerny, which was located in a prime spot just off the Champs-Élysées. As she became more well known, her "nervous energy" and petite frame earned her the nickname La Môme Piaf ("The Little Sparrow"). She became, according to Biography, a "symbol of French tenacity and passion."

Piaf's rise to fame

Edith Piaf's star continued to rise, and by World War II she was one of the most popular performers in France. She sparked controversy by performing for German soldiers, but history says that in actuality, Piaf was working for the French Resistance helping Jewish people escape and evade the Nazis. When the war was over, it was safer for her to travel and for her career to take off overseas, and so in the 1950s, she toured Europe and also the United States. She eventually became popular enough in American to earn multiple coveted appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show (via Biography).


Sadly, while she continued to record and perform throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, she was plagued by health issues, and passed away at the early age of 47 from kidney failure in 1963. And while her career ended with her untimely passing, she still has fans across the globe and has inspired many other works of art in music and film. A book by Carolyn Burke called No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf was published in 2011. And of course, her song "Non, je ne regrette rien" provided the fitting soundtrack for Allstate's Super Bowl ad in 2021.