Music: C'est Fini

In a down-at-heel bistro on the French Riviera one night in August 1944, a pianist lazily fingered a nostalgic ballad from a crudely cleffed manuscript. Some G.I.s at the bar asked to hear it again. The musician played it once more, and then told its history. A Jewish friend of his in Nice, hunted by the Gestapo, had written it three years before, had left it with a publisher, then fled to the Alpes-Maritimes to join a band of the Maquis. Its title reflected its composer's despair: C'est Fini (It Is Finished).

To the Americans, C'est Fini sounded like a combination of...

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