Petula Clark, "Downtown."
Petula Clark, "Ciao ciao."
Petula Clark, "Dans le temps."
Obviously they're the same song, with identical backing tracks,* which isn't the interesting thing here for me (especially since I've known "Ciao Ciao" since high school Italian class--the lyrics are completely different in meaning [as are the lyrics for "Dans le temps"], and quite good by the standards of the sentimental summer romance genre). This kind of thing is not uncommon for multilingual Clark, who was huge in France (and England) long before anyone in the U.S. had heard of her. She has French versions of most of her hits, from "Viens avec moi" ("I Know a Place") to "C'est ma chanson" ("This Is My Song"), not to mention French-language covers of English-language songs, like "Un jeune homme bien" ("A Well-Respected Man") and "Ceux qui ont un coeur" ("Anyone Who Had a Heart").**
*Except that I think the Italian and French versions are slightly sped up, though whether that's an artifact of the digitization or a deliberate thing done in the studio, I don't know. I only have the English version on original vinyl, so I can't compare directly.
**And, while I'm at it, there are her delightful French songs that as far as I know don't have equivalents in other languages, like the very yé-yé "Prends garde à toi" and the utterly silly "Ô Ô Sheriff," and of course there's also the wonderfulness that is "Chariot," later turned into "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March.
But what's fascinating me is the backing vocalists--because I'm pretty sure, but not completely sure, that they're the same in each version, too. When they're led by Clark singing "Downtown," it sounds like they're saying "downtown," too--but when she's saying "Ciao ciao," they sound like they're saying "ciao ciao," and when she's singing "Dans le temps," they sound like they're saying "dans le temps." But if you listen closely (you can hear it best around 1:55 in the English video, 1:54 in the Italian, and 1:52 in the French), I think they're saying the same thing in each song, which is something like "Taaau-taau," and our contextualizing brains do the work of making them sound like they're saying the very similar-sounding words we find around them.
I might be wrong--sometimes I think they all sound the same, sometimes I think they're all different. But if I'm right--that's very clever!