This is an old Faces track, but as good as the original is with Ronnie Lane on vocals, the definitive version of "Ooh La La" is by far the one by Rod Stewart. This revamped version of "Ooh La La" can be found on Rod's strong "When We Were The New Boys" album from the late 1990s, an album that finds Rod in great shape and form and is consequently filled with excellent songs and vocals.
One of my all time favorites, the Irish-flavored "Ooh La La" is truly one of those songs that is almost impossible not to like. The melody is infectious, vocals brilliant, acoustic guitars meticulous, bass, flute and fiddle playful and the lyrics, albeit humorous, are actually very, very clever. The theme of the song is very much what the first line of the chorus manifests: "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger." The charm of this lyrical hook, of course, is that it's one of those lines that must have been uttered about a zillion times during the history of man.
To me there is no greater celebration of life than when an old geezer is trying to give advice to the next generation. And this is what "Ooh La La" is all about. It is a dialogue between a young grandson and his grandfather, who is trying to warn the youngster about the wicked ways of women but alas, to no avail.
Poor young grandson
There's nothing I can say
You’ll have to learn, just like me
And that's the hardest way
Years after listening to the Faces version with my dad, I played him this remake. He loved it. After the song had ended, we looked at each other, both of us smiled. "So, I guess now you are old enough to understand what the song is about, aren't you?" my dad whispered and raised an eyebrow, looking over his shoulder. I nodded and asked him if he would still marry my mom knowing what he knows know. At that very instant my mother stormed into the room and tersely demanded to know why my dad hadn't cleaned the gutters yet. "I've been asking for weeks, “ she continued. “I'm going to run some errands now and when I get back, I want them done," she said sternly. With that she left the room. My dad smiled, looked at me and winked an eye. "Son," he said laughingly, "I think your mom just answered that question for me." Ooh la la, indeed.
If you want to see a very cool live video where a fan joins Rod on stage to sing “Ooh La La” follow this link:
By contrast, here’s the writer of the song, Ronnie Lane, performing it live at the BBC in 1974:
You can learn more about Rod Stewart here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.