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His follow-up was met with great expectations. It became the war-time drama Les portes de la nuit. However, you might know it under the English name Autumn Leaves. In that way it has become both a jazz standard and one of the most performed vocal ballads of the pre-rock era.

Not that the French version did bad for itself, it is also an evergreen chanson.

Nat King Cole:Les Feuilles Mortes Lyrics

That are three styles the song is a classic in. Other versions will probably pop up in the future. Why is it the version by Montand that appears here? Well, he performed it first. More or less. He is one of the main actors in Les portes de la nuit. Neither did Montand immediately record a full version. Still, Montand seems to have liked the song, because he started to make it a part of his live set. Turns out singing was hardly a side job for him.

How to pronounce Les Feuilles Mortes

He actually entered showbusiness as such and was discovered in the early forties — during the French occupation by Germany - by no less than Edith Piaf, with whom he formed a couple for a time. For slightly less than 10 years, Montand almost exclusively appeared in roles based around his musical capacities. Quickly after the release of Les portes de la nuit, some French performers recorded the song, but still it went largely unnoticed.

Montand finally recorded a real single of the song in Only in did his song hit the charts and did it become a part of French chanson history. In the meantime, the song had already been translated in English, as early as or , accounts vary. There is a nice parallel between the history of the French and the American version of the song.

Both versions came about as assignments. The tune was composed by the French-Hungarian Joseph Kosma, who wanted to use it for an unproduced opera. When asked to provide a song for Les portes de la nuit he was also the composer for Les enfants du paradis , he delivered this abandoned tune he was proud of. The English version was also an assignment. Johnny Mercer, who a few years earlier was one of the prime songwriters from Tin Pan Alley and for Hollywood movies, experienced a lull in his career.

He would bounce back soon enough, but around the late forties he really took any assignment he could get. Michael Goldsen, head of music publishing at Capitol Music, wanted a translation of Les feuilles et mortes. No other reason was given than that Goldsen really liked the then-obscure French track. I guess he thought there might be interest in an English version.

Mercer took the assignment and wrote it during a quick train ride. Despite it being a rush job it moved Goldsen and subsequently a lot of people. The song was given to Jo Stafford to sing. Success came later for her and for Autumn Leaves.

More by Nat King Cole

Only in did jazz pianist Roger Williams take the song to change it into a beautiful but fierce jazz track. His wordless, piano-only version became a surprise hit and suddenly the song started to jump up everywhere. A few versions became hits, but for a big part it seems to be a musicians favourite, perhaps best exemplified by the fact that jazz players love it so much. I mean, jazz is an American genre, but this French chanson managed to become supposedly the 8th most performed song in jazz history. So what made this track suddenly so popular that everyone and his dog felt the need to play it?


  • Les feuilles mortes Lyrics!
  • Les Oeuvres Complètes de Balzac (La Comédie Humaine + les autres écrits): Édition mise à jour et corrigée avec sommaire interne actif (French Edition).
  • Les feuilles mortes (English translation)?

I come up empty-handed for an answer, actually. Hischak The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia Greenwood Press Hardcover: pages 1 paragraph including the following types of information: film productions, history and performers. Martin's Press; 1st edition Hardcover: pages 2 pages including the following types of information: lyric analysis.

Autumn Leaves ( song) - Wikipedia

Hey Girl! Comment Policy Your comments are welcome, including why you like this tune, any musical challenges it presents, or additional background information. Jazz musicians, fans, and students of all ages use this website as an educational resource. As such, off-topic, off-color, unduly negative, and patently promotional comments will be removed.

Les feuilles mortes

Once submitted, all comments become property of JazzStandards. By posting, you give JazzStandards. More on This Tune. Audio samples are below the video player. Ahmad Jamal. Cannonball Adderley. Erroll Garner.


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  8. When he was three years old the family moved to Marseilles, where they became naturalized French citizens. Yves dropped out of school at the age of eleven during the Depression to go to work to help the family. He began singing in amateur shows as a teenager and adopted Yves Montand as a stage name. Yves was a talented performer with an engaging personality and sense of humor, and later became an internationally popular actor and singer.

    His tenor was light and lyrical, and his care-free singing style endeared him to his fans. This disc contains 26 of his songs recorded between and , and all are sung in French. Similar Items. Michael Allen Harrison. Roger Williams. Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. Jazz History Notes. The Chick Corea Akoustic Band. Barbara Lea. The song became one of his biggest hits, eventually selling over one million copies. The song is a happy celebration of life, exquisitely sung to a finger-snapping tempo and a delivery that exudes pure excitement that rises higher with each verse.