1 song 8 artists 11 interpretations
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There was a very popular song when I was growing up. It started life in a 1946 French film, which I never saw except for a clip The clip The singer's name was Yves Montand, who in later life became an international film star and popular singer. The film's title was Les Portes de la nuit. The song was, believe it or not, about some dead leaves. Subsequently, Nat King Cole adapted the tune so as to better suited to his own singing style and the tune became an international hit. Nat King Cole's chart topper.
Years later Cole's own daughter, Natalie Cole, also an acclaimed singer, recorded her version of the song. Natalie Cole Natalie Maria Cole (February 6, 1950 – December 31, 2015) became an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to success in the mid-1970s as an R&B singer with the hits "This Will Be", "Inseparable" (1975), and "Our Love" (1977). She returned as a pop singer on the 1987 album Everlasting and her cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". In the 1990s, she sang traditional pop by her father, resulting in her biggest success, Unforgettable... with Love, which sold over seven million copies and won her seven Grammy Awards. She sold over 30 million records worldwide. On December 31, 2015, Cole died at the age of 65 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, due to congestive heart failure.
But the tune attracted other, non-vocal interpretations also. Here is Yenne Lee playing it on a guitar Yenne Lee
Evidently, Montand liked the tune and returned to it in middle age in a different, more nostalgic mood, from that of 1946
Yves Montand in middle age
Frank Sinatra also recorded the song. His version is here Frank Sinatra
So did Matt Monro. Who was Matt Monroe? Matt Monro (born Terence Edward Parsons, 1 December 1930 – 7 February 1985) was an English singer who became one of the most popular entertainers on the international music scene during the 1960s and 1970s. Known as The Man with the Golden Voice, he filled cabarets, nightclubs, music halls, and stadiums across the world in his 30-year career. AllMusic has described Monro as "one of the most underrated pop vocalists of the '60s", who "possessed the easiest, most perfect baritone in the business". His recordings include the UK Top 10 hits: "Portrait of My Love", "My Kind of Girl", "Softly As I Leave You", "Walk Away" and "Yesterday" (originally by The Beatles). He also recorded several film themes such as "From Russia with Love" for the James Bond film of the same name, "Born Free" for the film of the same name and "On Days Like These" for The Italian Job. Matt Monro
Here is Eric Clapton's rendering of the song Eric Clapton
Paula Cole, unrelated to Nat King Cole, also recorded it Paula Cole
Paula (born April 5, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter. Her single "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1997, and the following year she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her song "I Don't Want to Wait" was used as the theme song of the television show Dawson's Creek.
And for good measure Doris Day also recorded it. Doris Day So did many others.
I will conclude with Montand, who many, many years after the 1946 original, gave a very different but remarkable rendering, with new and unrelated lyrics, with just a hint at dead leaves, instead ... well, find out for yourself. Yves Montand