The Dead Leaves

Les Concierges Rue du Dragon. Robert Doisneau, 1946

 
 

LES FEUILLES MORTES

Oh! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes
Des jours heureux où nous étions amis
En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle,
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu’aujourd’hui
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié…
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Et le vent du nord les emporte
Dans la nuit froide de l’oubli.
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié
La chanson que tu me chantais.

REFRAIN:

C’est une chanson qui nous ressemble
Toi, tu m’aimais et je t’aimais
Et nous vivions tous deux ensemble
Toi qui m’aimais, moi qui t’aimais
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis.

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Mais mon amour silencieux et fidèle
Sourit toujours et remercie la vie
Je t’aimais tant, tu étais si jolie,
Comment veux-tu que je t’oublie?
En ce temps-là, la vie était plus belle
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu’aujourd’hui
Tu étais ma plus douce amie
Mais je n’ai que faire des regrets
Et la chanson que tu chantais
Toujours, toujours je l’entendrai!

REFRAIN

 
 

____________________________

 
 

Oh, I would like you so much to remember
Those happy days when we were friends, and how
Life in those times was more lovely and tender,
Even the sun shone more brightly than now.
Dead leaves are gathering as in December
You see how one never forgets…
Dead leaves are gathering as in December,
Just like the memories and the regrets.
And then the north wind comes and sweeps them
Into oblivion’s icy night.
You see how I never forgot
That old song that you sang for me.

REFRAIN:

A song like us, birds of a feather,
You loving me, me loving you,
And we lived happily together,
You loving me, me loving you.
But life tears apart gentle lovers
Who quietly obey their heart,
And the sea invades the sand and covers
The footsteps of those torn apart.

Dead leaves are gathering, dead leaves are piling
Up just like memories and like regrets.
But still my love goes on quietly smiling
Thankful for life and for all that it gets.
I loved you so, you were ever so lovely,
How can I forget? Tell me how!
Life in those times was more sweet and beguiling,
Even the sun shone more brightly than now.
You were my most sweet friend and lover,
But regret just isn’t my thing,
And I’ll keep hearing all the time
The old song that you used to sing.

REFRAIN

 
 

Some of Prévert’s poems, such as Les Feuilles mortes (Autumn Leaves), La grasse matinée (Sleeping in), Les bruits de la nuit (The sounds of the night), and Chasse à l’enfant (The hunt for the child) were set to music by Joseph Kosma—and in some cases by Germaine Tailleferre of Les Six, Christiane Verger, and Hanns Eisler.

Les feuilles mortes (literally The Dead Leaves) with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, and the Hungarian title is Hulló levelek (Falling Leaves) Wa introduced by Yves Montand with Irène Joachim in the film Les Portes de la nuit (Marcel Carné, 1946).

It is a much-recorded popular song. The American songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics in 1947, and Jo Stafford was among the first to perform this version. Autumn Leaves became a pop standard and a jazz standard in both languages, both as an instrumental and with a singer. There is also a Japanese version called Kareha (枯葉) sung by Nat King Cole in his Japanese album version and 高英男 (Hideo Kou).

It has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Gréco, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Chet Baker, Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop, Andrea Bocelli, among others.Serge Gainsbourg paid tribute to Les feuilles mortes in his own song La chanson de Prévert.

The film Autumn Leaves (Robert Aldrich, 1956), starring Joan Crawford, featured over the title sequence the song as sung by Nat King Cole.

 

To listen to an altered version of this song performed by Michael David Rosenberg (better known by his stage name Passenger), please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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Sad Dove

Theatrical poster

 
 

Cucurrucucú paloma is a Mexican Huapango song written by Tomás Méndez in 1954 and introduced by Lola Beltrán in the film Cucurrucucú Paloma (Miguel Delgado, 1965). The song also appeared in other movies, such as Escuela de vagabundos (Rogelio A. González, 1955), considered one of the finest comedies of Mexican cinema, later adapted from the screenplay for the MGM movie Merrily We Live (Norman Z. McLeod, 1938); The Last Sunset (Robert Aldrich, 1961); Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai 1997); Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002);  My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Werner Herzog, 2009); and The Five-Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller, 2012). It has also been recorded by popular singers such as Luis Miguel, Rocío Dúrcal, Pedro Infante, Perry Como, Caetano Veloso, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Harry Belafonte, Nana Mouskouri, Julio Iglesias, Shirley Kwan, Lila Downs, Joan Baez (on her album Gracias a la Vida), Rosemary Clooney, and The Del Rubio Triplets.

It was played as a regular huapango song until Harry Belafonte sang it in Carnegie Hall like an <a title="Art song". Lola Beltrán's original rendering is considered by Mexicans to be the most powerful and faithful to the spirit of the song.

 
 

 
 

Original Spanish Lyrics:

“Dicen que por las noches
no mas se le iba en puro llorar,
dicen que no comía
no mas se le iba en puro tomar;
juran que el mismo cielo
se estremecía al oír su llanto
Cómo sufrió por ella,
que hasta en la muerte la fué llamando:

Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, cantaba,
ay, ay, ay, ay, gemía,
ay, ay, ay, ay, lloraba,
de pasión mortal moría.

Que una paloma triste
muy de mañana le va a cantar
a la casita sola
con las puertitas de par en par;
juran que esa paloma
no es otra cosa mas que su alma,
que todavía la espera
a que regrese la desdichada.

Cucurrucucú, paloma,
cucurrucucú, no llores.
Las piedras jamás, paloma
qué van a saber de amores.

Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú,
cucurrucucú, paloma ya no le llores.”

 
 

 
 

English Translation:

They say that every night
he was wholly overtaken by tears;
They say he never ate, but only drank
They swear that even the heavens
trembled to hear his wail,
he suffered for her so,
that even in death, he never stopped calling for her:

“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he howled,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
from a deadly passion, he died

They say that in early morning a sad dove sings to the little empty house
with its wide open little doors.
They swear that the dove
is none other than his spirit,
hoping still for the return, of the ill-fated woman.

Cucucrrucucu, dove
cucucrrucucu, don´t cry
What will these stones ever know, little dove, about love?

cucurrucucu, cucurrucucu
cucurrucucu, dove don´t cry anymore…)

 
 

Arielle Dombasle performed the song during Jean Paul Gaultier Spring Summer 2010 Haute Couture show. By the way, she descends from French-American immigrants in Mexico under her grandfather’s diplomatic tenure