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Album: The Very Best of Edith PiafReleased: 1947
The distinctive melody of this song makes it instantly recognizable. With music by Louis Guglielmi and regular Piaf collaborator Marguerite Monnot, it has lyrics by Piaf herself, and was the song that broke through for her internationally. The title translates literally as "life is pink," but is generally taken to mean looking through rose-colored glasses, a well-known saying.
"La Vie En Rose" was written in 1945 and released as a single in 1947 on the Columbia label backed by "Un Refrain Courait Dans La Rue." Like her other two big hits "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
" and "Milord
," this Piaf song has been recorded in English, with lyrics by American songwriter Mack David.
"La Vie En Rose" has appeared in numerous films and TV programmes, but the first film in which it was used was The Neuf garçons, un coeur
, a vehicle for Piaf which was released in France on March 24, 1948, and in which naturally she performed the song herself.
Tony Bennett performed this as a duet with k.d. lang for their 2002 album A Wonderful World
. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals but lost to "Whenever I Say Your Name
," by Sting and Mary J. Blige. The album, however, did take home the prize for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Grace Jones did a radical bossa nova/disco interpretation of the song for her debut album Portfolio. It became her first international hit single reaching the Top 5 in France, Italy and The Netherlands and a staple of her repertoire. She told NME: "I didn't hear the original before I covered it because I didn't want to be affected by Edith Piaf's way of singing it. It's really different, but the melodies are still there."