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Song Lyric Sunday – Life in Pink

Who does not want to see the world through rose colored glasses, especially when ones entire life has been centered around tragedy?

When Jim posted the prompt of “La” for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, my thoughts went immediately to “La Vie en Rose” whose literal translation is life in pink known to refer to seeing life as rosy or through rose colored glasses.

My strongest impression of this song came as a result of seeing the film “French Kiss”. This version was an instrumental by the great Louis Armstrong.

The music was composed by Louis Guglielmi, known by his non de plume, Louiguy. The song was written by Èdith Piaf. The title ”La Vie en Rose” was originally written as les choses (things) rather than la vie (life). She approached Marianne Michel about recording the song and it is Marianne who is credited with the change in the title. This is her version of the song.

Èdith Piaf led a tragic life. She was abandoned by her mother and eventually went to live with her grandmother who was a Madame in a brothel in Normandy where the prostitutes helped raise her. At the age of six she suffered a period of blindness as a result of keratitis possibly related to meningitis. Èdith had a child whom she abandoned much like her own mother had abandoned her. She died at two years of age from meningitis.

After years of street performing and performing with her abusive father, Èdith was eventually discovered by cabaret owner Louis Leplée in 1935. It was Louis that gave her the nickname ‘little sparrow’. A year later she was questioned for her involvement in his murder but was not charged. She went on to become one of the most popular French entertainers after the war. During the war she was accused of collaborating with the Germans but it was later revealed she may have been part of the French resistance.

Her life was difficult from an early age. Later in life she relied on morphine and alcohol to deal with the pain from several severe car accidents. She was married twice and had many high profile romances. Upon her death, the archbishop of Paris denied her a funeral Mass because of her lifestyle. Regardless, tens of thousands filled the streets to pay tribute to her. This is Édith’s recording of the song:

“La Vie en Rose” has been recorded by more artists than possible to mention. Grace Jones had a very popular version which I did not personally care for. There is even a Bollywood version.

French Lyrics from Genius.com

[Couplet 1]
Des yeux qui font baisser les miens
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche
Voilà le portrait sans retouche
De l’homme auquel j’appartiens

[Refrain]
Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Qu’il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose
Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça m’fait quelque chose

[Couplet 2]
Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause
C’est lui pour moi, moi pour lui dans la vie
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré, pour la vie
Et dès que je l’aperçois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon cœur qui bat

[Pont]
Des nuits d’amour à plus finir
Un grand bonheur, qui prend sa place
Des ennuis des chagrins s’effacent
Heureux, heureux, à en mourir

[Refrain]
Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Qu’il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose
Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça m’fait quelque chose

[Couplet 3]
Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause
C’est toi pour moi, moi pour toi dans la vie
Tu me l’as dit, m’as juré pour la vie
Et, dès que je t’aperçois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon cœur qui bat

[Outro]
La-la-la, la-la-la
La-la-la, la-la-la
La, la, la-la

English Lyrics from Lyrics.Fandom.com

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose

When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom

And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Everyday words seems
To turn into love song
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be la vie en rose

I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose

When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom

And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose

Many people are familiar with Lady Gaga’s performance of this song in “A Star is Born”. After the film she had a beautiful tattoo of a rose and the song title the length of her spine. You can see it on her Instagram page.

28 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – Life in Pink”

  1. Not familiar with the Michel version and have only heard Edith’s version a few times, but the Armstrong version was a HUGE favorite of Mrs. Austin, my 8th grade art teacher and she played it…a LOT during class. Thanks for the memories!

    Like

  2. I adore this song. I remember we had a compilation album and English version was on it. I thought it was fabulous. I remember showing my Dad, who also loved it.
    Edith’s life does seem so sad. 😦

    Like

    1. Édith’s voice was amazing.

      As far as the film, I have not seen it, Pete, but after my research, I did add it to my ‘must see’ list. I did not cover her life nearly as in-depth as she deserved. I read great reviews on the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Louis Armstrong was dubbed “satchel mouth” and this was eventually shortened to “Satchmo”. There is something about French sounding so romantic and I really enjoyed the Marianne Michel version of this song. Maggie thanks for including the story about Èdith Piaf, as I found that very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jim. I learn so much every week and I appreciate the work involved in hosting SLS. Louis Armstrong was an amazing talent and the singers like Marianne and Édith are rare.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are 2. The original starring Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Audrey Hepburn in black & white (1954). The second in 1995 starring Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear & Julia Ormond. The original is the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love this post. To think someone can create such beauty from such a truly tragic life. WOW! It is good to never feel sorry about anything again when you think of this song and this singer who inspired so many other. Thank you so kindly.

    Liked by 1 person

I appreciate those who read and I enjoy your thoughtful comments.

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