“La Vie En Rose” was written in 1945 by Edith Piaf, Louis Guglielmi, and Marguerite Monnot. First, I’ll start off by saying that though I don’t know French, Edit Piaf’s singing gets me. . .right. . .there. While she had a tumultuous life, she could use every experience and emotion she lived through to inject into her music, lyrics wise and vocally. When she sings, you feel it, whether you know the exact words she is singing or not. She wrote the lyrics to some brilliant songs, “La Vie En Rose” being one of the best. And while I can only go off of the translated version, I can’t really offer a more beautiful and enchanting song about love.
From the opening words of , “hold me close and hold me fast” to “when you kiss me heaven sighs,” it speaks to the treasure of finding true love and a shared comfort, the recognition of another soul. “And when you speak angels sing from above, everyday words seem to turn into love songs.” Everyday, normal things can be turned into the most poetic experience, every aspect of life is instantly beautiful and rosy, waiting to be enjoyed. It is the essential love song.
Of all the covers, I have to say Louis Armstrong’s edges out the rest, if only for the fact of that trumpet intro. When that starts, before any singing has taken place, you might as well get out the smelling salts and throw a glass of water in my face because I am done. At that point, I almost cannot function., my heart has melted and seeped out of every pore of my skin. When that gravelly voice starts, touching each of the words in the exquisite lyrics it’s as if my feet are no longer even touching the floor, floating in a dreamy haze. It’s like an otherworldly experience.
The song itself is so splendid that almost any cover is sublime. Jo Stafford delivers it with her wistful yet steady voice, mixing English and French. As I said before, I don’t know French, so I am unconcerned with how the English speaking singers pronounce the French words (I know, there are people out there keeling over), the impact of the song remains unchanged for me. Dean Martin croons on serenely, with very little change in the song. It grows in fervor a bit but stays composed and velvety. The band Foxtails Brigade, specifically two members, Laura Weinbach and Anton Patzner, do an entrancing version, that is sweetly haunting and lingering.
In French, in English, it doesn’t matter. The song speaks directly to the emotions or memories of a person, it transcends language.