05 October 2008

Manic Monday - Les Feuilles Mortes

Leaf graphic created by Janna of Jannagraphics

In 1966 I walked out of the movie Grand Prix saying, "Why couldn't they kill James Garner?" This wail of protest was caused by one of my favorite actors and singers (Yves Montand) who was playing the role of the French race driver ending up in a tree towards the end of the movie, while the American driver (Garner) survived and got the girl.

So what does this have to do with "Leaf"? If you have the time, do read Montand's bio linked above as he was a fascinating man who lived a life that seems as if it came out of a novel, and I may write a full blog article about him at a later date. As a cabaret singer, one of his signature songs was "Les Feuilles Mortes" - The Dead Leaves. The beautiful melody of this song acquired new lyrics and in English became "Autumn Leaves".

As we enter my favorite season of the year, here are the leaves: First sung by Yves Montand in French with both the French lyrics and English translation following, and then the Autumn Leaves sung by another favorite Nat "King" Cole.

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.


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!

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.


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 is all that I can do,
And I’ll keep on hearing the song
That I used to hear sung by you.


earthlingorgeous said...

Oh wow! Frank Sinatra I love his songs always comforting to me. Mine are leaves too hard to find a single leaf pic hahahaha! Do check out my Manic Monday post too. Thanks.

Travis Cody said...

Two silky smooth voices and a beautiful song.

After Hours said...

Wow you really do your homework! This is a wonderful post!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's simply beautiful! I ♥ he and his daughter. Great post. My leaf post is here.

anthonynorth said...

That's a great song in any language.

Unknown said...

Happy MM! Remarkable post and musical history. I've seen bits and pieces of the Grand Prix movie. This post will cause me to watch the full thing next time...

I invite your blog readers to see my tribute to Ryan Leaf!

peace, Villager

Ivanhoe said...

I remember Yves from a few old movies. I watched a lot of French & Italien movies back in Czech.
I did not know that he was discovered by Edith Piaf though. Ha! Learning something new every day :o)

Tink *~*~* said...

Wow, thanks for the memories! In the '60s or maybe 70s, my mom had one of those Magnus chord organs - early electric keyboard, with "chord" keys on the left, play melody on regular keyboard on the right. Special books showed you which chords to play when, while you were playing the melody. There was a book of just songs from films, and this was one of them. Other songs in that book were from "Friendly Persuasion" and "Born Free" and probably others I'm forgetting.

Anyhow, I knew the words that Nat King Cole sang, from messing around with the Magnus chord organ books in my childhood. Beautiful memories, thanks!

Tink *~*~*

maryt/theteach said...

Jamie, an excellent, beautiful post! I listened to both songs in French and English. Thank you for sharing! :)

Marilyn said...

I've never seen that movie. Lovely song.

Thank you.

Grandma Faith said...

I haven't heard "Autumn Leaves" in such a long time. Thanks for bringing it to me. I stopped by for Ruby Tuesday, but I'm sure glad I found this.