Autumn Leaves (song)
|("Les feuilles mortes")|
|Music by||Joseph Kosma|
|Lyrics by||Jacques Prévert (French)
Johnny Mercer (English)
|Original artist||Yves Montand and Irène Joachim|
|Recorded by||Jo Stafford, Edith Piaf, The Melachrino Strings, Nat King Cole|
"Autumn Leaves" is a much-recorded popular song. Originally it was a 1945 French song "Les feuilles mortes" (literally "The Dead Leaves") with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, the Hungarian title is "Hulló levelek" (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced "Les feuilles mortes" in 1946 in the film Les Portes de la Nuit.
Recordings and Covers
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.
The film Autumn Leaves (1956) starring Joan Crawford featured the song, as sung by Nat King Cole, over the title sequence. The French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg paid tribute to this song in his own song "La chanson de Prévert". Frank Sinatra included a popular version of the song on his 1956 album Where Are You?.
The Coasters released a version of the song on their 1960 album One by One. Al Hirt released a version on his 1965 album, They're Playing Our Song. The British Invasion band Manfred Mann released a rock version on their 1966 album As Is. Italian-American tenor Sergio Franchi recorded his version on the 1968 RCA Victor album I'm a Fool to Want You. Raquel Bitton recorded a version in 2000 that appears on her album Raquel Bitton sings Edith Piaf. Jerry Lee Lewis released a version that can be found on the 2000 album The Jerry Lee Lewis Show.
Structure and chord progression
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The song is in AABC form. "Autumn Leaves" offers a popular way for beginning jazz musicians to become acquainted with jazz harmony as the chord progression consists almost solely of ii-V-I and ii-V sequences which are typical of jazz. It was originally, and is most commonly, performed in the key of E minor, but is also played in G minor and other keys. Eva Cassidy's version (clip on the right) is played in B-flat minor with a capo on the first fret.
- Massin B. Les Joachim – Une famille de musiciens. Fayard, Paris, 1999.
- The Big Show. "BigShow-02". BigShow. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-25. "As carried on Internet radio at"
- François, Corinne (2000). Jacques Prévert, Paroles. Editions Bréal. p. 109. ISBN 978-2-84291-702-9.
- Anonymous. "1987 Programs & Ticket Stubs". The Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. Retrieved 2006-11-07. "As listed in 1987 program."
- The Coasters, One by One Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Al Hirt, They're Playing Our Song Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "As Is". AllMusic.com.
- "Sergio Franchi". Gemm.com.
- Jerry Lee Lewis, The Jerry Lee Lewis Show Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- Anonymous. "Roger Williams". Nebraska Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2006-11-07. "In 1965, Williams added a chorus and charted it again at no. 10 Billboard Easy Listening as "Autumn Leaves - 1965.""
- Spitzer, Peter (2001). Jazz Theory Handbook, p.81. ISBN 0-7866-5328-0.
- Kostka, Stefan; Payne, Dorothy; Almén, Byron (2013). Tonal harmony with an introduction to twentieth-century music (seventh ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 46, 238. ISBN 978-0-07-131828-0.