Chanson D'Amour

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"Chanson d'Amour" redirects here. For the Old French lyric tradition, see Grand chant.
"Chanson D'Amour"
Single by The Lettermen
from the album Warm
B-side "She Don't Want Me Now"
Released 1966
Format 7" single
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Wayne Shanklin
The Lettermen singles chronology
"I Only Have Eyes for You"
(1966)
"Chanson D'Amour"
(1966)
"Our Winter Love"
(1967)
"Chanson D'Amour"
Single by The Manhattan Transfer
from the album Coming Out
B-side "Helpless" or "Popsicle Toes"
Released 1977
Genre Jazz
Length 2:55
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Richard Perry

"Chanson D'Amour" ("Love Song") is a popular song written by Wayne Shanklin. A 1977 recording by the Manhattan Transfer was an international hit, reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and Australia.

Original version[edit]

In 1958 the husband and wife team of Art and Dotty Todd were the resident act at the Chapman Park Hotel in Los Angeles. . The duo had charted in the UK in 1953 with "Broken Wings" (#6) but were known in their native United States as veterans of the California lounge circuit; the Todds also sang on their own radio show. Art Todd recalls how Wayne Shanklin gave the duo the song "Chanson D'Amour": "Wayne Shanklin stopped us one day and said, 'I've got a great song for you.'" Shanklin produced a demo of Art and Dotty Todd singing "Chanson D'Amour" which was shopped to Era Records who released the demo track as a single. According to Art Todd: "The airplay was just sensational. This was just at the beginning of rock 'n' roll and the old-time DJs hated rock 'n' roll and they jumped on our song." Art and Dotty Todd's "Chanson D'Amour" was a Top Ten hit and reached #6 in April 1958.[2]

Manhattan Transfer recording[edit]

The Manhattan Transfer remade "Chanson D'Amour" for their 1976 Richard Perry-produced Coming Out album. According to group member Alan Paul, Laurel Massé suggested the remake, and ended up singing lead: "We'd been recording all day and we hadn't gotten that far. Just as we were about to leave [the studio], Laurel shouted, 'Hey wait a minute, I've got an idea.' She used an Edith Piaf sound in her voice [to sing "Chanson D'Amour"] and we recorded it in one take." According to Laurel Massé, however, Janis Siegel sang lead on the recording, and the TV mime-sessions done to promote the song (such as that for Top of the Pops broadcast on 10th March 1977) support Massé's view.

Overlooked in the United States in its single release, the Manhattan Transfer's version of "Chanson D'Amour" became a European hit, breaking out on the charts in France at the start of 1977 to peak there at #8: the track subsequently became a hit in Germany (#20), the Netherlands (#6), Norway (#1 for two weeks) and Switzerland (#6). In the English speaking world, "Chanson D'Amour" afforded the Manhattan Transfer a chart-topping hit in the British Isles reaching #1 in both the UK - for three weeks[1] - and Ireland in March 1977, with hit status also evident in Australia (#9), New Zealand (#14) and South Africa (#14). "Chanson D'Amour" would prove to be the Manhattan Transfer's most widespread international success, despite being largely overlooked in the group's native United States, where the track registered only on Easy Listening chart in Billboard at #16.

Other versions[edit]

The Fontane Sisters recorded a version of "Chanson D'Amour" which charted concurrently with the Art and Dotty Todd version, with the Fontane Sisters version peaking at #12 and affording the group their last major hit (the group would have one more entry in the Billboard Hot 100: "Jealous Heart" at #94). In the UK both the Art and Dotty Todd and Fontane Sisters versions of "Chanson D'Amour" were issued along with domestic covers by Tony Brent and Steve Martin.

Also in 1958, Belgian singer Angèle Durand recorded a version which rendered the English lyrics in Dutch; this "Chanson D'Amour" would become Durand's signature song. Wendy Van Wanten would remake this version in 1998.

In 1959 a Finnish rendering of "Chanson D'Amour" was recorded by the vocal group Jokerit: this version was remade in 1977 - subsequent to the success of the Manhattan Transfer version - by Ami Aspelund and also by Lea Laven, and also by Silhuetit (fi) (album Jos Mulle Sydämesi Annat).

The song had made an interim Easy Listening chart appearance in 1966, when a remake by the Lettermen reached #8.[3]

"Chanson D'Amour" was also sung by The Muppets in episode 28 of "The Muppet Show" . In the song, Crazy Harry, who sung the line "Ra-ta-da-ta-da" proceeded to demolish the entire set.

In 1978 "Chanson D'Amour" was remade by the Nolans for their album 20 Giant Hits, and also by Liz Damon's Orient Express for their album Heaven in My Heart.

The Frank Farian-produced disco group La Mama had a 1981 single release with a remake of "Chanson D'Amour".

The song was remade by In-Grid on her 2004 album La Vie en Rose.

Song in popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 337. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 637. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 144. 
Preceded by
"When I Need You" by Leo Sayer
UK number one single
(The Manhattan Transfer version)

March 12, 1977 for three weeks
Succeeded by
"Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA