Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole song)
Nat King Cole, circa Mona Lisa's release
|Single by Nat King Cole|
|Acadamy Award, Best Original Song, 1950
Mona Lisa is a popular song written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the Paramount Pictures film Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950). The title and lyrics refer to the renaissance portrait painting of Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1950. 
Musical arrangement was handled by Nelson Riddle and the orchestral backing was played by Les Baxter and his Orchestra.  The recording was originally the B-side of "The Greatest Inventor Of Them All." In an American Songwriter magazine interview, Jay Livingston recalled that the original advertisements for the record didn't even mention "Mona Lisa;" only upon returning home from a publicity junket of numerous radio programs did the song become a hit.
The soundtrack version by the late Nat King Cole spent eight weeks at number one in the Billboard singles chart in 1950. Nat KIng Cole's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. 
Cover versions 
Various artists, including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Art Lund, Shakin' Stevens, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the Neville Brothers, and Nat King Cole's daughter Natalie Cole, have released cover versions of this song. Bruddah Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole) also covered the song on the album Alone in IZ World. Harry Connick, Jr. included the song on his 2009 album, Your Songs.
A rockabilly version of "Mona Lisa" (b/w/ "Foolish One") was released by Carl Mann on Phillips International Records (#3539) in March 1959 and reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Conway Twitty recorded a version of "Mona Lisa" in February 1959, but planned to release it only as an album cut (on an EP and an LP by MGM Records). Nevertheless, it peaked at #5 in the UK Singles Chart in that year. Sam Phillips signed Carl Mann to record his version of the song after the Twitty version began getting radio play in early 1959. This was the most successful single in Mann's career. The melody is slightly different, and the lyrics are also mostly the same as in the original version by Nat King Cole, though a few more phrases are added in that elaborate more on the girl he likes.
The singer Don Cherry recorded a version backed by the Victor Young Orchestra which reached number seven in 1952. In 1961, Mona Lisa was covered by Hong Kong female singer Kong Ling (江玲), on her LP album Off-Beat Cha Cha with the local Diamond Records. In 1994, Alexia Vassiliou covered the song "Mona Lisa" in the Live Album from Sony BMG "Horis Revma"
An uncredited version of Mona Lisa plays in the background of one scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954). In 1986, the song was used as the theme to the British film Mona Lisa. The song was used in the wedding scene of the NBC mini-series, Witness to the Mob, in 1998.
Chart performance 
Moon Mullican 
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||4|
Jimmy Wakely 
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||10|
Conway Twitty 
|Australian Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||2|
|Belgian Singles Chart||3|
|UK Singles Chart||5|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||29|
See also 
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Peter J. Levinson, September in the Rain
- "Nat King Cole: Mona Lisa". song back-story. song facts. Retrieved March, 2013.
- Grammy Hall of Fame
- Carl Mann page on Rockabilly Hall of Fame website (www.rockabillyhall.com)