Por una Cabeza
Composition and lyrics
The name is a Spanish horse-racing phrase meaning "by a head", which refers to a horse winning a race by the length of one head. The lyrics speak of a compulsive horse-track gambler who compares his addiction for horses with his attraction to women.
Alfredo Le Pera was an Argentine, born in Brazil, son of immigrant italians. Le Pera and Gardel died in an airplane crash in Medellín, (Colombia), on June 24, 1935.
Uses in popular culture
The tango has since been performed by numerous tango orchestras.
Tango scenes with "Por una Cabeza" appear in some of the following films or the song is mentioned.
- Scent of a Woman (1992) – The tango is performed by the "The Tango Project", consisting of William Schimmel (accordion), Michael Sahl (piano) and Stan Kurtis (violin), who actually appear in the dancing scene starring Al Pacino (the recording used is available on one of their CD albums).
- Schindler's List (1993) – It plays well to the subtext of the film's protagonist's "addiction" to women
- True Lies (1994)
- Frida (Salma Hayek, 2002) – Gardel is heard singing it on a radio
- Bad Santa (Uncut Version, 2003)
- All the King's Men (2006)
- Easy Virtue (2008 film) Colin Firth and Jessica Biel dancing a sensuous tango
- Planet 51 (2009)
- Episode 37 of Nip/Tuck (2003–2010)
- Medium (TV series) Season5 Episode18
- The CSI: NY episode "Down the Rabbit Hole" (2007)
- The wedding dance of April Scott and Dexter Walker in Home and Away (2014)
- David Del Tredici's "Good News! Nilda is Back" (from the song cycle Miz Inez Sez) – quoted
- John Williams arranged a version of the piece that appears on the album "Cinema Serenade" with the violin solo performed by Itzhak Perlman
- Perlman and Williams (conducting) have performed the piece together in live concerts
- In 2012 a dance version was released by the group "Da Carrera" featuring the original vocal recording by Carlos Gardel
|Wikisource has sheet music and full lyrics in Spanish and English:|
- "Por una Cabeza". Todo Tango. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- YouTube, Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera - « Por una Cabeza » (in A major)
- Wikisource, Scores of « Por una Cabeza » (in A major)
- YouTube, Miguel Gragera - « Por Una Cabeza » (in A major)
- YouTube, Carlos Gardel - « Por una cabeza » with score (in G major)
- YouTube, « Por Una Cabeza » in True Lies (in G major)