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|Single by The Lettermen|
|from the album Warm|
|B-side||"She Don't Want Me Now"|
|The Lettermen singles chronology|
|Single by The Manhattan Transfer|
|from the album Coming Out|
|B-side||"Helpless" or "Popsicle Toes"|
"Chanson D'Amour" ("Song of Love") 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, and Australia.
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.
Manhattan Transfer recording
The Manhattan Transfer remade "Chanson D'Amour" for their 1976 Richard Perry-produced Coming Out album. The song came to the groups' producer Richard Perry's attention as a demo on cassette. The group and Richard listened, and immediately decided to record the song. Janis Siegel sang the lead with an Edith Piaf sound, and it was recorded in one take.
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, reaching #1 in March 1977 in both the UK – for three weeks – and Ireland. It was also a hit in Australia (#9), New Zealand (#14) and South Africa (#14). "Chanson D'Amour" proved to be the Manhattan Transfer's most widespread international success, despite being only moderately successful in the group's native United States, where the track registered on Easy Listening chart in Billboard at #16.
- John Barnes – piano
- Steve Paietta – accordion
- Ira Newborn, Ben Benay – guitar
- Andy Muson – bass
- Jim Gordon – drums
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 German; this "Chanson D'Amour" became Durand's signature song. Wendy Van Wanten remade 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).
Sandler and Young remade "Chanson D'Amour" for their 1967 album On the Move.
The song was remade by In-Grid on her 2004 album La Vie en Rose.
Song in popular culture
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 337. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 637.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 144.
- "Chanson D'Amour | The King's Singers". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- "Chanson d'amour by The King's Singers on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2 October 2016.