La Vie en rose

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"La Vie en rose"
Edith Piaf looking to the right, the image in a sepia hue.
Single by Édith Piaf
from the album Chansons Parisiennes
B-side"Un refrain courait dans la rue"
GenreTraditional pop
Songwriter(s)Édith Piaf (lyrics)
Louiguy and Marguerite Monnot[1]
Édith Piaf singles chronology
"Les trois cloches"
"La Vie en rose"
"Si tu partais"

"La Vie en rose" (pronounced [la vi ɑ̃ ʁoz]; French for '"Life in pink"') is the signature song of popular French singer Édith Piaf, written in 1945,[2] popularized in 1946, and released as a single in 1947. The song became very popular in the US in 1950 with no fewer than seven different versions reaching the Billboard charts. These were by Tony Martin, Paul Weston, Bing Crosby (recorded June 22, 1950),[3] Ralph Flanagan, Victor Young, Dean Martin, and Louis Armstrong.[4]

A version in 1977 by Grace Jones was also a successful international hit.[5] "La Vie en rose" has been covered by many other artists over the years, including a 1977 version by Bette Midler and a 1993 version by Donna Summer. Harry James also recorded a version in 1950. Bing Crosby recorded the song again for his 1953 album Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris.

Background and release[edit]

The song's title can be translated as "Life in happy hues", "Life seen through happy lenses", or "Life in rosy hues"; its literal meaning is "Life in Pink."[6]

"La Vie en rose" is by Édith Piaf, with music by Louiguy, Piaf being the lyricist, but not the composer, registered with SACEM.[7] It was probably Robert Chauvigny who finalised the music, and when Piaf suggested to Marguerite Monnot that she sing the piece, the latter rejected "that foolishness." It was eventually Louiguy who accepted the authorship of the music. It was broadcast before being recorded. Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who modified the lyrics slightly, changing "les choses" ("things") for "la vie" ("life"). In 1943, Piaf had performed at a nightclub/bordello called "La Vie en Rose."[8] Initially, Piaf's peers and songwriting team did not think the song would be successful, finding it weaker than the rest of her repertoire. Heeding their advice, the singer put the song aside, only to change her mind the next year. It was performed live in concert for the first time in 1946. It became a favorite with audiences.[7] "La Vie en rose" was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics expressing the joy of finding true love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult period of World War II.[9]

"La Vie en rose" was released on a 10" single in 1947 by Columbia Records, a division of EMI, with "Un refrain courait dans la rue" making the B-side. It met with a warm reception and sold a million copies in the US.[10] It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949.[11] Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un cœur. The first of her albums to include "La Vie en rose" was the 10" Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950. It appeared on most of Piaf's subsequent albums, and on numerous greatest hits compilations. It went on to become her signature song and her trademark hit, sitting with "Milord" and "Non, je ne regrette rien" among her best-known and most recognizable tunes. Encouraged by its success, Piaf wrote 80 more songs in her career.[7]

English lyrics were written by Mack David and numerous versions were recorded in the US in 1950. Those that charted were by Tony Martin (reached the No. 9 position in the Billboard charts), Paul Weston (No. 12 position), Bing Crosby (No. 13 position), Edith Piaf (No. 23 position), Ralph Flanagan (No. 27 position) and Victor Young (No. 27 position). Louis Armstrong recorded C'est si bon and La Vie en rose in New York City with Sy Oliver and his Orchestra on June 26, 1950[12] and this reached the No. 28 position in the Billboard charts.[13] Bing Crosby also recorded the song in French in 1953 for his album Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris.

The song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.[14]

Track listings[edit]

  • 10" Single (1947)
  1. "La Vie en rose"
  2. "Un refrain courait dans la rue"

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
France (SNEP)[15] 168
US Billboard Hot 100 23

Grace Jones version[edit]

"La Vie en rose"
Single by Grace Jones
from the album Portfolio
ReleasedOctober 1977
Length7:27 (album version)
3:35 (single version)
Producer(s)Tom Moulton
Grace Jones singles chronology
"La Vie en rose"
"Do or Die"
Music video
"La Vie en rose" on YouTube

Background and release[edit]

Grace Jones covered "La Vie en rose" in 1977 for her debut studio album Portfolio. It was the third and the last single off that album, and at the same time, her first single release on Island Records after having signed with the label.

The single version was heavily edited from its original album version. Jones' fairly radical bossa nova interpretation of Édith Piaf's signature tune became her first international hit single and a staple of her repertoire. It was later performed as part of her 1981 A One Man Show, then the only track from her disco era to be included in the show. In Spain and Mexico the track was billed as "La Vida en rosa" on the 7" single release, although it was not a Spanish version of the song. Jones' recording of "La Vie en rose" was later re-released a number of times in the early 1980s and finally reached #12 in the UK charts when re-released as a double A-side with "Pull Up to the Bumper" in 1985. The single was certified Gold in France and Italy.[16]

Jones said about the song: "That's a very special song to me. Oh God, I cry every time I sing it. I had quite a few French lovers, so every time I sing it I think about them."[17]

It has sold 158,700 copies in France.[18] The music video for the song was made using the chroma key technique. It presents Jones dancing and singing the song with the famous 1978 montage picture of herself in the background, which was later used for the cover of her 1985 Island Life compilation. The video begins with Jones wearing a rose-patterned coat. Having removed it, the singer dances in a scant gold dress which reveals her right nipple as well as black underwear.

The numerous versions of Jones’ La Vie En Rose spawned numerous songs that have sampled parts of this song, namely Beach Walk by Whitewoods, which sampled the live version, without gaining any copyright claims until 2019, when Whitewoods released a video stating that their track got copyright claimed.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
Canada[19] 87
Canada (Dance/Urban)[20] 28
France[21] 3
Netherlands[22] 4
Spain[23] 20


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[24] Gold 25,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.

References in popular culture[edit]


French actress Marion Cotillard played Piaf in the 2007 film La Vie en rose

Two films about Piaf named after the song's title have been produced. The first one, a 1998 documentary, used archive footage and interviews with Raquel Bitton, and was narrated by Bebe Neuwirth.[citation needed] The biographical feature film La Vie en Rose (2007) won Marion Cotillard an Academy Award for Best Actress for portraying Piaf in the film from childhood until her death at 47.[25]

As music in films[edit]

In games[edit]

In literature[edit]

(Alphabetical by author's surname)

In television[edit]

(Alphabetical by show)


  1. ^ "Marguerite Monnot".
  2. ^ "Edith Piaf". Archived from the original on 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Wisconsin, US: Record Research Inc. p. 537. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. ^ "La Vie en rose Grace Jones". Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  6. ^ Coates, Dan. Decade by Decade 1940s: Ten Years of Popular Hits Arranged for EASY PIANO. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-4574-2966-8. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "Piaf". Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  8. ^ No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf Carolyn Burke Chicago Review Press, 01.04.2012
  9. ^ "La Vie En Rose: Edith Piaf's remarkable voice comes back to life". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  10. ^ "60 Years of 'La Vie En Rose'". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  11. ^ "Song artist 444 – Edith Piaf". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  12. ^ "". Archived from the original on November 24, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Wisconsin, US: Record Research inc. p. 537. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  14. ^ "La Vie En Rose". Archived from the original on 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  15. ^ " – Edith Piaf – La Vie en rose" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "Grace Jones in 'Conan The Destroyer'". Baltimore Afro-American. Baltimore. June 23, 1984. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  17. ^ Slave to the Rhythm, track 4: "Operattack". (Island Records, 1985).
  18. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Meilleurs Ventes de Chansons "Tout Temps" (45 T. / Cd Single / Téléchargement)".
  19. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-01-16. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  20. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 2016-01-16. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  21. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Chansons (Auteur, Compositeur, Classements, Ventes, Certifications, Les Tops, Les N° 1...)" (in French). Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  22. ^ " – Discografie Grace Jones" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  23. ^ Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  24. ^ Butler, Susan (29 July 1978). "Golden Grace". Billboard. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress". Retrieved 2012-02-17 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ Sullivan, Jack (2008-10-01). "Marlene Dietrich's Cabaret Cinema: Stage Fright". Hitchcock's Music. Yale University Press. pp. 150–153. Retrieved 2019-08-03. The camera tracks a Boy Scout bringing a blood-stained doll to Charlotte's attention during her performance of Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose".
  27. ^ Kuchman, Bill (January 28, 2014). "'How I Met Your Mother' 'How Your Mother Met Me' Recap: The Mother Breaks Our Hearts". Popculturology.
  28. ^ Bowman, Donna (January 27, 2014). "How Your Mother Met Me". The A.V. Club.
  29. ^ La Vie En Rose, China Central Television. "Daniela Bessia Singing La Vie En Rose for China".

External links[edit]