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For other uses, see Perfidia (disambiguation).

"Perfidia" (Spanish for "perfidy", as in faithlessness, treachery or betrayal) is a song written by Alberto Domínguez (1911–1975), a Mexican composer and arranger born in the state of Chiapas, about love and betrayal. Aside from the original Spanish, other renditions exist, including English and instrumental versions. The English lyrics are by Milton Leeds. The song was published in 1939 and became a hit for Xavier Cugat in 1940. Desi Arnaz sings the Spanish version in the 1941 film Father takes a Wife which starred Gloria Swanson. This version was used by director Wong Kar-wai in his films Days of Being Wild, In the Mood for Love, and 2046.

"Perfidia" has been recorded by many artists, including Xavier Cugat, Hugo Montenegro, Julie London, the Four Aces, Charlie Parker, Laurel Aitken, Bud Roman and the Toppers, Mel Tormé, Olavi Virta, Café Tacuba, Glenn Miller, Nana Mouskouri, King Tubby, Phyllis Dillon, James Last, the Ventures, the Shadows with and without Cliff Richard, Trini Lopez, Linda Ronstadt (in Spanish and English), Nat King Cole, Sara Montiel, Los Tres Caballeros and Javier Solís (in Spanish), Los Panchos, Lawrence Welk, Luis Miguel, Issac Delgado, mandolinist Dave Apollon, Olivia Molina, Perez Prado, Freddy Fender, Ibrahim Ferrer, Los Rabanes, Andrea Bocelli, Alfredo Sadel, Ray Conniff, Duke Pachanga, Frank Galan, John Altman, Ben E. King, Café Tacvba, Chico Che, Wilbert Alonzo Cabrera, and many others.

An English arrangement of "Perfidia" was also the founding song of the Princeton Nassoons, Princeton University's oldest a cappella group.

In popular culture[edit]

  • 'Perfidia' is the title to a chapter of Nora Johnson's 1986 novel Tender Offer. The song highlights the theme of the story's zenith and the actual song is described being played during a crucial scene.[1]
  • 'Perfidia' is the title of a section of Peter Nichols's 2015 novel The Rocks. Several references are made to the song.
  • Perfidia is the title of the 1997 novel by Judith Rossner. The lyrics are quoted several times.
  • Perfidia is the name of a James Ellroy novel (2014).
  • Perfidia is a song in the Off-Broadway musical Forever Plaid (1990).
  • The song has also been used as the opening theme to the television show George and Martha.
  • Perfidia was also included on the Dexter soundtrack.
  • Linda Ronstadt's version of the song in English with a Spanish introduction was used in the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings. Ronstadt also recorded the song in Spanish for her 1992 album Frenesí. At the 9th Lo Nuestro Awards, her version received a nomination for Tropical Song of the Year.[2]
  • In Casablanca, Perfidia plays while the characters Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund are ballroom dancing during the famed "flashback to Paris" sequence.

Perfidia is also used in the Netflix show Sense8.

  • In Miguel Gomes' 2015 film Arabian Nights various versions of the song are used over the opening credits of each of the film's three volumes, including those by Phyllis Dillon, Nat King Cole and Glenn Miller, as well as another by one of the film's performers Crista Alfaiate.


  1. ^ Johnson, Nora (1985). Tender Offer. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 176–200. ISBN 0-671-55666-5. 
  2. ^ Lannert, John (March 30, 1993). "Secada Lead Latin Noms Following Grammy Win". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 105 (10): 10. Retrieved January 3, 2013.