Love Theme from The Godfather

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"Love Theme from The Godfather"
Love theme from the godfather film version (US single).png
US single for the instrumental film version
Single by Nino Rota (music) and Carlo Savina (conductor)
from the album The Godfather
B-side"The Godfather Waltz (Main Title)"
Composer(s)Nino Rota

"Love Theme from The Godfather" is an instrumental theme from the 1972 film The Godfather, composed by Nino Rota. The piece was lyricized in English by Larry Kusik into "Speak Softly, Love", a popular song released in 1972. The highest-charting rendition of either version was by vocalist Andy Williams, who took "Speak Softly Love" to number 34 on Billboard magazine's Hot 100[1] and number seven on its Easy Listening chart.[2]


Larry Kusik wrote the original, English lyrics, and Nino Rota wrote the music, that was used in Fortunella, a 1958 Italian film directed by Eduardo De Filippo with script by Federico Fellini.[3] Different sets of lyrics for the song were written in French (Parle plus bas), Italian (Parla più piano), Sicilian (Brucia la terra), and Spanish (Amor háblame dulcemente). Dalida sings the French version; the Sicilian version is sung by Anthony Corleone (Franc D'Ambrosio) in The Godfather Part III. It was first heard in America in 1969 on The Merv Griffin Show sung by Angela Bacari in English and Italian.


Rota's score for The Godfather had been nominated for a 1973 Academy Award for Best Original Score. However, it was disqualified from consideration when the academy learned Rota had used a more comedic version of the song for the film Fortunella (1958).[4] Nonetheless, Rota's score for The Godfather Part II won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Score, despite the fact that it contained the same piece.

Chart performance[edit]

The first version of the song to reach any of the charts in Billboard magazine was "Love Theme from The Godfather" by pianist Roger Williams. His instrumental recording debuted in the issue dated 1 April 1972, and "bubbled under" the Hot 100 for five weeks, peaking at number 116,[5] and another piano rendition by Ferrante and Teicher got as high as number 28 Easy Listening during its four-week chart run that began in the 8 April issue.[6] The version that the film's music director, Carlo Savina, and his orchestra recorded for the soundtrack first charted on the Hot 100 in the 22 April issue and made it to number 66 during a nine-week chart run.[7] It also reached number 24 on the Easy Listening chart during its three weeks there that began in the 20 May issue.[8]

Charts (Love Theme)[edit]

Weekly charts for the film version, conducted by Carlo Savina
Chart (1972) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[7] 66
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[8] 24
Weekly charts for the Roger Williams version
Chart (1972) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 116
Weekly charts for the Ferrante and Teicher version
Chart (1972) Peak
US Billboard Easy Listening[6] 28

"Speak Softly Love"[edit]

"Love Theme from The Godfather (Speak Softly, Love)"
Love Theme from The Godfather by Andy Williams US single red label.png
One of side-A labels of the US single
Single by Andy Williams
from the album Love Theme from "The Godfather"
B-side"Home for Thee"
ReleasedApril 1972
Recorded18 February 1972[9]
GenrePop, easy listening, soft rock
Songwriter(s)Larry Kusik, Nino Rota
Producer(s)Dick Glasser
Andy Williams singles chronology
"Music from Across the Way"
"Love Theme from The Godfather (Speak Softly, Love)"
"MacArthur Park"
"Speak Softly Love" by Andy Williams on YouTube

The Andy Williams version of "Speak Softly Love" also made its first appearance in the 8 April issue and reached number 34 on the Hot 100 during its 11 weeks there[1] and number seven Easy Listening over the course of 12 weeks.[2] A recording of the song by Al Martino debuted on both of those charts in the 29 April issue and peaked at number 80 during its four weeks on the Hot 100[10] and number 24 on the Easy Listening chart, where it also spent four weeks.[11]

In the UK Williams began a run of nine weeks on 5 August of that year that led to a number 42 showing.[12] In Spain, his version was a number-one hit, staying at the top of the charts for 15 weeks.[13]

Charts (Speak Softly Love)[edit]

Weekly charts for the Andy Williams version
Chart (1972) Peak
Spain (AFYVE)[13] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] 34
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[2] 7
UK Singles Chart[12] 42
Weekly charts for the Al Martino version
Chart (1972) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[10] 80
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[11] 24


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Whitburn 2009, p. 1060.
  2. ^ a b c Whitburn 2007, p. 295.
  3. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (14 March 2012). "The Score Was Honored (And then Rejected) by the Oscars | the Anniversary You Can't Refuse: 40 Things You Didn't Know About the Godfather". Time.
  4. ^ Kris Tapley (21 January 2008). "Jonny Greenwood's 'Blood' score disqualified by AMPAS". Variety. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2010.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ a b Whitburn 2009, p. 1064.
  6. ^ a b Whitburn 2007, p. 95.
  7. ^ a b Whitburn 2009, p. 859.
  8. ^ a b Whitburn 2007, p. 242.
  9. ^ (2002) Album notes for Love Theme From 'The Godfather'/The Way We Were by Andy Williams, [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music.
  10. ^ a b Whitburn 2009, p. 623.
  11. ^ a b Whitburn 2007, p. 177.
  12. ^ a b "Andy Williams". Official Charts. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  13. ^ a b Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  14. ^ "Classified - James Booker | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2019.


  • Whitburn, Joel (2007), Joel Whitburn Presents Billboard Top Adult Songs, 1961-2006, Record Research Inc., ISBN 978-0898201697
  • Whitburn, Joel (2009), Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 1955-2008, Record Research Inc., ISBN 978-0898201802

External links[edit]