Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
|"Que Sera, Sera"|
|Single by Doris Day|
|English title||"Whatever Will Be, Will Be"|
|Genre||Popular music, schlager|
"Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the songwriting team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day and James Stewart in the lead roles.
Day's recording of the song for Columbia Records (catalog number 40704) made it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the UK Singles Chart. From 1968 to 1973, it was the theme song for the sitcom The Doris Day Show, becoming her signature song. The three verses of the song progress through the life of the narrator—from childhood, through young adulthood and falling in love, to parenthood—and each asks "What will I be?" or "What lies ahead?" The chorus repeats the answer: "What will be, will be." It reached the Billboard magazine charts in July 1956. The song in The Man Who Knew Too Much received the 1956 Academy Award for Best Original Song with the alternative title "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)". It was the third Oscar in this category for Livingston and Evans, who previously won in 1948 and 1950. In 2004 it finished at #48 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.
Language in title and lyrics
The popularity of the song has led to curiosity about the origins of the saying and the identity of its language. Both the Spanish-like spelling used by Livingston and Evans and an Italian-like form ("che sarà sarà") are first documented in the 16th century as an English heraldic motto. The "Spanish" form appears on a brass plaque in the Church of St. Nicholas, Thames Ditton, Surrey, dated 1559. The "Italian" form was first adopted as a family motto by either John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, or his son, Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford. It is said by some sources to have been adopted by the elder Russell after his experience at the Battle of Pavia (1525), and to be engraved on his tomb (1555 N.S.). The 2nd Earl's adoption of the motto is commemorated in a manuscript dated 1582. Their successors—Earls and, later, Dukes of Bedford ("Sixth Creation"), as well as other aristocratic families—continued to use the motto. Soon after its adoption as a heraldic motto, it appeared in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus (written ca. 1590; published 1604), whose text (Act 1, Scene 1) contains a line with the archaic Italian spelling "Che sera, sera / What will be, shall be". Early in the 17th century the saying begins to appear in the speech and thoughts of fictional characters as a spontaneous expression of a fatalistic attitude.
The saying is always in an English-speaking context, and has no history in Spain, Italy, or France, and in fact is ungrammatical in all three Romance languages. It is composed of Spanish or Italian words superimposed on English syntax. It was evidently formed by a word-for-word mistranslation of English "What will be will be", merging the free relative pronoun what (= "that which") with the interrogative what?
Livingston and Evans had some knowledge of Spanish, and early in their career they worked together as musicians on cruise ships to the Caribbean and South America. Composer Jay Livingston had seen the 1954 Hollywood film The Barefoot Contessa, in which a fictional Italian family has the motto "Che sarà sarà" carved in stone at their ancestral mansion. He immediately wrote it down as a possible song title, and he and lyricist Ray Evans later gave it a Spanish spelling "because there are so many Spanish-speaking people in the world".
In modern times, thanks to the popularity of the song and its many translations, the phrase has been adopted in countries around the world to name a variety of entities, including books, movies, restaurants, vacation rentals, airplanes, and race horses.
Other uses of the song and phrase
In 1956 Que Sera, Sera was the name given to a US Navy C-47 Skytrain which, on October 31, 1956, was the first aircraft to land on the South Pole (Operation Deep Freeze II), commanded by Rear Admiral George Dufek.
In the 1989 movie Heathers, it is played during the opening and closing credits. The opening title scene features Syd Straw singing the song; Sly and The Family Stone's 1973 cover is used for the end credits.
In 1994, the song was used in the Simpsons episode "Bart's Comet". It is sung by several characters as they wait for a comet to destroy Springfield, only to have it burn up and be no bigger than a Chihuahua's head. It is also featured in the 2005 episode "There's Something About Marrying".
In 2005, the song was adopted by fans of the Australian football team after the team qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals, changing the lyrics as such: "Que sera sera, Whatever will be will be, We're going to Germany".
The song is regularly sung at English football matches when a team is progressing to the next round of a competition that will ultimately lead them to Wembley Stadium. The chorus's second line is changed to "Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be, we're going to Wembley, Que Sera, Sera".
The 2009 Said the Whale song "Goodnight Moon" directly references the song's second verse, with the lyrics "Oh que sera sera / Whatever will be will be / The future belongs to me / And I belong to you".
It appears in the 2009 indie film Mary and Max.
The 2017 Season 5 finale of the TV show Bates Motel, "The Cord", features the song prominently.
|"Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)"|
|Single by Normie Rowe and the Playboys|
|B-side||"Shakin' All Over"|
|Format||45 rpm record|
|Normie Rowe and the Playboys singles chronology|
Australian pop singer Normie Rowe's 1965 recording of "Que Sera, Sera", which was produced by Pat Aulton on the Sunshine Record label (Sunshine QK 1103), was the biggest hit of his career, "the biggest Australian rock 'n roll hit of 1965", and is reputed to be the biggest-selling Australian single of the 1960s. The song was "done in the style of "Louie, Louie" and the manner of "Hang On Sloopy", and given a "Merseybeat" treatment (in the manner of The Beatles' "Twist & Shout"), and was backed by Rowe's band The Playboys. It was paired with a powerful version of the Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' classic "Shakin' All Over", and the single became a double-sided No. 1 hit in most capitals (#1 Sydney, #1 Melbourne, #1 Brisbane, #1 Adelaide, and Perth). in September 1965, charting for 28 weeks and selling in unprecedented numbers, with Rock historian Ian McFarlane reporting sales of 80,000 copies, while 1970s encyclopedist Noel McGrath claimed sales of 100,000. Rowe scored another first in October 1965 when "Que Sera Sera" became his third hit single in the Melbourne Top 40 simultaneously. In 1965 Rowe received a gold record for "Que Sera, Sera" at Sydney's prestigious Chevron Hotel. In December 1965 the master of Rowe's version was purchased by Jay-Gee Records for release in the USA. In April 1966 Rowe received a second gold record for the sales of "Que Sera, Sera". In August 1966 Rowe won Radio 5KA's annual best male vocal award for "Que Sera, Sera". In 2006 Rowe released a newly recorded version, which was released by ABC via iTunes, and later adding "the whole digital mix with a radio mix and a dance mix".
Other versions of "Que Sera, Sera" include:
- Connie Francis (USA 1962)
- The High Keys (Atco 6268; USA June 1963) USA #48 (September 1963)
- Los Moonlights (RCA; Mexico 1964)
- Earl Royce & The Olympics (Columbia; UK 1964; Tower 137; USA 1965)
- P.J. Proby as "Whatever Will Be" (Liberty LRP-3406/LST-7406; UK 1964)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks (Liberty; USA 1965, 1969)
- The Lords (Columbia; West Germany 1965)
- Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band (Piccadilly 7N 35346) b/w "All I Need", (UK #43, April 1966; #43 October 1966)
- The Shirelles (Scepter 12150; USA 1966)
- Mary Hopkin produced by Paul McCartney (Apple 1823; USA June 1970) Reached #77 on the Billboard Hot 100, but #7 on their Adult Contemporary chart.
- Sly and the Family Stone (Columbia Epic KE 32134; USA June 1973)
- The Raes (reached #15 in Canada July 1977)
- Natalie Cole (Capitol SKBL-11709; USA 1978)
- Shakin' Stevens took the track to #2 in the UK singles charts as part of an extended play release in 1982.
- Johnny Thunders (Jungle Records, on the album Que Sera Sera; UK 1985)
- K Foundation Presents the Red Army Choir as 'K Cera Cera' (NMC Music; Israel & Palestine 1993)
- Holly Cole, "Don't Smoke in Bed" (1993; Manhattan imprint of Capitol Records)
- Pink Martini (Heinz Records; USA 1997)
- Andrew Liles (Infraction INFX 006; USA 2003)
- Wax Tailor (Lab'Oratoire Le Plan; France 2004)
- Melinda Schneider, Australian singer, for her Doris Day tribute album, Melinda Does Doris
- Corinne Bailey Rae, performed an extended live version on her Grammy Award winning The Love EP (Capitol 2011)
- Miley Cyrus covered a version of the song called Que Sera, as the character Hannah Montana, for the soundtrack for the final season of the show.
- A Dutch version by Jo Leemans recorded in 1956, which hit the Belgian charts in December 1956.
- A Polish version (text by Ryszard Kiersnowski) sung by Renata Bogdanska with Dance Orchestra of Ryszard Frank was recorded in 1957 (78 rpm: Polonia (London) Cat. 210 Op. 294; LP: Melodia (Chicago) LPM 1028); published both under the original title and under the Polish title Co ma być, to będzie.
- A Yiddish version (Barclay 86034) was recorded in 1958 by comedian Dave Cash with Didier Boland and his orchestra.
- A Mandarin version sung by Bai Guang(Chinese:白光) with the Chinese title 世事多變化, which literally means "Things of the world are fickle", was recorded in 1965. Teresa Teng (鄧麗君) has cover this song.
- A Mandarin version sung by Grace Chang(Chinese:葛蘭 or 葛兰) with the Chinese title 將來是個謎 / 将来是个谜, which literally means "The future is a riddle", was recorded in 1965.
- A Cantonese version sung by Hong Kong singer Stephanie Cheng (鄭融) with the title "Whatever Will Be", which is a remake of the original song.
- A Hindi version with a different tune was sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Shankar Mahadevan.
- A Tamil version with a different tune was sung by AM. Rajah and Jikki called Chinna Pennana Pothilley in 1957 for a Tamil movie Arrivali.
- A Japanese version in the 1999 anime film My Neighbors the Yamadas.
- A French version performed by French singer and actress Line Renaud on "100 Classic French Songs" CD.
- A French version performed by French singer and actress Dorothée on two TV shows in 1987 and 1991.
- A German version "Was kann schöner sein" performed originally by Swiss singer Lys Assia, later sung also by Greek artist Nana Mouskouri.
- A Latvian version "Mīļais nesteidzies", which literally means "Darling, don't rush"
- An Estonian version "Ei me ette tea" (lyrics translated by Heldur Karmo), which literally means "We don't know, what's coming", performed originally by Estonian singer Heli Lääts (available on several CD-s), later covered also by Marju Länik, Parvepoisid and other Estonian artists.
- A Hungarian version sung by Zsuzsa Koncz with the Hungarian title "Ahogy lesz, úgy lesz", lyrics written by János Bródy.
- Two Icelandic versions, one sung by Ingibjörg Smith, the other by Elva Ósk Óskarsdóttir. Both bear the title "Oft spurði ég mömmu", taken from the first line of the song. It translates to "Often I asked my mum".
- A Telugu version sung by actress/singer P. Bhanumati in the 1965 Telugu movie "Todu-Needa".
- A Spanish version sung by actress/singer Lolita Torres recorded in 1965.
- Violinist Vov Dylan recorded this as part of his album "World Lullabies" which is a fundraiser for "Starlight Foundation"
- Front cover of Livingston & Evans sheet music.
- Roberts (2006:135)
- Leigh (2001)
- Whitburn (1987)
- The Italian-like and Spanish-like forms are preceded in history by a unique, French-like form, spelled "quy serra serra", which appears as a marginal gloss to—and contemporary with—a poem written shortly after the 1471 Battle of Barnet. Rare instances of the French-like spelling "qui sera sera" continue to appear up to the present (Hartman 2013: 67-68).
- Hartman (2013:69)
- Foster (1884:69)
- Einstein (1902:98)
- Hartman (2013:70–71)
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- Hartman (2013:51-52)
- Hartman (2013:56-59)
- "Anecdotes" (n.d.)
- Pomerance (2001)
- Pomerance says "Written one night after they saw The Barefoot Contessa, in which [the character played by] Rossano Brazzi says near the end, 'Che sera sera' [sic]. Livingston jotted down the words in the dark and they 'knocked off the song' afterwards. Two weeks later the call from Hitchcock came through. [Conversation with Livingston, September 18, 1995.]"
- Hartman (2013:79–80)
- "Aviation History Facts". US Centennial of Flight..
- Gunston (2001:98)
- Curly B (8 February 2014). "Que Sera Sera". YouTube. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- "The early morning sun shines on Uruguay's true-blue Aussie fans - Football". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- YouTube, Google.
- Amidi, Amid (13 October 2015). "'Now I Hate to Draw Cars:' An Interview with 'Carface' Director Claude Cloutier". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Eder, Bruce, Normie Rowe, VH1.
- O'Donnell, Creswell & Madieson (2010:228)
- Feature Item, AU: Pop archives.
- Normie Rowe & the playboys: Que Sera Sera, AU: Pop archives.
- McFarlane (1999)
- McGrath (1978)
- Griffen-Foley (2010:266)
- "Jay-Gee Acquires" (1965)
- Hilder (1966:266)
- "Thorpe Gets Aussie Award" (1966)
- Cashmere, Paul (16 November 2006), Normie Rowe Records New Don Walker Song, Undercover, retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Que Sera, Sera : The High Keys", Billboard, p. 38, 29 June 1963.
- "Que Sera, Sera : The High Keys", Billboard, Hot 100, p. 20, 14 September 1963.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Los Moonlights", Billboard, p. 30, 9 May 1964.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Earl Royce", Billboard, p. 59, 15 May 1965.
- "Que Sera, Sera : P.J. Proby", Billboard, p. 35, 30 January 1965.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Geno Washington", Billboard, p. 54, 2 April 1966.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Geno Washington", Billboard, p. 42, 29 October 1966.
- "Que Sera, Sera : The Shirelles", Billboard, p. 16, 11 June 1966.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Mary Hopkin", Billboard, pp. 62, 71, 27 June 1970.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Sly and the Family Stone", Billboard, p. 76, 23 June 1973.
- "Que Sera, Sera : Natalie Cole", Billboard, p. 69, 8 July 1978.
- "Jo Leemans - Het Belgisch Pop & Rock Archief". Houbi.com. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- "Que Sera, Sera :Dave Cash", Lumière et Vie (36–40): 136, 1958.
- Cash, David ‘Dave’; Boland, Didier, Que sera, sera (in Yiddish), You tube.
- Video on YouTube
- "World Lullabies". Sanity. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
- "Anecdotes: Ray Evans (1915–2007)", Art Daily (online), n.d.
- Einstein, Lewis (1902), The Italian Renaissance in England, New York: Burt Franklin
- Foster, J. J. (1884), "The Founder of the Russell Family", The Antiquary, 10: 69–71
- Griffen-Foley, Bridget (2010), Changing Stations: The Story of Australian Commercial Radio, Sydney: UNSW Press
- Gunston, Bill, ed. (2001), Aviation Year by Year, London: Dorling Kindersley
- Hartman, Lee (2013), "Que Sera Sera: The English Roots of a Pseudo-Spanish Proverb" (PDF), Proverbium, 30: 51–104
- Hilder, George (9 April 1966), "Sydney", Billboard: 52
- "Hot 100", Billboard: 20, 14 September 1963
- "Jay-Gee Acquires", Billboard: 4, 11 December 1965
- Leigh, Spencer (19 October 2001), "Obituary: Jay Livingston", The Independent
- McFarlane, Ian (1999), Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop, Sydney: Allen & Unwin
- McGrath, Noel (1978), Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Coolah, NSW: Outback Press
- O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (2010), The 100 Best Australian Albums, Richmond, Victoria (Australia): Hardie Grant
- Pomerance, Murray (2001), "The Future's Not Ours To See: Song, Singer, Labyrinth in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much", in Wojcik, Pamela Robertson; Knight, Arthur, Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, pp. 53–73
- Roberts, David (2006), British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.), London: Guinness World Records, ISBN 1-904994-10-5
- "Thorpe Gets Aussie Award", Billboard: 66, 13 August 1966
- Whitburn, Joel (1987), The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (3rd ed.), New York: Billboard Publications, ISBN 0-8230-7520-6