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"La Vie en rose" (French pronunciation: ​[la vi ɑ̃ ʁoz]) was the signature song of French singer Édith Piaf, written in 1945,[2] popularized in 1946, and released as a single in 1947.

Song history[edit]Edit

The song's title can be translated as "Life in Rosy Hues" or "Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses"; its literal meaning is "Life in Pink".[3]

The lyrics of the song were written by Édith Piaf herself, and the melody was composed by Marguerite Monnot[1] and Louis Guglielmi, known as Louiguy. Originally, the song was registered as being written by Louiguy only, since at the time Piaf did not have necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM.[4] Words "Quand il me prend dans ses bras..." ("When he takes me in his arms...") came to her mind one evening in 1944, when she was standing in front of an American man.[5] That gave the base for the rest of lyrics. Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who slightly modified the lyrics, changing "les choses" ("things") for "la vie" ("life"). English lyrics for the song were later written by Mack David.[6]

Initially, Piaf's peers and songwriting team did not think the song would be successful, finding it weaker than the rest of her repertoire. Having listened to their advice, the singer put the song aside, only to change her mind the next year. The song was performed live in concert for the first time in 1946. It became a favorite with audiences.[4] "La Vie en rose" was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics telling about retaken love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult wartime.[7]

"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 USA.[8] It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949.[9] Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of Piaf's albums to include "La Vie en rose" was the 10" Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950. The song appeared on most of Piaf's subsequent albums, and on numerous greatest hits compilations. The song went on to become Piaf's 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.[4]

The song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.[10]

Track listing[edit]Edit

  • 10" Single[11]
A. "La Vie en rose"
B. "Un refrain courait dans la rue"

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart Peak


United States 23

References in popular culture[edit]Edit

[1][2]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. The 2007 biographical feature film La Vie en rose won Marion Cotillard an Academy Award for Best Actress for portraying Piaf in the film from childhood until her death at 47.[12]

As music in films[edit]Edit

As music in other media[edit]Edit

  • "La Vie en rose" appeared in the television show I Love Lucy in the episode entitled "Hollywood Anniversary", right before Desi Arnaz sang the song "The Anniversary Waltz". The episode was filmed and aired in 1955.
  • Barbara Feldon sang "La Vie en rose" in a 1966 episode of Get Smart entitled "Casablanca".
  • The song appeared in the television show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, in the episode entitled "Pheromone, My Lovely" (1993).
  • "La Vie en rose" appeared in an episode of Relic Hunter entitled "Memories of Montmarte".
  • In "Cold Stones", the 76th episode of The SopranosRosalie Aprile hums a throaty version of the song to comfort Carmela Soprano. The episode was aired in May 2006.
  • In the 2006 Egyptian film The Yacoubian Building, chanteuse Christine (Youssra) includes "La Vie en rose" in her repertoire, singing it on at least one occasion for Zaki el Dessouki (Adel Imam).
  • In the 1954 movie 'Sabrina' this song is mentioned and played many times throughout the movie. Actress Audrey Hepburn even sang part of this song.
  • Steampunk chanteuse Veronique Chevalier does a parody version - which turns out to be about a battle with slugs.
  • In the 2003 romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give, the song is played several times during scenes of Paris, and actor Jack Nicholson (Harry Sanborn) sings it during the closing credit roll.
  • In the first season of The Voice (Australia)Rachael Leahcar performed "La Vie en rose" as her blind audition, receiving a standing ovation from the in-studio audience and the four celebrity coaches.

Other mentions[edit]Edit

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Grace Jones version[edit]Edit

"La Vie en rose"
Single by Grace Jones
from the album Portfolio
B-side "I Need a Man", "Tomorrow", "Send in the Clowns"
Released October 1977
Format 7"12"
Genre Disco
Length 7:27 (full album version)

3:35 (single edit)

Label Island
Writer(s) Édith PiafLouignyMack David
Producer Tom Moulton
Grace Jones singles chronology


"La Vie en rose"


"Do or Die"


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

The single version was heavily edited from its original album version being more than seven minutes long to a 3,5-minute track. Jones' fairly radical bossa nova/disco 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.

Grace Jones 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."[14]

Music video[edit]Edit

The music video for the song was made using the chroma key technique. It presents Grace 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 Grace 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.

Track listings[edit]Edit

A. "La Vie en rose" - 3:35
B. "I Need a Man" - 3:22
  • 7" Italian Single (1977)[17]
A. "La Vie en rose" - 3:35
B. "Tomorrow" - 5:48
  • 7" Promotional Single (1977)[18]
A. "La Vie en rose" - 3:35
B. "La Vie en rose" - 3:35
  • 12" Mexican Single (1984)[19]
A. "La Vida en rosa" ("La Vie en rose") - 7:27
B. "Manden a los payasos" ("Send in the Clowns") - 7:33

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart Peak


Canada[20] 87
Canada (Dance/Urban)[21] 28
France[22] 2
Italy[23] 3
Netherlands[24] 4

Donna Summer version[edit]Edit

"La Vie en rose"
Single by Donna Summer
from the album Tribute to Edith Piaf
Released 1993
Format 12", CD
Recorded 1993
Genre Pop
Length 4:58
Label AB Disques
Writer(s) Édith PiafLouignyMack David
Producer Jacques Arnoul
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Carry On"


"La Vie en rose"


"Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)"


American singer Donna Summer covered "La Vie en rose" in 1993 for the tribute album called Tribute to Edith Piaf or Edith Piaf Tribute, on which several contemporary stars recorded interpretations of some of Piaf's best known songs. Released on both vinyl and CD, the American release of the album and single contain a different mix of Summer's synth-driven performance than the French release. These releases are among the most sought after of Summer's collectables.[citation needed] The U.S. single features a variety of remixes by DJ Chris Cox.

Track listings[edit]Edit

  • 12" Single[25]
A. "La Vie en rose" - 4:58
B. "La Vie en rose" - 4:58
  • 12" Maxi-Single[26]
A1. "La Vie en rose" (Techno Mix) - 7:36
A2. "La Vie en rose" (US Radio Mix) - 3:43
B1. "La Vie en rose" (Extended Soul Mix) - 7:40
B2. "La Vie en rose" (Full Bass Mix) - 4:25
  • 12" Promotional Single[27]
A. "La Vie en rose" (Remodelled Mix)
B1. "La Vie en rose" (Radio Mix)
B2. "La Vie en rose" (12" Mix)
  1. "La Vie en rose" (US Radio Mix) - 3:43
  2. "La Vie en rose" (Full Bass Mix) - 4:25
  3. "La Vie en rose" (Extended Soul Mix) - 7:40
  4. "La Vie en rose" (Stringapella Mix) - 5:43

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