La Vie en rose

For other uses, see La Vie en rose (disambiguation).
"La Vie en rose"
Single by Édith Piaf
from the album Chansons Parisiennes
B-side "Un refrain courait dans la rue"
Released 1947
Format 10"
Genre Traditional pop
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Édith Piaf (lyrics)
Louiguy and Marguerite Monnot[1] (melody)
Édith Piaf singles chronology
"Les trois cloches"
"La Vie en rose"
"Si tu partais"
Columbia Records poster of Piaf; "La Vie en rose" appeared on nearly all Piaf's records

"La Vie en rose" (French pronunciation: [la vi ɑ̃ ʁoz]) was 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 USA in 1950 with no less than seven different versions reaching the Billboard charts. A cover version in 1977 by Jamaican singer Grace Jones was also a successful international hit. "La Vie en rose" has been covered by several artists over the years, including a 1950 version by Louis Armstrong and a 1993 version by American singer Donna Summer. Harry James recorded a version in 1950 on Columbia 38768.

Édith Piaf version

Background and release

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

The lyrics and melody of the song were written by Édith Piaf herself, but the melody was said officially to have been composed and registered by Louiguy only, since at the time, due to the stringent registration requirements of SACEM, Piaf did not have the necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM.[4] Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who slightly modified the lyrics, changing "les choses" ("things") for "la vie" ("life"). In 1943, Piaf had performed at a nightclub/bordello called "La Vie en Rose".[5] 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. 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 the joy of finding true love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult wartime.[6]

"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.[7] It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949.[8] Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of her 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. 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.[4]

English lyrics were written by Mack David and numerous versions were recorded in the USA 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[9] and this reached the No. 28 position in the Billboard charts.[10] 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.[11]

Track listings

A. "La Vie en rose"
B. "Un refrain courait dans la rue"

Chart performance

Chart Peak
United States 23
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

As music in other media

Other mentions

Madonna singing "La Vie en rose" during her Rebel Heart Tour in 2015

Grace Jones version

"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 Piaf, Louiguy, Mack David
Producer(s) Tom Moulton
Grace Jones singles chronology
"La Vie en rose"
"Do or Die"

Background and release

Jamaican singer 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 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. The single was certified Gold in France and Italy.[15]

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."[16]

Music video

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

  • 7" single (1977)
A. "La Vie en rose" – 3:35
B. "I Need a Man" – 3:22
  • 7" Italian single (1977)
A. "La Vie en rose" – 3:35
B. "Tomorrow" – 5:48
  • 7" promotional single (1977)
A. "La Vie en rose" – 3:35
B. "La Vie en rose" – 3:35
  • 12" Mexican single (1984)
A. "La Vida en rosa" ("La Vie en rose") – 7:27
B. "Manden a los payasos" ("Send in the Clowns") – 7:33

Chart performance

Chart Peak
Canada[17] 87
Canada (Dance/Urban)[18] 28
France[19] 2
Italy[20] 3
Netherlands[21] 4
Spain[22] 20

Donna Summer version

"La Vie en rose"
Single by Donna Summer
from the album Tribute to Edith Piaf
Released 1993
Format 12", CD
Recorded 1993
Genre R&B
Length 4:58
Label AB Disques
Writer(s) Édith Piaf, Louigny, Mack David
Producer(s) Jacques Arnoul
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Carry On"
"La Vie en rose"
"Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)"

Background and release

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. The U.S. single features a variety of remixes by DJ Chris Cox.

Track listings

  • 12" Single
A. "La Vie en rose" – 4:58
B. "La Vie en rose" – 4:58
  • 12" Maxi-Single
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
A. "La Vie en rose" (Remodelled Mix)
B1. "La Vie en rose" (Radio Mix)
B2. "La Vie en rose" (12" Mix)
  • CD Single
  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


  1. "Marguerite Monnot". Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  2. "Edith Piaf". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  3. 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.
  4. 1 2 3 "Piaf". Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  5. No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf Carolyn Burke Chicago Review Press, 01.04.2012
  6. "La Vie En Rose: Edith Piaf's remarkable voice comes back to life". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  7. "60 Years of "La Vie En Rose"". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  8. 1 2 "Song artist 444 – Edith Piaf". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  9. "". Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  10. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research inc. p. 537. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  11. "La Vie En Rose". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  12. "Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress". Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  13. Kuchman, Bill (January 28, 2014). "'How I Met Your Mother' 'How Your Mother Met Me' Recap: The Mother Breaks Our Hearts". Popculturology.
  14. Bowman, Donna (January 27, 2014). "How Your Mother Met Me". The A.V. Club.
  15. "Grace Jones in "Conan The Destroyer"". Baltimore Afro-American. Baltimore. June 23, 1984. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  16. Slave to the Rhythm, track 4: "Operattack". (Island Records, 1985).
  17. "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  18. "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  19. "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste" (in French). Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  20. "Top Settimanali Single" (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  21. " – Discografie Grace Jones" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  22. Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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