In keeping with the Valentine (February is the month of LOVE) theme; my selection for this BATTLE OF THE BANDS XIV is ‘Life in Pink’ (the literal translation) or ‘Life through Rose Colored Glasses’ (the general translation) of ‘La Vie En Rose’.
Before we get too far along here’s another little tidbit of FAE trivia (remember there might be a test at any time) I can understand, read and speak French. Unfortunately, you have to be pretty good to understand me. That little cow town in the Midwest where I was born and grew up, has left an indelible mark on my accent that makes it difficult to make those very French sounds. I think I sound great, but the snobs are constantly correcting me.
Also, I used to own a pair of rose colored glasses (true story), but that is a tale for another time, like NEVER. Anyway…let’s get back to BOTB, shall we?
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “La Vie En Rose’:
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".
The lyrics of the song were written by Édith Piaf herself, and the melody was composed by Marguerite Monnot 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. 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. 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.
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. "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.
"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. It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949. 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.
The song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
So, let’s hear from Edith first.
Unfortunately, Edith’s life was a real train wreck, IMO. If you want to learn more about it, google her and see for yourself. I’m not too interested in getting into it here.
Next up something really different. Grace Jones and her version of “La Vie En Rose’. I’m gonna tell you, I didn’t really know Grace Jones as a singer. As a matter of fact all I knew about her came from her performance in a ‘Conan’ movie I was once forced to sit through, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. IMO, Grace was pretty scary in that film. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about her career;
Beverly Grace Jones  (born 19 May 1948) is a Jamaican singer, actress and model.
She was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica and raised by her grandparents. When she was thirteen she and her siblings moved to her parents' home in Syracuse, New York. Jones started out as a model, initially in New York state, then in Paris, working for Yves St. Laurent, Claude Montana, and Kenzo Takada, and appearing on the covers of Elle, Vogue, and Stern working with Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer.
In 1977, Jones secured a record deal with Island Records. In 1980 Jones, with the aid of Compass Point All Stars moved into New Wave, scoring Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart, with "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before", "Private Life", "Slave to the Rhythm" and "I'm Not Perfect". Her albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981) and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).
In America she appeared in some low-budget films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Her work as an actress in mainstream film began in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 film Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film, Wolf Girl.
In 1983, Jones's One Man Show was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long-Form Music Video next year. For her work in Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp, she was nominated Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress. In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honoured with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists, including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Brazilian Girls Róisín Murphy, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx.
OK, now you got the Wikipedia skinny on Grace (as well as Edith), pick and choose what you want to believe – Wikipedia isn’t always that reliable. Let’s hear her sing. BUT, before we do that I want to dedicate this version to one of the other BOTB participants, Mr. Arlee Bird. I think he may have called me ‘stogy’ in the comment section of Mr. McCarthy’s blog. This version of “La Vie En Rose” would definitely be the UNSTOGY somewhat ‘adult’ view. Please try not to be too distracted by the wardrobe function (no I did not misspell that, I’m pretty sure this is exactly how Grace expected this outfit to appear).
FINALLY, the last version (in the BATTLE) of “La Vie En Rose’ by none other than Mr. Louis Armstrong ‘Satchmo’. I think we can forego the Wikipedia life sketch here. After all, this is the third time I’ve featured him in one of my BOTBs and if you don’t know who he is, well you just might be the ‘stogy’ one.
In the last BOTB Mr. McCarthy shocked some of you by suggesting a particular album as music to ‘do it’ to. Well this song would be my personal pick for ‘lovemaking’ song of all time, but you’re gonna have to wait until the 21st until I tell you which version I prefer.
Now, after you have listened to all three versions leave me a comment with your vote and your reasons for that vote. You can also leave other thoughts about the song, performances, and just about anything else to do with this little BATTLE.
When you’ve finished up here, head on over to Ferret Faced Fascist Friends the home of the totally unstogy, and resident expect on what to do with, or to various musical compositions Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy. Participate in his BATTLE. I also know I can trust him to provide you with a list and links to the other regular participants.
If you want to post your own BATTLE (and you want myself and others to visit your site) please leave a comment to that effect with a link to your home.
I hope you enjoy this BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I’ll be back on the 21st with the result and my vote. See ya then!