My favorite season of the year will be officially welcomed to 2012, on Saturday, September 22nd. Just 6 days away. It's the day of the autumnal equinox, and Mabon.
I love everything about autumn. The crispness in the air; the earthy red, orange, and yellow coloring of the falling leaves; shortening days washed with a moodier, calmer energy. Autumn makes me think of cozy sweaters, hot spiced cider, and pumpkins. Autumn also puts me in mind of a song.
I don't recall when it was that I first heard, "Autumn Leaves". It was years ago. There have been so many versions recorded in so many styles. If you have never had the pleasure of hearing it, I will be changing that for you in this post. First, I'll give you a Reader's Digest version of the tunes background.
|(Left Kosma; Right: Prevert)|
Note: To listen to the videos in this post, you can pause my page's music player. You can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the page.
In 1947, American music great (and Savannah, Georgia, native), Johnny Mercer, wrote English lyrics for the tune. It would see much notice and fame under the English version.
In 1956, a version by Nat King Cole, was played over the title sequence of the film, "Autumn Leaves", that starred Joan-"no more wire hangers"-Crawford.
Some songs are timeless, and "Autumn Leaves" is one of the songs on my personal 'timeless' list. As the seasonal shift has been approaching, I have been put in mind of it. With different interpretations comes noticeable variations, but the haunting bittersweet elements of the song always show through. From the first time I heard it years ago, it has been a permanent track on my autumnal soundtrack. I have posted a selection of interpretations below. Whether you have heard the song before, or are hearing it for the first time, enjoy. (Most of the video links below have links that will take you to YouTube to watch them. Just click where it says "watch on YouTube", and another window will open.)
(This last version by the late Eva Cassidy, is my favorite...so haunting...it gives me goose bumps.)