I can’t remember when exactly I heard “Autumn Leaves” for the first time, but there’s a good chance it was in an assembly during middle school. I think our student jazz band performed it, and then I bugged my jazz band friend about what the song was, eager to hear it over and over again after that. The song, all about loss and longing, transpiring parallel to the natural, inevitable progression of the seasons…makes feeling wistful feel so damn good.
So I return to it every fall. Only this time—for the sake of this blog—I discover that it was actually originally a French song! (Pardon my cultural ignorance…) The French version, titled “Les feuilles Mortes” (literally “dead leaves”) gives me all the same wonderful chills. Sadly, I can’t seem to find any covers in Chinese or Korean, but I did find it in Japanese, Spanish, and Italian.
Here now, a few lovely renditions, in English and French.
and the original, Yves Montand