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Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)

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Title: Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)  
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Subject: Al Martino, Le sixième jour (album)
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Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)

For the Andy Williams album, see Love Theme from "The Godfather" (album).
"Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)"
Single by Andy Williams
from the album The Godfather (soundtrack)
B-side "A Fool Never Learns"
Released April 1972
Genre Vocal
Length 2:41
Label Columbia Records 45579
Writer(s) Larry Kusik, Nino Rota
Producer Dick Glasser
Andy Williams singles chronology

"Music from Across the Way"
"Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)"
"MacArthur Park"
Love Theme From The Godfather
The famous theme, composed by Larry Kusic and Nino Rota.

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"Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)" is a song written for The Godfather (1972), the first film in The Godfather trilogy. While its instrumental version is simply known as "The Godfather Love Theme", "Speak Softly Love" is the vocal version. The words are by Larry Kusik but the music itself is by Nino Rota. The signature musical theme that opens the piece closely models a theme that appears early in "Preludio - Povero Ernesto!" in the opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). A similar melody also appears in the Overture to "La Forza del Destino" by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). There are also different sets of lyrics for the song in Italian ("Parla Più Piano"), French ("Parle Plus Bas") and also in Sicilian ("Brucia La Terra"). The Sicilian version is sung by Anthony Corleone (Franc D'Ambrosio) in The Godfather Part III.

Rota had used a more comedic version of the song for the 1958 film Fortunella. When this was discovered, Rota's score for The Godfather was disqualified from consideration at the 1973 Academy Awards; it had been nominated for Best Original Score.[1] However, Rota's score for The Godfather Part II won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Score, despite containing the same piece.


The song was originally recorded by Andy Williams, other artists, such as Al Martino, Eric Clapton and Bobby Vinton, have also recorded the song, among many others:

  • Swedish pop group Bombi Bitt recorded the song on their album Wine Coloured Days in 1990 (City Records).
  • Slash (formerly of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver) regularly performs it in concerts in a rock style.
  • Jamaican singer Ken Boothe recorded a reggae version.
  • Sergio Franchi recorded the theme song his 1976 DynaHouse album 20 Magnificent Songs. He recorded it as a medley with "I Have But One Heart" on two other 1976 albums.[2] There is also a very rare video of Franchi singing the Medley on YouTube in an unreferenced TV appearance[3]
  • Satan's Pilgrims have performed a surf rock version as well.
  • Harry Connick Jr. recorded it under the title "Parle Plus Bas", and included it as a bonus track in France for his album "Come by Me" (1999)
  • Gianni Morandi had covered the song under the title "Parla Più Piano".
  • Dalida, Tino Rossi, Marie Laforêt, and the Puppini Sisters covered the song under the title "Parle Plus Bas".[4][5]
  • A Ukrainian version, "Say You Love Me" (Ukrainian: Скажи, що любиш; Skazhy scho lyubysh) was performed by Sofia Rotaru in the musical film Song Is Always with Us, as the Soviet administration did not allow to register the original English version for The Godfather's soundtrack following the offer from Ariola (Sony BMG Music Entertainment).
  • The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra has also performed a ska version of the song. The song was also sampled for a song, "Raja ko rani se pyar ho gaya" in the Indian film Akele Hum Akele Tum. In Yugoslavia it was adapted and sung by Tereza Kesovija as "Govori Tiše".
  • Hungarian pop star György Korda released the Hungarian language version 1974 as "Gyöngéden ölelj át és ringass szerelem".
  • The 1970s Japanese pop group the Candies performed this song live in Osaka in 1977.
  • The band Fantômas also recorded a metal version of the song on their album The Director's Cut.
  • The Hot Club of Detroit recorded a Gypsy jazz cover of this song on their eponymous album.
  • The Sicilian version from The Godfather Part III appears on the music compilation Mob Hits: the Best Songs of Mafia Movies.
  • Speak Softly Love, recorded in 2004 by the Norwegian singer Rein Alexander.
  • The melody was used as the theme music and as a central plot device in the Soviet short animated film Contact.
  • A Slovak version was done by František Krištof Veselý, and a Czech version by Jiří Malásek.
  • Scott Walker recorded a version for his 1972 album The Moviegoer.
  • A Portuguese version called "Fale Baixinho" was recorded by Brazilian singer Wanderley Cardoso in 1972.
  • German jazz pianist Wolfgang Liebert regularly performs it as a standard.
  • Hip-hop artist RZA of Wu-Tang Clan samples the theme in "Black Mozart" on Raekwon's album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.
  • The Italian version ("Parla Piu Piano", or "Io e Te") was recorded by Johnny Dorelli in 1973 .
  • Actor/singer Dominic Chianese, who portrayed Johnny Ola in The Godfather Part II, recorded the Italian version for his album Ungrateful Heart.
  • Bay Area rapper Mac Dre sampled the theme in his hip-hop song "Mafioso" from his 2003 album, Al Boo Boo.
  • Parle Plus Bas, recorded in 2008 by French singer Patrick Fiori for his album Les Choses de La Vie.
  • Rosenberg Trio recorded a version of this song on their 1992 album, Impressions.
  • Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins recorded an Italian version of the song.
  • The song was covered by several Hong Kong singers, Frances Yip (葉麗儀) on her LP album Golden Hits in 1972, Irene Ryder (黎愛蓮) on her LP album Irene in 1973, Juliana Luok (陸小雅) on her LP album Killing Me Softly, and also, by Singaporean singer Ling Ying (林櫻) on her LP album The Best Of Lin Ying & The Prinstar Punchers in 1972.

See also

Notes and references

External links

  • MIDI piano arrangement

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