Jun 142020
 

from UNFORGETTABLE…WITH LOVE
Written by Ray Evans & Jay Livingston

“Mona Lisa” has been hailed as an American pop evergreen. It was written by the songwriting team of Ray Evans (1915-2007) and Jay Livingston (1915-2001) for the 1950 movie Captain Carey, USA, starring the late Alan Ladd (1913-1964). “Mona Lisa” was sung by the renowned Nat “King” Cole (1919-1965) and won the Academy Award as “Best Original Song.”

The song spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Singles chart. The late singer also said that “Mona Lisa” was one of the favorites in his amazing repertoire. Needless to say, this song was one of the remakes that the late, great Natalie Cole (1950-2015) recorded in 1991 for the immensely successful tribute to her father, Unforgettable…With Love.

It was common knowledge that David Foster produced the now classic, Grammy-winning title track as a virtual father-daughter duet, but he also had a hand on several other cuts of Unforgettable…With Love, including the wonderful rendition of “Mona Lisa.” The legendary Johnny Mandel, who also won a Grammy for his arrangement of the “Unforgettable” duet, worked his magic again on “Mona Lisa.” Mandel provided a lush, silky orchestral background for Foster’s production. “Mona Lisa” was another Foster state-of-the-art affair with an intimate instrumental track that featured a gorgeous acoustic guitar by the fabulous John Chiodini. Ms. Cole knew she was doing the project of a lifetime and her vocal performance, with Foster’s brilliant support, was nothing short of sublime. With “Mona Lisa” and her whole Unforgettable…With Love album, Ms. Cole delivered a heartfelt tribute to her father, yet also crafted a musical masterpiece that audiences will treasure forever. Congratulations goes to Foster and his peers, the late, great Tommy Lipuma (1936-2017) and Andre Fischer, for transforming Ms. Cole’s vision into timeless music.

Listen


 

Lead Vocals: Natalie Cole

Bass: Ray Brown

Guitars: John Chiodini

Drums: Sol Gubin

Piano: Mike Lang & Michael Melvoin

Arranged by Johnny Mandel

Produced by David Foster

 

Lyrics

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa men have named you
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only cause you’re lonely they have blamed you
For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your style
Do you smile to tempt a lover Mona Lisa
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart
Many dreams have been brought to your door step
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm? Are you real Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art
– Musical Interlude –
Do you smile to tempt a lover Mona Lisa
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart
Many dreams have been brought to your door step
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm? Are you real Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art
Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa