Puneet Varma (Editor)

Amapola (song)

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Recorded  1941
Length  4:49
Genre  Traditional pop
Writer(s)  Joseph Lacalle, Albert Gamse (Eng. lyrics)
"Amapola (Pretty Little Poppy)" (1941)  "My Sister and I" (1941)

"Amapola" is a 1920 song by Cádiz-born composer José María Lacalle García (later Joseph Lacalle), with Spanish lyrics. After the composer died in 1937, English language lyrics were written by Albert Gamse. In the 1930s, the song became a standard of the rhumba repertoire, later crossing-over into pop music charts.



"Amapola" was first recorded instrumentally by Cuban Orquesta Francesa de A. Moreno for Columbia in February 1923. Spanish tenor Miguel Fleta made the first vocal recording in 1925. In 1935, the Lecuona Cuban Boys released their rhumba rendition of the song as a single. Japanese singer Noriko Awaya released her version of the song in 1937. A popular recorded version was made later by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with vocalists Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly; this was released by Decca Records as catalog number 3629 and arrived on the Billboard charts on March 14, 1941, where it stayed for 14 weeks and reached #1. This version was remembered by American soldiers in WWII and sung with irony as they fought in France and saw the poppies of Flanders fields. Another English-language version for the American market was recorded by Spike Jones and his City Slickers in the characteristic comic style of his band.

Since its debut "Amapola" has been a favorite recording of opera tenors including Tito Schipa (1926), Jan Peerce (1950), Alfredo Kraus (1959) and Luigi Alva (1963). Tatsuro Yamashita covered Amapola in his 1986 a cappella album "On The Street Corner 2". In 1990 "Amapola" was sung during the first Three Tenors concert in Rome.

Bing Crosby recorded the song twice: first on his album Bing Crosby's Treasury - The Songs I Love and second for his 1975 album Bingo Viejo.

Ryuichi Kawamura's cover appears on his 2011 album The Voice. Natalie Cole included "Amapola" in her 2013 album Natalie Cole en Español.

In popular culture

Deanna Durbin sang the song in the 1939 film First Love. The song was performed in other films by Alberto Rabagliati (1941) and Sara Montiel (La Bella Lola, 1962). In Gabrielle Roy's The Tin Flute, published in 1945, the character Emmanuel hums "Amapola". An orchestral version of "Amapola" directed by Ennio Morricone served as a leitmotif in the 1984 gangster film Once Upon a Time in America.


Amapola (song) Wikipedia