|Released 1948 (1948)|
Recorded 18 February 1948
|Format 10-inch 78 rpm reocrd|
C'est si bon is a French popular song composed in 1947 by Henri Betti with the lyrics by André Hornez. The English lyrics were written in 1950 by Jerry Seelen. The song is also adapted in several languages.
The first nine notes of the chorus of the song came into the head of the composer Henri Betti while he was walking under the arcades of the avenue Jean Médecin in Nice in July 1947. He wrote the notes in a notebook to be able to recall them to play on the piano. Once home, he composed the melody in less than ten minutes. He then made an appointment with the lyricist André Hornez at the Hôtel Powers in Paris in order to find a title for the song. The lyricist said that the title should be three syllables, sung to the first three notes of the song. The next day the lyricist showed Henri Betti a list of ten three-syllable titles, the last of which was C'est si Bon. Henri Betti told him it's the one he wants to choose but André Hornez replied that he did not mark him because there was simultaneously a song by Charles Trenet named C'est Bon. Henri Betti told him that si makes all the difference. The song was registered at the SACEM on 16 August 1947 and was published by Paul Beuscher.
Before finding a professional singer for the song, Henri Betti sang the song himself at the restaurant La Réserve in Nice. He first proposed the song to Yves Montand together with Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ? which he had just composed (with lyrics by Édith Piaf). On 9 October 1947 at the Théâtre de l'Étoile, Yves Montand sang Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ? but did not sing C'est si Bon, preferring to wait a few weeks to sing it on stage or on the radio.
The publisher decided to pass the song on the radio station Programme Parisien of the French Broadcasting. The song is heard for the first time on the radio on 18 January 1948 and sung by Jean Marco with Jacques Hélian and his Orchestra. The vinyl is recorded on 18 February 1948. Then the publisher offered the song to the Sœurs Étienne with Raymond Legrand and his Orchestra, and this version became a hit. Yves Montand, now seeing a good thing, recorded the song on 11 May 1948 with Bob Castella and his Orchestra. The publisher then offered the song to Suzy Delair who sang it in public in the first Nice Jazz Festival on 25 February 1948. Louis Armstrong was present at the festival and asked the publisher if he could make a recording of the song in America. The publisher agreed and the song's lyrics were adapted into English by Jerry Seelen. The song adapted into English is recorded by Louis Armstrong on 26 June 1950 in New York City with Sy Oliver and his Orchestra. Upon its release, the disc became a worldwide hit and the song was then sung by leading international singers and used in film, television and ringtone.
In 1949, Nino Rastelli wrote the Italian lyrics of the song for the recording of Natalino Otto on 1 March 1949. The title song became Tutto è bello.
In 1950, Ralph Maria Siegel wrote the German lyrics of the song for the recording of Detlev Lais with Horst Wende and his Orchestra on 2 November 1950.
In 1951, Jula De Palma recorded the song with Bruno Quirinetta and his Orchestra. The previous year, she also recorded with Bruno Quirinetta and his Orchestra the other hits of Henri Betti : Maître Pierre.
In 1953, Eartha Kitt recorded the song in French with Henri René and his Orchestra for her album RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt. A year later, she sang the song in New Faces. Her cover version has been used in several American films and television advertisements.
In 1962, Dean Martin recorded the song with the musical arrangements of Neal Hefti for his album French Style where he sings several popular French songs.
In 1966, Barbra Streisand recorded the song with the musical arrangements of Michel Legrand (son of Raymond Legrand) for her album Color Me Barbra which is broadcast in color on CBS on 30 March 1966.
In 1978, Madleen Kane and Rhoda Scott recorded a disco version of the song.
In 1988, Rita Lee recorded the song in Portuguese with the lyrics of Roberto de Carvalho for her album Zona Zen. The title song became Cecy Bom.
In 1992, Take 6 recorded an a cappella version of the song for an advertisement on a toilet water by Yves Saint Laurent.
In 1993, Abbey Lincoln recorded the song in French accompanied by Hank Jones on piano for her album When There Is Love.
In 1995, Sophie Darel recorded the song in duet with Évelyne Leclercq for her album C'était les Années Bleues where she also recorded the other success of Henri Betti : Maître Pierre, in duet with Pierre Perret.
In 2003, Lisa Ono recorded a Bossa nova version of the song with the musical arrangements of Mario Adnet for her album Dans Mon Île where she sings several popular French songs.
In 2006, Arielle Dombasle recorded the song with the musical arrangements of Jean-Pascal Beintus for her album C'est si bon where she sings several popular American songs performed in Broadway.
In 2014, Maximilien Philippe recorded a rock version of the song that was used in an advertisement on a Renault Clio car.