September 18

When Conway Twitty Sings Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa”

conway twitty mona lisa
Conway Twitty Photo Credit:

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa is the most famous painting we have ever known. Many speculations and investigations have been made to know what is in Mona Lisa that captivates people. Mona Lisa is a painting made by one of the greatest inventors Leonardo Da Vinci. Everyone wants to know what mystery she has and why her smile is very intriguing.

The Story Behind the Song

The famous painting of Leonard Da Vinci not only sparks interest but it also became an inspiration for others to make something out of it. In 1950, songwriters Ray Evans and Jay Livingston wrote the popular song “Mona Lisa.” The songwriters wrote a song for a movie called OSS, and they were asked to write a song that will warn the village that the Germans are coming.

“They needed a song to warn them that the German patrol was coming.”

–Jay Livingston, American Songwriter Magazine.

However, when the studio changed its title from OSS to After Midnight, Livingston and Evans had to make another song that fits the title of the movie. Thus, they have set aside “Mona Lisa.” When a new movie was being made called Captain Carey, USA, the songwriters brought back the song “Mona Lisa” for this film. They approached Nat King Cole to record the song and this became one of his bests and favorite songs. Nat King Cole’s recording of the song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. In addition, the song was inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame in 1992.

Different Versions

Many artists made their own version of this song and because of its captivating lyrics, no one can resist recording it. “Mona Lisa” has been recorded into many different versions by various artists. One of the artists that recorded Nat King Cole’s song is the country singer Conway Twitty.

Conway Twitty’s Version

Conway recorded the song in 1959 as part of his first studio album Conway Twitty Sings. Included in this album was his first No. 1 song “It’s Only Make Believe.” Twitty made his version of “Mona Lisa” reached No. 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Moreover, it reached No. 1 on the Australian chart and No. 5 on the UK chart. He recorded “Mona Lisa” in a more rockabilly style which is different from the original version.

Whose version do you think is the best?

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