Surely, most of us have sung along at some point to Que Sera, Sera. I got curious and wanted to know its origin. Hold your horses, friends, for I am about to share many things about the song: the woman, Doris Day, who popularized it, and an instrumental country version by Chet Atkins.
In the Beginning….
First published in 1956 is a famous song written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)“. In addition, the song was first heard in the film The Man Who Knew Too Much. The lead roles were Doris Day and James Stewart. Livingston and Evans had some knowledge of Spanish. Also, early in their career, they worked together as musicians on cruise ships to the Caribbean and South America. Livingston had seen the 1954 Hollywood film The Barefoot Contessa, in which a fictional Italian family has the motto “Che sara sara” engraved in a stone at their family mansion. He instantly wrote it down as a possible song title. Later on, he and Evans gave it a Spanish spelling because more people speak Spanish in the world.
Doris Day sang it in the film The Man Who Knew Too Much, while she was putting her young son to bed.
….and It Still is Standing
The three stanzas of the song evolve through the life of the character. From childhood, through young adulthood, falling in love, to parenthood, each asks “What will I be?” or “What lies ahead?” The chorus echoes the answer: “Whatever will be, will be”. Early in the 17th century, the motto starts to appear in the speeches and opinions of fictional characters as a natural expression of a fatalistic attitude. Today, thanks to the popularity of the song and its many translations, the motto has been adopted in countries around the world. Naming a variety of entities, books, movies, restaurants, vacation rentals, airplanes, and racehorses, use this motto.
This is sort of a “Live and Let Live”, “Hakuna Matata” outlook to life, but not necessarily relaxed. It is more about how life and the future are unpredictable. Upsetting yourself over things you cannot control does more harm than good. “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”, is used repeatedly to express the uncertainty of life, and how one should not worry about the strains of what lies ahead.
Whatever happens, will happen; whatever will be will be.
Here’s Chet Atkins version, perfectly used as a lullaby. Enjoy!