If you were anywhere near a radio or jukebox in 1958 and had an ear open for pop music, chances are very good that you would have heard a song about love that became a hit for two different musical acts at the same time, but that wasn’t the end. That same song experienced a resurgence in popularity when recorded by a different group in 1966, and a decade later became a hit for yet another singing act.
Songwriter Wayne Shanklin authored “Chanson D’Amour” (song of love), which became a career-defining tune for Art and Dotty Todd, a husband and wife team who had been kicking around the biz for a while. They’d already had their own radio show and often performed in clubs, but when their recording of the song reached hit status it made their career. For the next couple of decades they were popular Vegas performers and TV variety show guests. Eventually they moved to semi-retirement in Hawaii, where they occasionally sang in their own club.
But there was another hit version of the song back in 1958. A singing group I’ve written about before, the Fontane Sisters, also recorded the song and sold a lot of records with it, although they’re more remembered now for their top-seller, “Hearts Of Stone.”
Proving that you can’t keep a good song down, in 1966 “Chanson D’Amour” was revived by another popular singing group, the Lettermen. Their version did very well, but a decade later another singing group really hit the jackpot with the song, proving that the fourth time was the charm.
The Manhattan Transfer had begun to catch the attention of 1970’s music fans with their combination of retro-pop and jazz vocals, and when they recorded “Chanson D’Amour” it proved to be one of their biggest early hits. (Video below.) It did very well in the US, but was an even bigger hit in Europe and reached number-one status in the UK.
Of course, many others recorded the song but those were the biggies. One tune — four hits.