Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Charting Version of Danyel Gerard's "Butterfly"

Danyel Gerard - "Butterfly" (Billboard #78, entered 6/10/72). Written by Danyel Gerard, Ralph Bernet, Howard Barnes, Mike Curb and Mack David. Produced by Danyel Gerard and Don Costa. 45: "Butterfly"/"Let's Love" (MGM/Verve 1972). LP: Danyel Gerard (MGM/Verve 1972).

French singer songwriter Danyel Gerard made a lifelong career out of his widely-covered song "Butterfly," which had the melodic sentiment European schlager fans loved and also the kind of campfire singalong chorus US audiences in the early '70s ate up. Originally recorded in French, the song's popularity compelled Gerard to record versions in Spanish, English, and German (possibly more). The "butterfly, my butterfly" vocal hook, though, was sung in English on every version. This was a clever move on Gerard's part, who perhaps saw an international hit on the horizon. The words for "butterfly" in French (papillon), Spanish (mariposa), and German (schmetterling), all would have fit the song's musical cadence just fine.

After topping the charts all over Europe, Gerard found that his English version of the song, released on Columbia with lyrics credited to "P. Kent," would need to get a new label and subsequent lyrical makeover - for whatever reason - if it stood a chance in America. MGM label head Mike Curb, along with veteran lyricist Mack David (brother of Hal) helped with new words, making for some hyphen-heavy label credits on the new 45. Why the earlier Columbia 45 doesn't credit Ralph Bernet and H. Barnes, who presumably wrote the French lyrics and appear on that version's credits, while the MGM version does credit them, is a mystery. Perhaps disappointingly to Gerard and MGM, "Butterfly" would be Gerard's only US hit, peaking no higher than #78.

No comments:

Post a Comment