Michel Legrand: You Must Believe in Spring (Tony Bennet and Bill Evans)

Written by Steven Blier

Artistic Director, NYFOS

September 22, 2016

Today is definitively the first day of autumn. I cannot ignore the fact that the days are shorter, that deadlines are growing tighter, and that I never seem to have enough time to get everything done. My mood must have something to do with this endless election, which is like a 29-month pregnancy—at the end of which you might be giving birth to a monster. On days like this I need a re-set button. Bill Evans and Tony Bennett come to the rescue with a song I find very reassuring at this time of year: “You Must Believe in Spring.” The music is by Michel Legrand, the English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It comes from the 1967 French movie-musical Les jeunes filles de Rochefort. The original French words are fairly generic—your typical sailor looking for an elusive love all over the world. The Bergmans transformed the treacle into something resembling gold, and Legrand’s tune is sensual, laconic, and comforting.

Listening to Bill Evans collaborate with Tony Bennett, I am reminded of the power of simplicity. As Evans said, “Truth and beauty, that’s all. Just keep going after truth and beauty.”

You Must Believe in Spring:


For a treat, if you have the time, a 30-minute medley from mid-70s television. It begins with my favorite Bill Evans clip of all time, the theme from :The Bad and the Beautiful”:


And if you’re curious, here is the song as heard in the original movie:

Steven Blier

Called “the coolest dude in town” by Opera News, master collaborative pianist and coach Steven Blier is the co-founder and artistic director of New York Festival of Song. Here on No Song is Safe From Us, Steven blogs about the NYFOS Emerging Artist residencies, writes the engaging and erudite program notes for our Mainstage concerts, and contributes frequently to Song of the Day.

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