The composition has an interesting history that can be traced through the various published versions, and its oft-studied musical structure has ties to classical compositions. The copyright is dated February 27, and it was first published by Enoch Paris, France in Singer Cora Vaucaire was the first to sing it in public. For four years, Yves Montand, whose name is invariably linked to the song, sang it with no success whatsoever; only in did he make it popular. It took some time, however, for it to become a hit in America. Mercer agreed — and soon forgot about it. Goldsen recalls:.
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An instrumental version by pianist Roger Williams was a number 1 best-seller in the US Billboard charts of Mercer was a partner in Capitol Records at the time, and Capitol recording artist Jo Stafford made the first English-language recording in July, In , jazz historian Philippe Baudoin called the song "the most important non-American standard" and noted that "it has been recorded about times by mainstream and modern jazz musicians alone and is the eighth most-recorded tune by jazzmen. The song is in AABC form.