"Mona Lisa" is a popular song written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the Paramount Pictures film Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950). The title and lyrics refer to the renaissance portrait Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1950.
Musical arrangement was handled by Nelson Riddle and the orchestral backing was played by Les Baxter and his Orchestra. The recording was originally the B-side of "The Greatest Inventor Of Them All."
In an American Songwriter magazine interview, Jay Livingston recalled that the original advertisements for the record did not even mention "Mona Lisa;" only upon returning home from a publicity junket of numerous radio programs did the song become a hit.
The soundtrack version by Nat King Cole spent eight weeks at number one in the Billboard singles chart in 1950. Cole's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. Cole described this song as one of his favorites among his recordings.
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