Speak Softly, Love

"Speak Softly, Love" is a popular song published in 1972, with music by Nino Rota and lyrics by Larry Kusik. The song was first introduced as an instrumental theme in the 1972 film The Godfather that was simply known as "Love Theme from The Godfather". The highest-charting rendition of either version was by vocalist Andy Williams, who took "Speak Softly Love" to number 34 on Billboard magazine's Hot 100[2] and number seven on its Easy Listening chart.[3]

"Speak Softly, Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)"
Single by Andy Williams
from the album Love Theme from "The Godfather"
B-side"Home for Thee"
ReleasedApril 1972
RecordedFebruary 18, 1972[1]
GenrePop, easy listening, soft rock
Songwriter(s)Larry Kusik, Nino Rota
Producer(s)Dick Glasser
Andy Williams singles chronology
"Music from Across the Way"
"Speak Softly, Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)"
"MacArthur Park"


Larry Kusik wrote the original, English lyrics, and Nino Rota wrote the music. Different sets of lyrics for the song were written in French (Parle plus bas), Italian (Parla più piano), Sicilian (Brucia la terra), and Spanish (Amor háblame dulcemente). Dalida sings the French version; the Sicilian version is sung by Anthony Corleone (Franc D'Ambrosio) in The Godfather Part III. It was first heard in America in 1970 on The Merv Griffin Show sung by Angela Bacari in English and Italian.


Rota's score for The Godfather had been nominated for a 1973 Academy Award for Best Original Score. However, it was disqualified from consideration when the Academy learned Rota had used a more comedic version of the song for the film Fortunella (1958).[4] Nonetheless, Rota's score for The Godfather Part II won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Score, despite the fact that it contained the same piece.

Chart success

"Love Theme from The Godfather"

The first version of the song to reach any of the charts in Billboard magazine was "Love Theme from The Godfather" by pianist Roger Williams. His instrumental recording debuted in the issue dated April 1, 1972, and "bubbled under" the Hot 100 for five weeks, peaking at number 116,[5] and another piano rendition by Ferrante and Teicher got as high as number 28 Easy Listening during its four-week chart run that began in the April 8 issue.[6] The version that the film's music director, Carlo Savina, and his orchestra recorded for the soundtrack first charted on the Hot 100 in the April 22 issue and made it to number 66 during a nine-week chart run.[7] It also reached number 24 on the Easy Listening chart during its three weeks there that began in the May 20 issue.[8]

"Speak Softly, Love"

The Andy Williams version of "Speak Softly Love" also made its first appearance in the April 8 issue and reached number 34 on the Hot 100 during its 11 weeks there[2] and number seven Easy Listening over the course of 12 weeks.[3] A recording of the song by Al Martino debuted on both of those charts in the April 29 issue and peaked at number 80 during its four weeks on the Hot 100[9] and number 24 on the Easy Listening chart, where it also spent four weeks.[10]

In the UK Williams began a run of nine weeks on August 5 of that year that led to a number 42 showing.[11]

Chart statistics


See also


  1. (2002) Album notes for Love Theme From 'The Godfather'/The Way We Were by Andy Williams, [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music.
  2. Whitburn 2009, p. 1060.
  3. Whitburn 2007, p. 295.
  4. Kris Tapley (2008-01-21). "Jonny Greenwood's 'Blood' score disqualified by AMPAS". Variety. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-04.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  5. Whitburn 2009, p. 1064.
  6. Whitburn 2007, p. 95.
  7. Whitburn 2009, p. 859.
  8. Whitburn 2007, p. 242.
  9. Whitburn 2009, p. 623.
  10. Whitburn 2007, p. 177.
  11. "Andy Williams". Official Charts. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  12. "Classified - James Booker | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-01-31.


  • Whitburn, Joel (2007), Joel Whitburn Presents Billboard Top Adult Songs, 1961-2006, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0898201691
  • Whitburn, Joel (2009), Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 1955-2008, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0898201802
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