"Million Roses" (Latvian: "Dāvāja Māriņa") is a Latvian song composed by Raimonds Pauls with lyrics by Leons Briedis. It was performed at the 1981 Mikrofona aptauja by Aija Kukule and Līga Kreicberga.
It is one of Pauls's most popular songs and has also been released in Korea and Japan and has been covered by several artists and in several languages:
1982: Russian singer Alla Pugacheva released a single with Russian lyrics by Andrej Voznesenskij as "Миллион алых роз", "Million alykh roz". The song is also the opening and title track of her album of the same name released in Japan in 1983.
Latvian singer Larisa Mondrus
Finnish singer Vera Telenius (with Finnish lyrics by Telenius as "Miljoona ruusua")
Finnish singer Katri Helena ("Miljoona ruusua")
1986: Hungarian singer Kata Csongrádi ("Millió rózsaszál")
1987: Finnish/Swedish singer Arja Saijonmaa (with Swedish lyrics by Lars Huldén as "Miljoner rosor")
2003: Russian/Swedish singer Elena Ermanova ("Million alykh roz")
Ukrainian singer Ani Lorak ("Million alykh roz")
Сергей Дикий ("Million alykh roz")
Latvian a cappella band Cosmos ("Million alykh roz")
The song's title can be translated as "Life in Rosy Hues" or "Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses"; its literal meaning is "Life in Pink".
The melody of the song was composed by Louis Guglielmi, known as Louiguy, and the lyrics were written by Édith Piaf herself. Originally, the song was registered as being written by Louiguy only, since at the time Piaf did not have necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM. Words "Quand il me tient dans ses bras..." ("When he takes me in his arms...") came to her mind one evening in 1944, when she was standing in front of an American man. That gave the base for the rest of lyrics. Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who slightly modified the lyrics, changing "les choses" ("things") for "la vie" ("life"). English lyrics for the song were later written by Mack David.
Initially, Piaf's peers and songwriting team did not think the song would be successful, finding it weaker than the rest of her repertoire. Having listened to their advice, the singer put the song aside, only to change her mind the next year. The song was performed live in concert for the first time in 1946. It became a favorite with audiences. "La Vie en rose" was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics telling about retaken love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult wartime.
"La Vie en rose" was released on a 10" single in 1947 by Columbia Records, a division of EMI, with "Un refrain courait dans la rue" making the B-side. It met with a warm reception and sold a million copies in the USA. It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949. Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of Piaf's albums to include "La Vie en rose" was the 10" Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950. The song appeared on most of Piaf's subsequent albums, and on numerous greatest hits compilations. The song went on to become Piaf's signature song and her trademark hit, sitting with "Milord" and "Non, je ne regrette rien" among her best-known and most recognizable tunes. Encouraged by its success, Piaf wrote 80 more songs in her career.
The song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.