"Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)",[1] first published in 1956, is a popular song written by the Jay Livingston and Ray Evans songwriting team.[2] The song was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956),[3] starring Doris Day and James Stewart in the lead roles.[4]

Day's recording of the song for Columbia Records (catalog number 40704) made it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100[5] and number one in the UK Singles Chart.[6] From 1968 to 1973, it was the theme song for the situation comedy The Doris Day Show, becoming her signature song. The three verses of the song progress through the life of the narrator—from childhood, to young adulthood and falling in love, to parenthood—and each asks "What will I be?" or "What lies ahead?" The chorus repeats the answer: "What will be will be." It reached the Billboard magazine charts in July 1956. The song received the 1956 Academy Award for Best Original Song with the alternative title "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)".[7] It was the third Oscar in this category for Livingston and Evans, who previously won in 1948 and 1950.[8] The title sequence of the Hitchcock film gives the song title as Whatever Will Be. It was a #1 hit in Australia for pop singer Normie Rowe in September 1965.

The song is sometimes confused with the song Che sarà,[9] released by José Feliciano, first in Italian in 1971, then in Spanish as Qué Será, but the two songs have nothing in common except the similarity of their titles and the general theme of concern about the future. (Che sarà was written by two Italians, Jimmy Fontana (born Enrico Sbriccoli) and Franco Migliacci and the title is more grammatically correct than is Que Sera, Sera).

Language in title and lyrics[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

The popularity of the song has led to curiosity about the origins of the saying and the identity of its language. The saying—spelled both in the Spanish-like form used by Livington and Evans and in the Italian-like form "che sara sara" (rarely with accent marks)—originated in England at least as early as the 16th century, first as a heraldic motto, and later as an expression of fatalism by literary characters. It has virtually no history in Spain or Italy, and in fact is ungrammatical in Spanish and Italian.[10] It is composed of Spanish or Italian words superimposed on English syntax. It was evidently formed by a word-for-word mistranslation of English "What will be will be", merging the free relative pronoun what (= "that which") with the interrogative what?[11]

Livingston and Evans had some knowledge of Spanish, and early in their career they worked together as musicians on cruise ships to the Caribbean and South America. Composer Jay Livingston had seen the 1954 Hollywood film The Barefoot Contessa, in which a fictional Italian family has the motto "Che sarà sarà" carved in stone at their ancestral mansion. He immediately wrote it down as a possible song title, and he and lyricist Ray Evans later gave it a Spanish spelling "because there are so many Spanish-speaking people in the world".[12] [13][14]

One of the earliest documentations of the saying records it as being chosen by an English aristocrat of the 16th century (the 1st Earl of Bedford), as his family's heraldic motto.[15][16] His successors—Earls and, later, Dukes of Bedford ("Sixth Creation")—continued the use of the motto. Soon after its adoption as a heraldic motto, it appeared in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus (written ca. 1590; published 1604), whose text[17] (Act 1, Scene 1) contains a line with the archaic Italian spelling "Che sera, sera / What will be, shall be").[18] The earliest documentation of the "Spanish" spelling is also from 16th-century England, on a brass plaque in a village church in Surrey. Early in the 17th century the saying begins to appear in the speech and thoughts of fictional characters as a spontaneous expression of a fatalistic attitude, always in an English-speaking context. In modern times, thanks to the popularity of the song, the phrase has been adopted in countries around the world to name a variety of entities, including books, movies, restaurants, vacation rentals, airplanes, and race horses.[19]

Other uses of the song and phrase[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

The song is regularly sung at English football matches when a team is progressing to the next round of a competition that will ultimately lead them to Wembley Stadium.[20] The chorus's second line is changed to ‘Que Será, Será, whatever will be, will be, we're going to Wembley, Que Será, Será’.

In 1956 "Que Será, Será" was the name given to a US Navy C-47 Skytrain[21] which, on October 31, 1956, was the first aircraft to land on the South Pole (Operation Deep Freeze II), commanded by Rear AdmiralGeorge Dufek.[22]

Normie Rowe[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

"Que Será, Será

(Whatever Will Be, Will Be)"

Single by Normie Rowe and the Playboys
B-side "Shakin' All Over"
Released 1965 (Australia)
Format 45 rpm 7"
Recorded Sunshine Records: 1965
Genre Pop
Label Sunshine Records Sunshine QK 1103 (Australia)
Writer(s) Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Producer Pat Aulton
Normie Rowe and the Playboys singles chronology
"I Confess"/ "Everything's Alright" "Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" "Tell Him I'm Not Home" / "Call On Me"

Australian pop singer Normie Rowe's 1965 recording of "Que Será, Será", which was produced by Pat Aulton on the Sunshine Record label (Sunshine QK 1103), was the biggest hit of his career, "the biggest Australian rock 'n roll hit of 1965",[23] and is reputed to be the biggest-selling Australian single of the 1960s.[24] The song was "done in the style of "Louie, Louie" and the manner of "Hang On Sloopy",[23] and given a "Merseybeat" treatment (in the manner of The Beatles' "Twist & Shout"), and was backed by Rowe's band The Playboys. It was paired with a powerful version of the Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' classic "Shakin' All Over", and the single became a double-sided No. 1 hit in most capitals (#1 Sydney, #1 Melbourne, #1 Brisbane, #1 Adelaide, and Perth).[25][26] in September 1965, charting for 28 weeks and selling in unprecedented numbers, with Rock historian Ian McFarlane reporting sales of 80,000 copies,[27][28] while 1970s encyclopedist Noel McGrath claimed sales of 100,000.[29] Rowe scored another first in October 1965 when "Que Sera Sera" became his third hit single in the Melbourne Top 40 simultaneously. In 1965 Rowe received a gold record for "Que Será, Será" at Sydney's prestigious Chevron Hotel.[30] In December 1965 the master of Rowe's version was purchased by Jay-Gee Records for release in the USA.[31] In April 1966 Rowe received a second gold record for the sales of "Que Será, Será".[32] In August 1966 Rowe won Radio 5KA's annual best male vocal award for "Que Será, Será".[33] In 2006 Rowe released a newly recorded version, which was released by ABC via iTunes, and later adding "the whole digital mix with a radio mix and a dance mix".[34]

Other versions[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

Other versions of "Que Será, Será" include:[26]

Non-English versions[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

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