Above: This is the cover art for the single “Speak Softly, Love” by the artist Andy Williams. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to Columbia Records.

Speak Softly, Love

B-side “A Fool Never Learns”
Released April 1972
Genre Vocal
Length 2:41
Label Columbia Records 45579
Songwriter(s) Larry Kusik, Nino Rota
Producer(s) Dick Glasser

“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 and number seven on its Easy Listening chart.

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.

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, 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. 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. It also reached number 24 on the Easy Listening chart during its three weeks there that began in the May 20 issue.