“Mona Lisa“ is a popular song written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the Paramount Pictures film Captain Carey, U.S.A. in 1950….as the title and lyrics refer to the renaissance portrait Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci…..as the song won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1950….while the Billboard sales charts of 1950 also showed significant sales on versions by Dennis Day, Victor Young with vocal by Don Cherry, Art Lund, Ralph Flanagan with vocal by Harry Prime, Charlie Spivak and Harry James with vocal by Dick Williams)….with hit versions for Moon Mullican at # 4 and Jimmy Wakely # 10 on the Country Charts were also featured in 1950.
Various artists including Jim Reeves and Elvis Presley in 1959….Willie Nelson, Shakin’ Stevens, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the Neville Brothers in 1981…..and Nat King Cole’s daughter Natalie Cole in 1992….have all released cover versions of this song…..while Bing Crosby recorded the song for his album Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around in 1956…..and Harry Connick, Jr. included the song on his 2009 album, Your Songs. A rockabilly version of “Mona Lisa” was released by Carl Mann on Phillips International Records (#3539) in March 1959….which reached # 25 on the Billboard Hot 100…. while Conway Twitty also recorded a version in 1959 which peaked at # 5 in the UK Singles Chart and in the top 30 in the United States.
Seen in this video herewith….Willie Nelson and The Rainbow Band featuring fiddle legend Johnny Gimble perform “Mona Lisa” on stage at Austin City Limits in 1981…..shortly after Shotgun Willie had released his recording of this great old song.