Charade (1963 song)

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Single by Henry Mancini
from the album Charade
B-side "Orange Tamoure"
Released December 1963
Genre Jazz
Length 2:38
Label RCA Victor 1383
Writer(s) Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer
Henry Mancini singles chronology
"Banzai Pipeline"
"The Pink Panther Theme"

"Charade" is a sad, lonely parisian waltz composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer performed in the 1963 film of the same name starring by Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It was nominated that year for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.


Stanley Donen had heard and been charmed by the "Baby Elephant Walk", so he decided to phone Mancini from London to tell him about his current picture. Donen had been directing famous musical films throughout the 1950s and he now intended to put his own slant on a Hitchcock-like thriller and he wanted a strong melody in the background score.[citation needed] As Henry Mancini became a friend of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, he composed the song for Charade thinking of her as he said: "Our next film together was 'Charade' in 1963. Stanley Donen directed Peter Stone's screenplay. There is a scene in the movie where Audrey returns from a happy winter holiday to her Paris flat to find it stripped of everything of value. Bare floors and the walls are all that remain. Her loutish husband had absconded with all of her worldly goods. She enters the dimly-lit apartment with her suitcase and surveys the scene. Her feelings are of sadness, loneliness and vulnerability. To me, it translated into a sad little Parisian waltz. With that image of Audrey in my mind, I went to the piano and within less than an hour 'Charade' was written. I played it for Audrey and Stanley. Both felt it was just right for the movie. Johnny Mercer added his poetry, and the song was nominated for an Oscar that year".[citation needed]


Henry Mancini's version reached #15 on the adult contemporary chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.[1] Andy Williams released a version that reached #100 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.[2] Sammy Kaye also released a version in 1964 that reached #10 on the adult contemporary chart and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]


As with "Moon River" and "The Days of Wine and Roses," the song is subjugated, at various places in the film, to the role of source music.[citation needed] Though the Mancini-Mercer team lost the Oscar that year, Johnny Mercer said it was his favourite Mancini melody. Donen was impressed with Mancini as a working partner, using phrases like "just a lovely man to work with" and "elegant, meticulous, very organized" to describe him.[citation needed]