Peter Gunn (song)

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For more information on Mancini's original music for the TV show, see Peter Gunn and The Music from Peter Gunn.
"Peter Gunn"
Instrumental by Henry Mancini
from the album The Music from Peter Gunn
Released1959
Recorded1958
GenreRock and roll, jazz
Length2:04
LabelRCA Victor
Composer(s)Henry Mancini
Producer(s)Simon Rady

"Peter Gunn" is the theme music composed by Henry Mancini for the television show of the same name.[1] The song was the opening track on the original soundtrack album, The Music from Peter Gunn, released in 1959.[2] Mancini won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Arrangement.[3]

Overview[edit]

In his 1989 autobiography Did They Mention the Music? Mancini states:

The Peter Gunn title theme actually derives more from rock and roll than from jazz. I used guitar and piano in unison, playing what is known in music as an ostinato, which means obstinate. It was sustained throughout the piece, giving it a sinister effect, with some frightened saxophone sounds and some shouting brass. The piece has one chord throughout and a super-simple top line.[4]

The wailing alto saxophone solo was played by big band veteran and Hollywood studio stalwart Ted Nash.

Mancini arranged the first single version of the song for trumpeter Ray Anthony in 1959. Recorded for Capitol Records and featuring tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, it reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the R&B chart.

Mancini has recorded several different versions of his theme music including "Señor Peter Gunn" on his 1965 album, The Latin Sound of Henry Mancini and in a new arrangement for the 1967 movie Gunn...Number One!

Lyrics were added by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and first recorded in 1965 by Sarah Vaughan in an arrangement by Bill Holman on her album Sarah Vaughan Sings the Mancini Songbook.[5] Mancini also recorded a vocal version titled "Bye Bye" that is on his 1967 soundtrack album Gunn...Number One!.[6]

Other versions[edit]

In addition to the many different arrangements of the "Peter Gunn" theme recorded by Mancini, the music has also been recorded by numerous other artists.

In addition to the above cover versions, the 1983 video game Spy Hunter uses an electronic arrangement of this work for its in-game background music.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henry Mancini: Sounds and Scores, Northridge Music, Inc. 1973, 1986
  2. ^ RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1956 liner notes
  3. ^ Did They Mention the Music?, Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, Contemporary Books, 1989, page 236
  4. ^ Did They Mention the Music?, Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, Contemporary Books, 1989, page 87
  5. ^ Liner notes to Mercury Records SR 61009
  6. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LPM/LSP-3840
  7. ^ "RPM Top Singles - July 12, 1986". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  8. ^ Art of Noise, In Visible Silence Retrieved April 26, 2014
  9. ^ Ellis, Dave (2 October 2012). "Chat with Spy Hunter Game Designer". Like Totally 80s LLC. Retrieved 13 August 2018.