Peter Gunn (song)

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"Peter Gunn"
Single by Henry Mancini
from the album The Music from Peter Gunn
B-side"The Brothers Go to Mother's"
Released1959 (1959)
StudioRadio Recorders (Los Angeles)
GenreInstrumental theme music
LabelRCA Victor
Composer(s)Henry Mancini
Producer(s)Simon Rady
Official audio
"Peter Gunn" (1993 Remastered) on YouTube

"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]

Recording and releases[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.[3]

Mancini arranged the first single version of the song for trumpeter Ray Anthony in 1959. Recorded for Capitol Records at Radio Recorders[4] and featuring tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, it reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the R&B chart.[5]

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!.[6]

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.[7] Mancini also recorded a vocal version titled "Bye Bye" that is on his 1967 soundtrack album Gunn...Number One!.[8]

Other charting 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. Versions that reached the record charts include:


  1. ^ Henry Mancini: Sounds and Scores, Northridge Music, Inc. 1973, 1986
  2. ^ RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1956 liner notes
  3. ^ a b Did They Mention the Music?, Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, Contemporary Books, 1989, page 236
  4. ^ Young, Clive (27 April 2021). "Al Schmitt, Legendary Engineer, Passes at 91". Future Plc. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1988). "Ray Anthony; Deodato". Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. pp. 26, 116. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  6. ^ Dryden, Ken. "Henry Mancini: 'Peter Gunn' – Review/Appears On". AllMusic. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Liner notes to Mercury Records SR 61009
  8. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LPM/LSP-3840
  9. ^ "Duane Eddy – Singles". Official Charts. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  10. ^ Billboard (November 14, 1960). "Hot 100". Billboard. p. 34. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ "RPM Top Singles – July 12, 1986". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2016.