Peter Gunn (song)
- For more information on Mancini's original music for the TV show, see Peter Gunn and The Music from Peter Gunn.
"Peter Gunn" is the theme music composed by Henry Mancini for the television show of the same name. The song was the opening track on the original soundtrack album, The Music from Peter Gunn, released in 1959 as RCA Victor LPM/LSP-1956. Mancini won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Arrangement.
|Single by Henry Mancini|
|from the album The Music from Peter Gunn|
|Genre||Rock and roll, Jazz|
In his 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.
The wailing alto sax 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 #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.
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. Mancini also recorded a vocal version titled "Bye Bye" that is on his 1967 soundtrack album Gunn...Number One!.
The song has been recorded by numerous artists, including a popular version by guitarist Duane Eddy. His rendition reached #2 in Australia, #6 on the UK Singles Chart, and #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. The song appeared on his 1959 album Especially for You. The song was produced by Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill.
- RCA Victor also released the song as part of a Mancini EP in 1958.
- Pete Candoli and His Orchestra released the song as part of an EP in 1959 entitled "Peter Gunn Cha Cha".
- Ted Heath and His Music released the song as the B-side to his single "Sermonette" in 1959.
- Shelly Manne recorded a version on Shelly Manne & His Men Play Peter Gunn which was released as a single in 1959.
- The Kingsmen included a version on the 1965 The Kingsmen on Campus LP, Wand LP 670.
- Deodato released a version of the song in 1976 which reached #20 on the dance chart, #84 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #96 on the R&B chart.
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer released a version on their 1979 live album, In Concert. A slightly shortened edit was released as a single in some countries.
- Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers released a version of the song as a medley with "Think" in 1980 which reached #39 on the dance chart.
- An electronic version was arranged and used as the background music for the Spy Hunter video game in 1983, when developer Midway was unable to secure the rights to the James Bond theme. The Peter Gunn theme is still featured in most re-releases of the game today.
- Art of Noise released a version of the song featuring Eddy in 1986 which reached #2 on the dance chart, #8 in the UK, #14 in Canada, and #50 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was featured on their 1985 album In Visible Silence, and a live version appears on their compilation album Reconstructed... For Your Listening Pleasure.
- Isabel Rose recorded a version on her 2014 album Trouble in Paradise.
In popular culture
- The song was featured in the popular 1980 film, The Blues Brothers.
- Henry Mancini: Sounds and Scores, Northridge Music, Inc. 1973, 1986
- Liner notes to RCA album LPM/LSP-1956
- Did They Mention the Music?, Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, Published by Contemporary Books, Inc., 1989, page 236
- Did They Mention the Music?, Henry Mancini with Gene Lees, Published by Contemporary Books, Inc., 1989, page 87
- Ray Anthony and His Orchestra, "Peter Gunn" Chart Positions Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Liner notes to Mercury Records SR 61009
- Liner notes to RCA Victor LPM/LSP-3840
- Duane Eddy, "Peter Gunn" Chart Positions Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Duane Eddy, Especially for You Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Duane Eddy, "Peter Gunn" single release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Henry Mancini, "Peter Gunn" EP release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Pete Candoli and His Orchestra, "Peter Gunn" EP release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Ted Heath and His Music, "Sermonette" single release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Shelly Manne and His Men, "Peter Gunn" single release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Deodato, "Peter Gunn" Chart Positions Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer, "Peter Gunn" single release Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Aretha Franklin/The Blues Brothers, "Peter Gunn" Chart Position Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Peter Gunn Theme Returns To Spy Hunter Retrieved June 20, 2014
- Dave Ellis (October 2, 2012). "Chat with Spy Hunter Game Designer". Like Totally 80s.
- "RPM Top Singles - July 12, 1986". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Art of Noise, "Peter Gunn" Chart Positions Retrieved April 26, 2014
- Art of Noise, In Visible Silence Retrieved April 26, 2014
- "Isabel Rose Releases New Album Trouble in Paradise". Broadway Music World. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2016.