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Henry Mancini

If the recognition of one's peers is the true measure of success, then few men are as successful as composer, arranger, and conductor Henry Mancini. In a career that spanned 40 years, writing for film and television, Mancini won four Oscars and twenty Grammys, the all-time record for a pop artist. For 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's alone, Mancini won five Grammys and two Oscars. Breakfast at Tiffany's includes the classic "Moon River" (lyrics by Johnny Mercer), arguably one of the finest pop songs of the last 50 years. At last count, there were over 1,000 recordings of it. His other notable songs include "Dear Heart," "Days of Wine and Roses" (one Oscar, two Grammys), and "Charade," the last two with lyrics by Mercer. He also had a number one record and won a Grammy for Nino Rota's "Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet." Among his other notable film scores are The Pink Panther (three Grammys), Hatari! (one Grammy), Victor/Victoria (an Oscar), Two for the Road, Wait Until Dark, and 10. His television themes include "Peter Gunn" (two Grammys, recorded by many rock artists), "Mr. Lucky" (two Grammys), "Newhart," "Remington Steele," and The Thorn Birds television mini-series.

As a child, Mancini learned how to play a variety of musical instruments and as a teenager, he became enamored with jazz and big bands. He began to write arrangements and sent a few to Benny Goodman, who wrote the teenager back, encouraging him to pursue a career in music. Mancini enrolled in the Julliard School of Music in 1942, but his studies were cut short when he served in the military during World War II. After the war, he was hired by Tex Beneke, the leader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as a pianist and arranger. In the late '40s, he began writing scores for record and film studios, first for a recording session by the Mel-Tones, which featured his wife Ginny O'Connor, and then the Abbot & Costello film Lost in Alaska, the first movie he scored.

Lost in Alaska led to more film scores, in particular 1954's The Glenn Miller Story and 1956's The Benny Goodman Story, which both showcased his big band roots. Soon, he was working on a large number of films and television, including Orson Welles' Touch of Evil and the TV show Peter Gunn. Mancini's scores frequently straddled the line between jazz and Hollywood dramatics, making his music both distinctive and influential.

Mancini's heyday was the early '60s, when his score for Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) yielded the Oscar-winning hit single "Moon River," which instantly became a pop standard. The following year, he wrote the music for Days of Wine and Roses, which also won an Oscar for its title song. Throughout the next three decades, he continued to be one of the most successful film composers in the world, as well as a popular concert conductor. He continued working until his death in 1994; just prior to his demise, he was writing the score for the musical adaption of Victor/Victoria.

What kept Mancini's work fresh was his ability to write in almost any style imaginable and his successful experimentations with unusual sounds and instruments. In his 1989 memoir Did They Mention the Music?, Mancini's co-author Gene Lees wrote that "More than any other person, he Americanized film scoring, and in time even European film composers followed in his path," and that Mancini wrote scores that "contained almost as many fully developed song melodies as a Broadway musical." Had he not remained true to his first love, film scoring, Mancini would have more than likely made as large an impact on the Broadway stage as he made on the silver screen. ~ Kenneth M. Cassidy & Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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I treasure all of his music and am proud to say that I have LPs and CDs of all of his recorded music. I was very fortunate to hear and meet Mancini and Johnny Mathis on tour with their Hollywood Music show in Dallas, Texas
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I have many of his albums on vinyl :)
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I went to an outstanding tribute to Mancini in January.It featured his daughter and his namesake orchestra.It was at the new performing arts center in Orlando, Fl. Simply AMAZING TALENT !!!!!!!!!!!!
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Mr. Lucky is Mr. Fabulous!
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ssmyth2124
Pink panther is the best
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linda.rae301
Love all his music but my favorite song of any is Mr. Mancini's "Moment To moment" & the lyrics are are the way I feel about someone very special I lost almost 4 yrs ago.
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ssmyth2124
I love pink panther
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ssmyth2124
Love it
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Mr. Mancini is the Where and Why. Thanks Hank... I've always wanted to say that...(smil e ) .
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mmchenry47
Truly enjoyable.
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Love it.
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linda.rae301
First heard His music more then 60 yrs. ago he was my favorite back then & always will be. Saw him live @ the Hult Center it was so great!
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The absolute best!
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Ahhh...Manci n i . Moon River...one of my all-time favorites.
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I have used the theme from Peter Gunn in addition to practicing certain Italian movements
in fencing (swordsmansh i p ) within a controlled environment.
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Didn't he also write the theme for the TV show --What's Happening--? ?
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To say I love his music is an understateme n t . He is my absolute favor modern composer. Wish he was still with us. Moon River deeply moving. Great, wonderful, fun, uplifting, his music touches every human emotion. Could listen 24Hrs. and do!! Thank you Mr. Mancini.
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FANTASTIC!
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love Pandora-- listen while I am working!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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soothing- relaxing!!
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Walt Sugalski Henry Mancini is the greatest, but so is Bert Kaempfert!
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Dreamsville - Henry Mancini (from The Peter Gunn album): The title says it all - Dreamsville. - love it
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I LOVE the pink panther theme!! Fun to play on guitar, but never anywhere as good as the big band thing...
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Haunting drums and a edge of wild undertow in this theme music. So cool...
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Great
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Mancini..... . . w o w !
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Never another mancini..... . . . . . . !
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I used to call my husband, Edgar's father, Mr Lucky
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He is a greater composer
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Charade was also a fave own that movie also......ma n c i n i is one of the greats.....
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Love this song........ a n d I own the movie!
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Still one of my fav's after all these years, music the stands the test of time.
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Which orchestra played the Theme from the tv series Route 66?
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All I need to keep me revved and ready to gogogo is Peter Gunn's theme from"the best of Henry Mancini!" Ficking phenomenal
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Cut my love tooth on Moon River.
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Who dat tippy toeing into someone's bedroom at this late hour.
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I saw Mr. Mancini in person at a concert one evening, with Jack Benny, and it was one of the greatest nights I ever spent at the Garden State Arts Center
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This is not his original version??? - sounds like a re-recording . - not even the same tempo??
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tsbljj
LOVING THE PANDORA EXPERIENCE. I HOPE MY ADDRESS DOES NOT GET REJECTED AGAIN?
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Brilliant
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Ilove them all but John Barry is the best.
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blingbling55 2
Thank you Pandora for providing all of the great music from when I was a kid. It brings back great memories whenever I hear them,you can't listen to them on any radio station nowadays.
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When I was a kid and teenager I thought Mancini was a square and wrote music for old fogeys. In my 30's I realized he was a genius. Some of the songs are still a bit sappy, but get a greatest hits CD, put it on a GOOD stereo (not your ipod with cheezy tinny speakers) and crank it up. I mean to levels that his live orchestra would have played.
Songs like the Pink Panther Theme, Experiment in Terror, Baby Elephant Walk and others just ROCK.
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awesome, check out my station: jade paris & her exotic bachelorette pad
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How about Lawrence Welk?
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You omitted Exodus!
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one of a kind
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isasherrie
I grew up with Mancini and his Orchestra! Wonderful music
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love your music
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Love all his music..Great !
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