Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes

by: Andy Williams

The singles chart hit versions of composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer's "Moon River," the theme song for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, were by Jerry Butler and by Mancini himself. But Andy Williams made his own claim to the song by using it as the title to this LP of movie themes, which, not coincidentally, was released in the week before Williams was scheduled to sing "Moon River" at the 1962 Academy Awards ceremony. He does a masterful version with the song, and also does well with the rest of the songs, which include some recent fare ("Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," "A Summer Place," "The Exodus Song," "The Second Time Around"), but also old favorites like "As Time Goes By." "Maria" and "Tonight" are the big ballads from West Side Story, which began life as a Broadway musical before it went on to be the big movie hit of 1961, justifying the use of the music here. Williams has fun with "Never on Sunday," even including the Greek lyrics. The LP, a highlight in the singer's career, makes a case that the early '60s constituted a renaissance period for movie themes. (Spurred on by Williams' 1962 Oscar Night performance of "Moon River" and its victory in the Best Song category, Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes went on to spend 176 weeks in the Billboard LPs chart, peaking at number three and going gold. Notwithstanding the earlier hit single versions by others, "Moon River" became Williams' signature song for the rest of his career.) ~ William Ruhlmann

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