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Henry Mancini
November 6, 2010 2:54 PM   Subscribe

His melodies are more familiar than those of any other soundtrack composer except perhaps John Williams. He won 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other pop musician in history, and 4 Academy Awards. He scored what some consider the greatest opening shot in cinema history. His versatility encompassed situation comedy as well as science fiction horror. He is commemorated on a 37-cent stamp. He is Henry Mancini. posted by Joe Beese (32 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
He won 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other pop musician in history...

Um, no.
Quincy Jones -- 27.

Alsion Krauss -- 26.

U2, Stevie Wonder -- 22.

John Williams -- 21.

Vince Gill, Henry Mancini, Bruce Springsteen -- 20.
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on November 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


*Alison*
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on November 6, 2010


Hmm. I guess AllMusic better update their article.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:11 PM on November 6, 2010


I think the AllMusic article is referring to the combination of 4 Oscars and 20 Grammies. Makes you wonder whether they would consider someone with 21 Grammies but only 3 Oscars to have tied? Weird way of looking at it.
posted by bardophile at 3:14 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to complain if none of the links featured Baby Elephant Walk. I am gratified to find such a complaint unnecessary.
posted by localroger at 3:17 PM on November 6, 2010


Stevie Wonder won an Academy Award - so that would bring his Grammy/Oscar total to 23.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:18 PM on November 6, 2010


AllMusic should never be trusted for information about just about anything. They're a shame of a source. In their desire to be some kind of objective record, they refuse to include dates of writing, and they'll completely rewrite their old reviews of albums to suit public opinion. Lady Gaga's The Fame started off at two-and-a-half stars when they first wrote their review, dismissing it as cheap pop trash, and it's slowly sidled its way up to four-and-a-half stars and being a modern pop masterpiece.

(That criticism has nothing to do with your post, Joe. I'd never seen the opening to Touch of Evil and now I realize I've got to see the entire movie. Thanks!)
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:19 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great post, now I want to watch Touch of Evil.
posted by shinybaum at 3:25 PM on November 6, 2010


I have to thank Mr. Mancini (and Mr. Mercer) for Andy William's signature song: Moon River.
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on November 6, 2010


John Williams has five Oscars and twenty one Grammies, so he definitely beats out Mancini, except that he's not a pop artist. And Jones, Krauss, and U2 don't have any Oscars.
posted by bardophile at 3:31 PM on November 6, 2010


I'd never seen the opening to Touch of Evil and now I realize I've got to see the entire movie.

There are two versions. The version the studio insisted be released, and the re-edit which follows Orsen Welles' lengthy rant about the studio version. It's an interesting study in how editing can change the feel of a movie. I prefer the re-edit, personally, but they're both worth watching.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on November 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


At first glance I thought this was an obituary post for John Williams, and I was sad. Then I realised that it was about Henry Mancini, and I was still sad. Then I realised it wasn't an obit, and I was happy. Then I thought, wait, wasn't Henry Mancini dead already? And I was relieved. But then I wasn't sure, so I checked. And he was. I don't know how to feel anymore.

Cool post.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:41 PM on November 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I took a class with Mancini on my way to being a failed film scorer - he was generous and honest but by then (1980s) he was considered pretty old school. (I'm being generous here)

He was certainly popular but Lalo Schifrin, Quincy and, of course, Bernstein were considered the hip choices.

And, contemporarily, the opening music to Requiem for a Heavyweight tears my heart out every time (sorry no legal links found) - if you think you like noir film scores, trust me, it's worth tracking down. As pretentious as this may sound, I don't think Mancini had that kind of thing in him.
posted by victors at 4:08 PM on November 6, 2010


Let's not forget the wonderful Meglio Stasera. With added bonus of Peter Sellers dancing.
posted by NailsTheCat at 4:26 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting timing on this post - my kids picked out The Pink Panther to watch tonight and I was impressed all over again by the theme song. And I was wondering if Mancini was still alive while listening, so thanks for saving me from a search, two or three cars.
posted by Sukey Says at 4:43 PM on November 6, 2010


On the film composer tip, I cannot sing loudly enough the praises of Michael Giacchino. His score for Pixar's The Incredibles was a stunningly perfect homage to composer John Barry's work on the classic James Bond movies, and his score for (again, Pixar's) Ratatouille was sheer delight. Here is but one bit from Ratatouille, and, as you'll see, there are many many more at YouTube.

He also did LOST, the TV series, which I haven't seen and can't speak for.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 PM on November 6, 2010


"Theme from A Summer Place" is a beautiful bit.

There was a french horn thread here a while ago. Nice use of them here.
posted by Trochanter at 6:50 PM on November 6, 2010


Stanley Black was good, too. He did the theme from The Magnificent Seven.
posted by Trochanter at 6:54 PM on November 6, 2010


Oops! Elmer Bernstein wrote Magnificent Seven. Black was a conductor. My dad had a Stanley Black album when I was a boy -- hence the confusion. Great piece though. I wonder if it gets called a poor man's "Hoedown."
posted by Trochanter at 7:02 PM on November 6, 2010


Elmer Bernstein also did The Ten Commandments and The Great Escape.
posted by Trochanter at 7:08 PM on November 6, 2010


I'm more of a Bernard Herrmann man myself, but yet.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2010


I'm more of a Bernard Herrmann man myself

And let's not forget the Italian masters, Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:49 PM on November 6, 2010


"...what some consider..." Some? SOME???

Name a better opening shot in the history of film.

Wells told a story about that enormously long-running single shot. It seems the poor guy playing the border guard (the first spoken dialog) would be looking down the street and see the crane truck and a small army heading towards him and he would just freeze. Couldn't get his line right. That's why you can see the horizon lightening when the camera looks east: they reshot it all night long.
posted by warbaby at 10:09 PM on November 6, 2010


When a post refers to someone being "on a 37-cent (USofA) stamp", yep, they're dead.

And when I saw the "situation comedy" link, I expected to find this. Hey HEY Hey!

But don't forget the theme from The Great Race (aka "The Sweetheart Tree") (which also had the most hilariously derivative "March" in soundtrack history).

Mancini was one of the highlights of the "'60s square" music my parents subjected me to (and one of the few artists of 'their' music I have in my own collection).

As for the "Touch of Evil" opening, the only thing that could have made it more awesome (yet obviously impossible at the time) would be if the car exploding had been part of the continuous shot.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:30 PM on November 6, 2010


That opening long shot in Touch of Evil makes me want to watch The Player again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 AM on November 7, 2010


It doesn't seem to be on YouTube, but "A Quiet Happening" from the soundtrack to Gunn...Number One! is just straight-up great jazz.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:34 AM on November 7, 2010


Ah, Mancini. The mascot's best friend.

Truly a god among men. The theme song to "What's Happening" will be around longer than any of us mortals.
posted by Aquaman at 7:52 AM on November 7, 2010


It's worth remembering that Mancini was also master of the orchestral score, as I think his work on Lifeforce attests. And he wrote a rather good book on orchestration itself.
posted by specialbrew at 12:45 PM on November 7, 2010


Like John Williams, Mancini wrote theme music for the NBC Nightly News. Here it is in action.

Also for NBC: the Mystery Movie theme.

The man himself makes an appearance in this Pink Panther short.
posted by evilcolonel at 6:21 PM on November 7, 2010


I love, love, love Henry Mancini - A Shot in the Dark is one of the best instrumental tunes ever, and the two volumes of his music from Peter Gunn are must-haves.

Let us not forget that he also composed the Viewer Mail Theme for Late Night with David Letterman.
posted by usonian at 5:54 AM on November 8, 2010


He's no Danny Elfman.
And for that, I'm very, very grateful.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:30 AM on November 8, 2010


Every Danny Elfman score:

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LA LA la la LA LA la la
posted by shakespeherian at 9:52 AM on November 8, 2010


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