Henry Mancini ‎– The Music From "Peter Gunn"

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The show's use of modern jazz music, at a time when most television shows used a generic orchestra for the background, was another distinctive touch that set the standard for many years to come. Innovative jazz themes seemed to accompany every move Gunn made, ably rendered by Henry Mancini and his orchestra (which at that time included John Williams), lending the character even more of an air of suave sophistication. Famous jazz musicians occasionally made guest appearances, such as trumpeter Shorty Rogers in an early episode.

Most memorable of all was the show's opening (and closing) "Peter Gunn Theme", composed and performed by Mancini. A hip, bluesy, brassy number with an insistent piano-and-bass line, the song became an instant hit for Mancini, earning him an Emmy Award and two Grammys, and became as associated with crime fiction as Monty Norman's theme to the James Bond films is associated with espionage. The harmonies fit the mood of the show, which was a key to success. Like the main theme of "In the Mood," taken from Wingy Manone's "Tar Paper Stomp" for Glenn Miller's most famous number, the bass line was lifted from someone else's work, a boogie-woogie tune, "Down the Road Apiece," composed by Don Raye for the Will Bradley/Ray McKinley big band. Mancini changed one of the eight notes of the base line for the ostinato in "Peter Gunn Theme." No harmony actually is written into the song, it is a one-chord piece until the coda.

The soundtrack album by Henry Mancini was a smash, reaching #1 in Billboard's Pop LP Charts. Ray Anthony won the singles war, reaching #8 on Billboard's Hot 100 with his 45 of the title theme. Mancini's single made the Variety magazine Top 25 retail chart, selling well in the Boston area.

"The Peter Gunn Theme" has been performed by numerous jazz, blues, and rock artists since, including Jeff Beck, Ray Anthony, Elvis Presley (on the '68 Comeback Special), Duane Eddy, Quincy Jones, The Remo Four, The Blues Brothers, Croon & The Creepers, Brian Setzer, The Cramps, Jimi Hendrix, Bosse-de-Nage, Gary Hoey, Aerosmith, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roy Buchanan, Melvin Taylor, The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey's McGee, The Swingle Singers, Pulp, They Might Be Giants, Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, Johnny Guitar Seven, The Silencers, and many others. A version by Art of Noise (with guest artist Duane Eddy reprising his original 1959 performance on twang guitar taking the piano riff) earned a Grammy Award in 1987. Furthermore, the riff has been incorporated into many blues and jazz songs. The theme is also used as the background music for the 1983 arcade game Spy Hunter; Saliva recorded a song which used the main theme, with added lyrics, for the 2001 remake. Versions of the theme have appeared in countless films, including The Blues Brothers and Sixteen Candles. The song was used by Monty Python in their sketch, "The Bishop". In 2004 the theme was used in the Disney direct-to-video production, The Lion King 1½. Today, many people with no knowledge of the original show still can identify the theme.

Versions (51)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
LPM-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor LPM-1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956 Henry Mancini La Musica De Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor LPM-1956 Argentina 1959 Sell This Version
31.224, LPM-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album) RCA Victor, RCA Victor 31.224, LPM-1956 1959 Sell This Version
BBL-70 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album) RCA Victor BBL-70 Brazil 1959 Sell This Version
SF-5033 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album) RCA Victor SF-5033 UK 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor LPM-1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
RD 27123 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor RD 27123 UK 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono, Ind) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE US 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
L10680 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA L10680 Australia 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA Victor LSP-1956 Canada 1959 Sell This Version
LPS-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA Victor LPS-1956 Canada 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA Victor LSP-1956 Germany 1959 Sell This Version
LS-5132 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) Victor LS-5132 Japan 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album) RCA Victor LSP-1956 Germany 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Ind) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM 1956, LPM1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono) RCA Victor, RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM 1956, LPM1956 Canada 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2 Canada 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2 US 1959 Sell This Version
LPM-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) RCA Victor LPM-1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE) RCA Victor LSP-1956 Canada 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RP, Hol) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RP, Ind) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Roc) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US 1959 Sell This Version
FSP-241 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(Reel, 2tr Stereo, 7" Reel, Album) RCA Victor FSP-241 US 1959 Sell This Version
ERL 50013 Henry Mancini Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) Eros ERL 50013 UK 1960 Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2, LPM 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) RCA Victor, RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2, LPM 1956 US 1965 Sell This Version
RST 49 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, RE) RCA Victor RST 49 South Africa 1966 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, RE) RCA LSP-1956 Canada 1972 Sell This Version
ANS1-2143 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(8-Trk, Album, RE) RCA ANS1-2143 US 1977 Sell This Version
ANL1-2143 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE) RCA ANL1-2143 US 1977 Sell This Version
1956-2-R Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, RE, RM) BMG, RCA 1956-2-R US 1988 Sell This Version
BG2 99610 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, Club, RE) Buddha Records BG2 99610 US 1999 Sell This Version
7446599610-2 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, Promo, RE) Buddha Records 7446599610-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
74321 692032 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, RE) Buddha Records 74321 692032 Europe 1999 Sell This Version
7446599610 2 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, RE) Buddha Records 7446599610 2 US 1999 Sell This Version
LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE) RCA Victor, Speakers Corner Records LSP-1956 Germany 2003 Sell This Version
709312 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(CD, Album, RE) Hallmark Music & Entertainment 709312 Europe 2010 Sell This Version
DOS554 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE) Dol DOS554 Europe 2014 Sell This Version
DOST661H Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE, Blu) Dol DOST661H Europe 2014 Sell This Version
DOST661H Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE, Ora) Dol DOST661H Europe 2014 Sell This Version
APP 1956-45, LSP-1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(2x12", Album, RE, 200) Analogue Productions, RCA Victor APP 1956-45, LSP-1956 US 2015 Sell This Version
DOST661H Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono, RE, Tea) DOL DOST661H Europe 2016 Sell This Version
CAPP 1956 SA Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(SACD, Hybrid, Album, RE, RM) Analogue Productions CAPP 1956 SA US 2016 Sell This Version
DR10016 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, RE) Del-Ray Records DR10016 US 2017 Sell This Version
1956-4-R Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(Cass, Album, RE) RCA Victor 1956-4-R US Unknown Sell This Version
AT-1071 Henry Mancini The Music From "Peter Gunn"(LP, Album, Mono, RE) Audioton AT-1071 Mexico Unknown Sell This Version
LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2, LPM 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, Mono, RE) RCA Victor, RCA Victor, RCA Victor LPM-1956, LPM-1956 RE 2, LPM 1956 US Unknown Sell This Version
ANL1 2143 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE) RCA ANL1 2143 Australia & New Zealand Unknown Sell This Version
LSP-1956, LSP 1956 Henry Mancini The Music From Peter Gunn(LP, Album, RE, Ora) RCA Victor, RCA Victor LSP-1956, LSP 1956 US Unknown Sell This Version

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vouvounix

vouvounix

April 18, 2017
referencing The Music From Peter Gunn, 2x12", Album, RE, 200, APP 1956-45, LSP-1956

probably the best version ever made from the analog tapes
solidwoodtiki

solidwoodtiki

May 23, 2016
referencing The Music From Peter Gunn, LP, Album, LSP-1956, LSP 1956

While in a local record store I heard a customer exclaim, "This is hot" when the owner put Peter Gunn on the turntable. I suppose he had never heard of Peter Gunn or played it hundreds of times in Pep Band decades before like I had but the descriptor is apt. The Spanish or Italian (unlicensed in U.S.?) reissue have QUITE a diminished sound compared to the all the RCA versions- while the RCA versions are really deep well-rounded "hot" sound.
big56m

big56m

October 4, 2012
referencing The Music From Peter Gunn, LP, Album, Ind, LSP-1956, LSP 1956
I have this RE 2 version with identical sleeve, but it IS a dynaflex pressing and has an orange RCA Victor center label with the modern "RCA" rather than the "Meatball" and "His Master's Voice" logos. Not knowing what the center label on this release looks like, I'm wondering if mine should be a new entry, or addition to images as alternate center label.

Thanks