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The Pink Panther & Other Hits

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Album Review

The Pink Panther is another fine, early-'60s soundtrack from Henry Mancini. The title track became one of his most recognizable themes and kicks off a pleasant program of dreamy lounge cuts and Latin-tinged numbers. As he did on many other movie/TV albums (Touch of Evil, Peter Gunn, etc.), Mancini also includes some noirish, big band numbers, like "The Tiber Twist" and the main title. Along with these up-tempo songs, he balances out the mostly light material with the solidly swinging mambos "The Village Inn," "Something for Sellars" (as in Peter Sellars, the movies' star), and "It Had Better Be Tonight" (co-written by frequent partner Johnny Mercer and something of a minor vocal hit upon its release). The program's highlights, though, come from the kind of sublime (some might say cheesy) ballads he usually included on his soundtracks; the after-hours jazz tune "Royal Blue" stands out in particular, with its tasteful string arrangement and glowing trumpet solo. This is a great title for fans of Mancini's lounge/soundtrack material, but those more into his jazz material should consider either his Peter Gunn or Combo soundtracks.

Biography

Born: 16 April 1924 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

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...
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