♫ Moon River ♫

Some songs, I think, are simply timeless … or perhaps it is just that I am old and nostalgia has taken hold of my mind today.  I’ve been in a dark place of late … I see too much wrong in the world and realize that my small contributions toward righting the wrongs are pretty irrelevant.  So, tonight I went searching for a song that would take me back to another time … not necessarily a simpler or better time … just a different time.

This was used as Audrey Hepburn’s theme song in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn sings the song in the movie, and many have recorded this, including Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra, but the one that made the charts in 1961 was Jerry Butler’s version.  Butler’s version reached #11 in the U.S. and #14 in Canada, but it was South African singer Danny Williams’ version that topped the charts at #1 in the UK.  I listened to Danny Williams’ version and frankly, I liked it better than the rest!  I had never heard of him before, but his voice is as silk.

Henry Mancini wrote this song with lyricist Johnny Mercer. The original title was “Blue River,” but Mercer found out another songwriter was using that title.  Moon River is a real river in Savannah, Georgia, where Mercer grew up. His home overlooked the river and he had fond memories of the place. At the time, the river was known as The Back River, but was renamed Moon River in honor of the song, and Johnny Mercer’s home along the river became known as the Moon River House.  According to Mancini …

“I reckon I’ll have made around $100,000 on ‘Moon River’ within the next two years or so. It took me about 30 minutes to compose. It had to be in keeping with the character of Holly Golightly, the star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I had to bear in mind the limitations of Audrey Hepburn’s voice. I worked the whole song round a simple guitar basis, although the guitar isn’t heard much during the number.”

Danny Williams originally refused to sing it, saying that Johnny Mercer’s lyrics were nonsensical. But he saw the film and was so moved by it that he relented. Williams died of cancer on 6th December 2005.

With so many good versions to choose from, I was torn.  So, I am giving you a choice tonight, between Jerry Butler’s, Andy Williams’, and Danny Williams’.  Listen to one, to all, or to none … let me know what you think.

Moon River

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossin’ you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the Bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

Writer/s: Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

46 thoughts on “♫ Moon River ♫

  1. Andy Williams interpretation and voice. Though Danny Williams’ voice is richer, but his tempo a bit slow. Moon river is typically one of my parent’s songs. Must have the ’45 disc somewhere. 🙂 heard it most of my early childhood. That song is one of America’s great contributions to the world. 🙂
    Now, maybe I am getting old too, but I am very disgusted at the world. And very concerned at what may happen in the short to mid-term. We have maniacs and crooks running some of the major countries: the Tramp, Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro, Cristina Fernandez has just been re-elected though she is a blatant thief, Salvini tomorrow in Italy? Jesus!
    (Gimme Moon river again!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me link you to my favourite version of the song ~ Mary Black’s

    I love the song, but agree with Rawgod that it can be schmaltzy, too many strings. Black’s version has pared it down; then there is her beautiful voice.
    Please don’t think that your posts are irrelevant. There are many of us who need and appreciate you bringing us the outrages of an outrageous world. At the same time you show us that there are better ways to live.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great song. The Audrey Hepburn version in the movie reveals how good a song it is as she is not known for her singing. As an aside, the book and movie ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” based in Savannah, includes many references to Johnny Mercer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you are enjoying the music posts and trivia! I have a lot of fun with them. Only problem is I do them last thing at night, meaning usually 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., and I sometimes get too tired to do as much with them as I would like. Hugs, my friend! ❤

      Like

  4. The only version I remember is Andy Williams’, but Danny Williams is slowed down, and therefore more melancholy. By way of a sick mind, Danny’s last name should have been Yeats, then we could have William Butler Yeats’ versions.
    My final opinion, too schmaltzy, no matter who sings it. Maybe in a feminine voice such as Hepburn’s it would have been better, but I don’t know if I ever saw the movie. Breakfast at Tiffany’s sounded boring…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just found Hepburn’s version on another blog, Clare’s Cosmos. It was slower, the way Danny sang it. They should have done a duet, The Two Drifters, lol.
      Clare tells us the president of Paramount Pictures wanted the song removed from the movie, and Little Audrey piped up, “Over my dead body!”

      Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t recall whose version I liked back in the day, but probably Andy Williams. Clever … not a sick mind, but a sharp one, for I didn’t make that connection. Actually, when I first read “Danny” Williams, I thought they had typoed and meant Andy, until I thought I should double check, so Googled it. Yeah, you probably would see it as schmaltzy … I like it though … stirs my wanderlust … thinking of a boat, a moon, a river, a guy, and a dog. I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s long, long ago, and as best I remember, it WAS boring. Just out of curiosity, what is your favourite movie of all time? Mine is likely a toss up between “The Sound of Music”, “The King and I”, and “Schindler’s List”.

      Like

      • That is a totally unfair question, because I have favourites in many categories.
        Having said that, many of my favourite movies come from my hippie/rebel days, starting with The Strawberry Statement about a student becoming accidentally involved if a college riot, Tribes, about a recruit in the army, and, of course, The Phantom of the Paradise which I unknowingly helped turn into a cult movie in Winnipeg in the early 70s.
        For comedies my number one movie is Amazon Women on the Moon, with I Love You Alice B Toklas, and Butterflies Are Free close behind. The Ruling Class and Being There are my favourites in British movies, though the second may have been made in the States. I cannot remember my favourite Foreign (subtitled) movies, but I was a big fan when they were available to me, as were Film Noir movies fron the 40s and 50s when I lived in Vancouver, BC. Movies made from Broadway Musicals would start with JC Superstar even though I am atheist, and Sleuth, though I think that came from the London stage. For biograhies I love Gandhi but I was really disappointed with Cry Freedom. From the National Film Board of Canada my favourite movie is Songololo.
        Hollywood movies I am usually not too interested in, though Casablanca is very much a favourite, as is The African Queen. Angels With Dirty Faces was a good one too.
        I know I am missing a number of other genres, but I just cannot remember them anymore. But one sci-fi movie I will never forget is “The Tingler.” It started out in the Canadian Rockies, and in one scene there is a distance sign, Winnipeg 50 miles. Winnipeg is a good 1000 miles from the Rockies. They didn’t proof their movies well in those days…

        Like

          • If you had read the book first, it would have been more real. I was written by a worker in a real mental institution of the 50s or 60s, and while he made it hilarious, it had sharp undertones of what really went on. It was reveatory in scope. And the movie stayed about 85% true to the story, very unusual in Hollywood.

            Liked by 1 person

            • You’re probably right about that. I never did read the book, and I had no idea it was written by a worker in a mental health institution. Puts it somewhat in a different light. Did you ever see “A Clockwork Orange”?

              Like

              • Saw the Winnipeg Grand Opening, the day before it was open to the public. Had read the book years before. Scary stuff, but not in a frighteningly horrid way. Haven’t seen it since. It spoke too loudly…

                Like

              • Don’t really go to movies anymore, but if they are adapted from a novel I do try to read the novel first. Usually the movie disappoints.
                Reading uses my imagination, not someone else’s. “I coulda been a director!”

                Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s