23 Aug 2014
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Sunday Singalong - Moon River

Andy Williams' signature song was a comeback for Johnny Mercer, and one more hit for Henry Mancini.

Andy Williams had a great voice, a smooth and endearing style, and was bound to be known as one of the great vocalists of his age, except for one problem - timing. He was born a little too late. By the time Williams arrived on the scene, he only got a year or two of national fame before a little band called The Beatles took over the airwaves and the dominated the charts from then on. 

But Williams did all right for himself. He got his own TV show, and had a number one monster hit with "Moon River." No matter what you feel about Williams' abilities, you have to admit he handles this tune masterfully. There is a distinct longing in there, coupled with a ray of hope, that makes what otherwise could be a somber journey into one that just may have a happy ending.

The great Henry Mancini composed the tune for this song, which was written for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. The melody was designed for the vocal range of Audrey Hepburn, star of the film, who was supposed to sing it in the movie. And the words? Well, it was a comeback song for lyricist Johnny Mercer, who stands with the absolute best of American songwriters of any genre. Mercer had been falling on hard times, thanks to the diminishing popularity of swing and jazz-based music on the charts. "Moon River" was his comeback, and he swung for the fences and hit it out of the park. 

RIP, Andy Williams. Your voice moved millions of hearts, and who could ask for a greater legacy than that? 


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