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Andy Williams - Moon River (1970)

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Published on Sep 26, 2012

Andy Williams performs his signature song, "Moon River" on his television show, February 7, 1970. Andy was 42 years old at the time. I made a mistake in the credits at the end of the video - it should say "Lyrics - Johnny Mercer, Music - Henry Mancini." I meant to correct it before posting the video, but forgot.

"Moon River" is a song composed by Johnny Mercer (lyrics) and Henry Mancini (music) in 1961, for whom it won that year's Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was originally sung in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Audrey Hepburn, and has since been covered by many other artists. The song also won the 1962 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

It became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and performed it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962. Williams's version was disliked by Cadence Records president Archie Bleyer, who believed it had little or no appeal to teenagers. Andy Williams's version never charted, except as an LP track, which he recorded for Columbia in a hit album of 1962.

Williams said he never tired of singing "Moon River," whose melody he considered "beautiful" and whose lyrics he called "timeless."

"You wouldn't believe how 'Moon River' became a hit," he said in a 1989 interview with the Chicago Tribune. "I was having dinner with [songwriters] Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, who had just finished recording the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's,' with Audrey Hepburn singing 'Moon River' out on the balcony with a guitar.

"So Mancini and Mercer played this song for me, which I thought was great. But my record company was really into singles then, and they said: 'I don't think phrases like 'my Huckleberry friend' will make it with the kids — they won't know what it means.'"

But about four weeks before the 1962 Academy Awards program, he recalled, "I was invited to sing 'Moon River' on the Oscars show, and Columbia Records decided we ought to rush a 'Moon River' album into the stores, because that tune looked like a shoo-in for the 'best song' Oscar.

"So they quickly put out an album, had it in the stores on the day of the Oscars, and the next morning it sold 500,000 copies."

Andy Williams, one of the last crooners from the golden age of easy-listening pop music, died September 25, 2012 at his home in Branson, Mo. after a long illness. He was 84.

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