This week’s Instrumentals Tuesday pick is the “Peter Gunn Theme” by Ray Anthony. The original “Peter Gunn Theme” was composed by Henry Mancini for the TV crime drama show Peter Gunn, which starred Craig Stevens as the jazz-loving private investigator. Mancini’s recording was released on the soundtrack album The Music from Peter Gunn in 1959. It was so well received, that Mancini was awarded an Emmy and two Grammys (Album of the Year and Best Arrangement).
Ray Anthony recorded a single version of “Peter Gunn Theme” in 1959, and it went to #12 on the R&B Chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. And it is hot. Mancini arranged it, and the record features Plas Johnson on tenor saxophone.
There have been many covers, including a popular one by Duane Eddy. Other versions include those by Sarah Vaughn (which had lyrics added), Pete Candoli and His Orchiestra, The Kingsmen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers, and Art of Noise (which featured Duane Eddy).
In the 1950s and ’60s, when big band music was waning, Ray Anthony came along and made big band music sound modern and hip. He was known as a rock ‘n’ roller among band leaders. Anthony started his career as a trumpeter in the Glenn Miller band and played with them until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war he formed The Ray Anthony Orchestra which had big hits with “The Bunny Hop,” “Dragnet,” and “Hokey Pokey.” In 1955 Anthony married sex symbol actress Mamie Van Doren. During the late 1950s Ray Anthony also had an acting career and appeared in several films, including his role as Jimmy Dorsey in The Five Pennies.
For More Golden Oldies Music
The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.
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