Monday, February 23, 2009

50 years ago: Henry Mancini hit #1 for 1st of 10 weeks with Music from Peter Gunn

First posted 3/25/2008; updated 10/2/2020.

Music from Peter Gunn

Henry Mancini

Charted: February 9, 1959

Peak: 110 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: jazz/ TV soundtrack


  1. Peter Gunn
  2. Sorta Blue
  3. The Brothers Go to Mother’s
  4. Dreamsville
  5. Session at Pete’s Pad
  6. Soft Sounds
  7. Fallout!
  8. The Floater
  9. Slow and Easy
  10. A Profound Gass
  11. Brief and Breezy
  12. Not from Dixie

Total Running Time: 39:52


4.304 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

Quotable: “A key piece of jazz and pop music history” – Bruce Eder, All Music Guide


About the Album:

This is “a key piece of jazz and pop music history.” AMG The television soundtrack for Peter Gunn was the first recipient of the Grammy for Album of the Year. In 1958, the show was “one of the unexpected hits of the new television season, capturing the imagination of millions of viewers by mixing private eye action with a jazz setting. Composer Henry Mancini was more than fluent in jazz, and his music nailed down the popularity of the series.” AMG The soundtrack did so well that RCA Victor released a second volume, More Music From Peter Gunn.

The main title theme is “a driving, ominous, exciting piece of music” AMG “notable for its combination of jazz orchestration with a straightforward rock ‘n roll beat.” WK In his autobiography, Did They Mention the Music?, Mancini explained that he “used guitar and piano in unison…It was sustained throughout the piece, giving it a sinister effect, with some frightened saxophone sounds and some shouting brass.” WK

As to other songs on the collection, “the music holds up: Session at Pete’s Pad is a superb workout for the trumpets of Pete Candoli, Uan Rasey, Conrad Gozzo, and Frank Beach, while Barney Kessel's electric guitar gets the spotlight during Dreamsville; and Sorta Blue and Fallout are full-ensemble pieces that constitute quintessential ‘cool’ West Coast jazz of the period. In other words, it’s all virtuoso orchestral jazz, presented in its optimum form.” AMG “This a doubly valuable addition to any jazz or soundtrack collection of the era.” AMG

Notes: This was rereleased in 1998 with four bonus tracks (“Walkin’ Bass,” “Blue Steel,” “Spook!,” and “Blues for Mother’s”) originally featured on More Music from Peter Gunn.

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