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Michael Bublé, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder & More Help Celebrate Centennial of Henry Mancini’s Birth

Mancini seemed to have a charmed life and career, except for dying at the relatively young age of 70.

The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions

The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions

Courtesy Photo

April 16 marks the centennial of Henry Mancini’s birth. The composer won album of the year at the inaugural Grammy Awards in 1959 (for The Music From Peter Gunn) and was the first composer to win back-to-back Oscars for best original song (for “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses,” both written with lyricist Johnny Mercer).

The Mancini family is celebrating the centennial on multiple fronts, and has announced The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions – Henry Has Company. The album, with a title that nods to Ray Charles’ posthumous 2004 hit Genius Loves Company, will be available June 21 via Primary Wave. The first single, “Peter Gunn” — featuring Quincy Jones, John Williams, Herbie Hancock, and Arturo Sandoval — is out now.


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On being asked to contribute to the upcoming album, Michael Bublé said: “When the Mancini family calls and asks you to be a part of honoring the legacy of a genius, you say, ‘Thank you so very much. I would love to be there.’ … You say yes!”

Here’s the full track list for The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions – Henry Has Company.

  • “Peter Gunn” feat. Quincy Jones, John Williams, Herbie Hancock, and Arturo Sandoval
  • “Pink Panther” feat. Lizzo and Sir James Galway
  • “Moon River” feat. Michael Bublé with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • “Lujon (Slow Hot Wind)” feat. Pat Metheny
  • “Days of Wine and Roses” feat. Take 6 & Monica Mancini
  • “Baby Elephant Walk” feat. Snarky Puppy
  • “Moon River / Audrey’s Letter,” feat. Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale, Stevie Wonder, and Audrey Hepburn

On June 23, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and special guests Bublé, Cynthia Erivo and Monica Mancini will raise the curtain on the Bowl’s 2024 season with a 100th birthday celebration for Henry Mancini conducted by Thomas Wilkins.

The Henry Mancini 100th Sessions

Additionally, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday unveiled an installation on behalf of Mancini’s 100th birthday in its Cleveland Rocks gallery. The installation features Mancini’s Grammy for album of the year, a bomber jacket with embroidered “Hank” from the Pink Panther Tour, a handwritten score of Peter Gunn and more.

TCM will honor Mancini’s birthday Tuesday with a lineup of programming dedicated to the late composer. The full 24-hour schedule will feature classics that he scored, including The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Two for the Road.

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This past Valentine’s Day, Tiffany’s in New York displayed a handwritten letter from Audrey Hepburn, the star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to Mancini. Last week, Tiffany’s in Tokyo unveiled its display of Mancini’s two Oscars for the film (best original song and best original score) as well as Hepburn’s dress from the film. The exhibition is open to the public until June 23.

CBS Sunday Morning has aired two tribute episodes on the Mancini centennial, with a third episode to be aired prior to the release of the album.

On Aug. 4, music director, conductor and arranger Kevin Stites will explore Mancini’s music at the annual Gala Benefit Evening at the Ravinia Festival. Curated and hosted by actor Rob Lindley, “Mancini at 100: The Music of Henry Mancini” features Broadway vocalists Jessie Mueller, Norm Lewis and Karen Mason.

This fall, The Extraordinary Life of Henry Mancini: Official Graphic Novel will hit shelves. This new graphic novel, written by David Calcano and illustrated by the studio Fantoons, illustrates every step in Mancini’s journey.

Mancini’s songs have been covered by a broad range of artists, including Beyoncé, Carpenters, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and R.E.M.

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“Moon River” ranked No. 4 on AFI’s 2004 list AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs, behind “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca and “Singin’ in the Rain” from the movie of the same name. (Of these four songs, only “Moon River” and Over the Rainbow” were written for those films.)

“Days of Wine and Roses” ranked No. 39 on that list. Mancini’s score for The Pink Panther ranked No. 20 on AFI’s 2005 list AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores.

Mancini was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy posthumously in 1995.

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Mancini seemed to have a charmed life and career, except for dying at the relatively young age of 70 of pancreatic cancer. He died in Los Angeles on June 14, 1994, while he was working on the Broadway adaptation of Victor/Victoria. He had won his fourth Oscar for that 1982 film.

This article was first published by Billboard U.S.

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Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.

Music

Obituaries: Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle, Disney Film Songwriter Richard M. Sherman

This week we also acknowledge the passing of Train bassist Charlie Colin and Jon Wysocki, founding member and drummer of Staind.

Doug Ingle, singer/keyboardist who co-founded the heavy rock band Iron Butterfly, died on May 24, at age 78. A cause has not been reported.

"Ingle, writer of Iron Butterfly’s signature song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was the last surviving member of the group’s classic lineup, which was formed in San Diego in 1966. Drummer Ron Bushy died in 2021 at age 79, bassist Lee Dornan passed in 2012 at age 70, and guitarist Erik Brann died in 2003 at age 52," Billboard's obituary notes.

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