Henry Mancini: The Pink Panther Theme
The Pink Panther Theme
Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
The Pink Panther (BMG / Victor 99725)
Plas Johnson (tenor sax),
and orchestra conducted by Henry Mancini.
Composed by Henry Mancini.
Recorded: Hollywood, September 16-18, 1963
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Who is the coolest of the cool cats? Certainly the laconic and iconic panther who parades around to this tune makes the short list. But this theme song also represents a milestone in cinematic music. Cool jazz has always been more than just an interpretive style; it also possesses a mysterious symbolic resonance with the general public, and summons up strong mental images that even the jazz-o-phobic seem to find enticing. No one understood this better during the late 1950s and early 1960s than Henry Mancini, who continually raided the warehouses of jazztown to find inspiration for his immensely popular film and television scores. This is one of his grandest moments, and if they ever crown the king of the cats, Mancini's chart will be used for the coronation march. But also give credit to saxophonist Plas Johnson, who will forever be associated with this catchy melody. In a truly cool universe, everyone would get a personal theme song as stealthy and hip as this one.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia