Song Lyric Sunday: Two By Mancini and Mercer

Jim left one in my wheelhouse this week when he asked for "songs featured in films that made the charts (please make sure you reference the movie)." That last part won’t be hard to do, since they’re both theme songs from the movies, and both were written by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. I consider Mancini to be one of the great American composers, and there are few lyricists that are as good as Mercer, in my never-humble opinion.

The first is the theme song from the 1962 film Days Of Wine And Roses, which was directed by Blake Edwards and starred Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford and Jack Klugman. (I wrote about the synergy that the combination of Edwards and Mancini had in my first A to Z Challenge.) Mancini and Mercer won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the 1963 Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. There were many covers done of the song, but the most successful was by Andy Williams, who took the song to #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #26 on the Hot 100. Andy’s album, 1963’s Days of Wine and Roses and Other TV Requests, reached #1 on the Hot 200 album chart.

The lyrics are from AZLyrics

The days of wine and roses laugh and run away like a child at play
Through a meadow land toward a closing door
A door marked “nevermore” that wasn’t there before

The lonely night discloses just a passing breeze filled with memories
Of the golden smile that introduced me to
The days of wine and roses and you

(The lonely night discloses) just a passing breeze filled with memories
Of the golden smile that introduced me to
The days of wine and roses and you-oo-oo

The second Mancini-Mercer masterpiece was the theme song for the 1963 suspense thriller/romance/comedy Charade. It was directed by Stanley Donen and starred Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, and James Coburn. (Some will note that, between these two movies, both men who played Oscar Madison in the film and TV versions of The Odd Couple also had parts in one of the films.) Mancini’s Orchestra and Chorus did the most popular version, reaching #15 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #36 on the Hot 100 in 1963.

Again, the lyrics are from AZLyrics

When we played our charade
We were like children posing
Playing at games, acting out names
Guessing the parts we played

Oh what a hit we made
We came on next to closing
Best on the bill, lovers until
Love left the masquerade

Fate seemed to pull the strings
I turned and you were gone
While from the darkened wings
The music box played on

Sad little serenade
Song of my heart’s composing
I hear it still, I always will
Best on the bill
Charade

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for January 30, 2022.

26 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Two By Mancini and Mercer

  1. I am more familiar with Mancini than Mercer, although it seems like Mercer probably wrote the lyrics so I should know him too!

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  2. 2 great songs from 2 great films!! I am not a lover of that minor key dip..I am not sure if I can explain it musically but it is growing on me. Yes, we have Felix and Oscar in The days of Wine and Roses. A sad film whereas Charade is just loads of fun.

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    1. You also had Jack Klugman in “Charade.” He played Oscar in the TV series. For some reason I forgot Jack Lemmon was Felix. That was a funny show. “‘Oscar – we’re out of cornflakes. FU’ It took me three weeks to figure out that FU was Felix Unger!”

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  3. Haven’t heard Days of Wine and Roses in a long time. Nice. His voice always reminds me of Christmas album my parents had. I’d listen to it as I made pinecone Christmas wreaths to sell (to buy my first horse). I haven’t seen Charade in a long time, either. Didn’t think Audrey and Cary had much chemistry but loved them both. Nice post.

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    1. Everyone who has The Andy Williams Christmas Album, like I do, loves it. It was one of Mom’s faves for Christmas. Mom and Dad both liked him, especially his interpretation of “Moon River” (not surprisingly, another Mancini-Mercer song).

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