Andy Williams

Days of Wine and Roses

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Although Andy Williams did not score a hit single with Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer's "Moon River" from the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's (the hit versions were by Mancini and Jerry Butler), he became identified with the song after he sang it at the Academy Awards show and then rushed out the LP "Moon River" & Other Great Movie Themes, which became his first Top Ten album. Williams was therefore ready for the next Mancini/Mercer movie effort, "Days of Wine and Roses," the title song of a dramatic film that opened in December 1962. Mancini himself put out a single of the song with a vocal chorus, but Williams quickly followed. He placed his version on the B-side of his next single, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman's "Can't Get Used to Losing You," which took off and hit number one, with "Days of Wine and Roses" making the Top 40. The Days of Wine and Roses LP, which followed, included the two hits along with ten songs Williams was featuring on his network TV show, and with all that exposure the album exploded, spending months at number one and marking Williams' commercial apex. Such historical context seems necessary to explain to later listeners why an essentially mediocre Williams effort is remembered as such a landmark in his career. The album breaks down into essentially straight versions of currently popular ballads -- "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "What Kind of Fool Am I?," "My Coloring Book" -- and revivals of interwar chestnuts that have been given excessively razzle-dazzle arrangements -- "Falling in Love With Love," "You Are My Sunshine," "Exactly Like You." Maybe those orchestrations worked well with dancers as TV production numbers, but on record they sound overdone, and they make the LP an uneven collection despite its commercial success.

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