Henry Mancini / Henry Mancini & His Orchestra

The Pink Panther Theme

Composed by Henry Mancini

Song Review by

"The Pink Panther Theme" was written by Henry Mancini as the opening title music to the film comedy of the same name, which starred Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. The song evolved from a single cartoon cell conceived of the feline character featured in the opening credits, and Mancini only provided a tempo to the animators, rather than a complete score as was usual in the business. The accents of the brass section and the now-famous "dead ant" cadence had an immediate appeal to moviegoers, while jazz musician Plas Johnson was specifically recruited by Mancini for the now-legendary tenor sax solo. Mancini quickly realized that the music was also perfect for the jewel thief's character in the film (played by David Niven), so the opening music became the recurring theme throughout the movie. Mancini's recording is easily the most widely known, though a jazz treatment recorded by alto sax great Phil Woods with trumpeter Carl Saunders merits attention as well.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Pink Panther [Music From the Film Score] 1964 RCA Victor 2:35
The Pink Panther & Other Hits 1987 BMG 2:36
His Greatest Hits [RCA Special Products] 1993 RCA Special Products 2:35
Midnight, Moonlight & Magic: The Very Best of Henry Mancini 2004 BMG Heritage / RCA/BMG Heritage 2:38
Original Album Classics 2008 RCA Victor 2:39
blue highlight denotes editor's pick