Henry Mancini - The Ultimate Pink Panther

The Ultimate Pink Panther CD cover The Pink Panther theme is one of those iconic themes which are instantly recognisable to many people, no matter what generation they belong to. This is in part due to its use on the ever popular Pink Panther cartoon series, but the theme and the cartoon character both started out as accompaniments to the original Pink Panther film starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. The popularity of the inspector and other characters resulted in an extended series of films. In addition to these recurring characters, the one constant throughout the series was the Pink Panther theme and other music by Henry Mancini. Mancini created a fantastic main theme and many other tracks for these films with his characteristic Jazz sound, ranging from the laid-back and dreamy through to lively songs and instrumentals suggesting the European countries visited by Clouseau on his investigations. Mancini is a master at this type of music, with good humour seemingly oozing effortlessly from his pen.

In addition to the cat's main theme, there are other well-known themes including the cartoon inspector's inspecting theme from "A Shot in the Dark", the second film in the series. For the sake of accuracy, note that Mancini didn't compose all the tracks presented here but one or two are Mancini arrangements. "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" for example was composed by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner for the film musical "Gigi", and in "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" Mancini quotes from a lot of other recognisable pieces of music, including a snatch from "The Sound of Music". However with these humourous exceptions, the vast body of music on this celebratory album is by Mancini himself, and a great collection it is too for all Panther and Mancini fans. This soundtrack CD is available from: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, and Amazon.com in the US. And if you want to play the Pink Panther theme on piano, here is a suitable version from Sheet Music Plus.

A fascinating piece of trivia is that John Williams was the jazz pianist during the recording sessions for the original "Pink Panther" film.

CD Track listing:

    The Pink Panther Sheet Music for Piano Solo
  • The Pink Panther Theme - the inimitable sax theme
  • Royal Blue
  • Campagne and Quail
  • The Village Inn
  • It had better be Tonight
  • Piano and Strings
  • Shades of Sennett
  • A Shot in the Dark - the Cartoon Inspector's theme tune from the second film
  • The Shadow of Paris - a bitter sweet song with a gypsy violin
  • Summer in Gstaad - a instrumental with accordian suggesting Swiss yodelling, from "The Return of the Pink Panther"
  • So Smooth - a gently lilting tango
  • The Greatest Gift
  • The Orange Float
  • Dreamy
  • The Wet Look
  • Main Title from The Pink Panther Strikes Again - see if you can recognise all the different tunes quoted
  • Bier Fest Polka - what it says on the tin, loving rendered by a German wind band
  • Come to Me - sung by Tom Jones, and Peter Sellers (in a very poor Edith Piaf style)
  • Until you Love Me
  • The Inpector Clouseau Theme
  • After the Shower - from Revenge of the Pink Panther
  • Hong Kong Fireworks - a Chinese Charleston?
  • Thank Heaven for Little Girls - sung by Sellers, this is a march version of the tune made famous by Maurice Chevalier in "Gigi"
  • The Pink Panther Theme - a wordless but not humourless vocal arrangement of the theme for harmonised voices