"Moon River, wider than a mile" . . .
Rafting Down Moon River
Andy Williams died last week at 84, as everyone knows. He was well-loved as a singer and famous for his rendition of the song "Moon River," by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini:
Moon River, wider than a mile,The song is quite lovely -- somehow expressing that certain uncertain something about the ineffability of life in this world -- but even though I grew up with Andy's show from 1962 to 1971, I never heard him sing it in its entirety the many times I watched -- he always sang the first two lines, then trailed off . . .
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end --
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.
So, let's now listen.
He was very good-looking . . . in a boyish way. I see -- and always saw -- his appeal. But I prefer the rendition by Audrey Hepburn, the first full version I heard -- and only in university when I first saw Breakfast at Tiffany's -- so let's listen to her sing . . .
Hepburn fits the song better, and so does my life, so I prefer her version, for Andy never was a drifter . . .
I don't mean to criticize Andy. I appreciate him. But there's irony in him being associated with this song, given that "he never released it as a single because his record company feared such lines as 'my huckleberry friend' were too confusing and old-fashioned for teens." The company misjudged teenagers, who probably would have gotten the point about Jim and his friend, Huckleberry Finn, and would therefore have made the connection to drifting down the Mississippi on a raft as a metaphor for life . . .
I guess Andy just didn't have it in him to fully adopt the song's lyrics as his own, despite claiming "Moon River" as his signature song.
But perhaps I misjudge Andy, for he was a collector of "sculptures and paintings by renowned artists like Willem de Kooning, Henry Moore, Kenneth Noland, Donald Roller Wilson, Jack Bush, Jacque Lipchitz, and Robert Motherwell."
People are often more complex than given credit for . . .