Thursday, October 04, 2012

"Moon River, wider than a mile" . . .

Jim and Huck
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,
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.
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 . . .

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 . . .

Labels: ,


At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we loast a television icon of our youth. I was fortunate enough in the early 90's to play in a charity golf tournament in Branson, MO, where Andy Williams and a number of other Branson "celebrities" also participated. I played in the charity event for two years. I got to meet Andy, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, and others at the tournament. Andy was gracious and seemed to remember me the 2nd year, as he called me by name. One thing that struck me about Andy was how small in stature the man really was.


At 5:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I thought he might be small, for his head looked large compared to his frame, but he was otherwise well-proportioned.

Thanks for the anecdote. I imagined that he might very well be a gracious man, and I'm glad to hear that I was right.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Nice to hear he was a gracious man. I always associate Andy Williams and that lovely song with my parents; Moon River and Two for the Road (another song with a Mancini/Hepburn connection) are two of their songs...

I do like the Audrey Hepburn version of the song, but my favorite version is by Nancy Lamott.

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, KM. Let's listen to Lamott's version.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home