Henry Mancini makes his return to Music Monday, with yet another bouncy tune, featuring the young version of an animal doing the opposite of running.
Previously, on Music Monday…Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun know “What’s Happening!!” in this Music Monday installment from April 9, 2018!
This week, we stay on the “novelty-style song” kick that Henry Mancini was known for, and is a song about an animal that is not pink nor a panther. This song was written as part of a impromptu scene in a 1962 movie, won Mancini a Grammy, and was actually never released as a single, yet is one of Henry Mancini’s most popular songs.
The movie is Hatari!, the animal is the never-forgetting elephant, and the song is “Baby Elephant Walk.”
“Baby Elephant Walk” employs the use of brass instruments (especially the repeated blast of a tuba), combined with woodwinds, meant to depict an elephant toddler, plodding and excited. The intro of the song is played on the calliope, which suggests the sound of a circus.
In addition to Mancini’s orchestra’s performance, Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra took this song to #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1962, as well as #10 on the Easy Listening Chart. It was covered by several artists in the 1960s, and has appeared on numerous Mancini compilations. More recently, it was featured in a 2016 Land Rover commercial.
In 2010, I made a “music video” set to this song, featuring clips from the 1953 Looney Tunes short film “Punch Trunk.” That’s the one where the tiny five-inch elephant arrives in a crate of bananas, and its roar, not to mention its short stature, terrorize a city.
It is one of my favorite Looney Tunes shorts, and never fails to amuse. I’ve since lost the video I made, but it was one of my first music videos, and one I was particularly proud of!
At the end of the day, “Baby Elephant Walk” has a light-hearted nature that puts it in humorous context, and its legacy is to make you smile…and get the song stuck in your head.
Let me know if that happens to you.
Watch out for tiny elephants too!
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!