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Peter Gunn Theme


Duane Eddy

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was originally written by Henry Mancini for the TV series Peter Gunn. The show ran from 1958-1961, and used this song performed by Henry Mancini And His Orchestra as its theme. Many artists have since interpreted the theme, with Eddy's version being the most famous.
Eddy produced his signature 'twang' sound by means of a Gretsch 6120 with a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece through a 100-watt amp-and a steel water tank for reverb.
In 1986 the British techno-pop trio The Art Of Noise covered this with Eddy guesting on guitar. It was a Top 10 hit around the world, peaking at #8 in the UK and won the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. It also gave Eddy the distinction of being the only instrumentalist to have had Top 10 hit singles in 4 different decades in the UK.
Eddy recalled to Mojo magazine November 2010 why he decided to cover this song: "We were doing the second album, Especially For You. (Saxophonist) Steve Douglas said, 'Duane, I learnt Peter Gunn last night.' I said, 'Well, that's nice.' He thought it'd just be good as an album cut but I didn't think so. So we forgot about it and we got 11 or 12 songs done. Lee and me were sitting there discussing what we could do and Steve wandered over and said, 'We could do Peter Gunn.' I thought, 'What the heck! It's only an album cut.' So we figured out the intro, then the riff, and we cut it. It became a single because somebody in Australia in the record company took it from the album and it got to #3. Somebody in England noticed that so they released it as a single. It got to the top of the charts. Finally, Jamie noticed this and said, 'Maybe we should make this a single in the US.' So that's how Peter Gunn came to be."
Duane Eddy
More Duane Eddy songs
More instrumental songs
More songs that were hits for more than one artist
More songs that were TV show theme songs

Comments (10):

Sorry I forgot to share that Poison Ivy's cover of "Peter Gunn" appears on the 1996 "Shots in the Dark," a Henry Mancini tribute CD released by Del-Fi's Donna subsidiary (#DOLP 2113).
- Jim, Boston, MA
Poison Ivy (a/k/a "Ivy Rorschach," nee Kristy Wallace, bassist of The Cramps) also recorded a cover of the "Peter Gunn" theme, taking the classic tune of Henry Mancini from noir to nightmare, as was the wont of the great psychobilly sound had by The Cramps, now sadly no more due to the 2009 death of lead vocalist "Lux Interior" (Erick Lee Purkhiser ), who was also married to "Rorschach"/Wallace.
- Jim, Boston, MA
This tune was also used in a 1980s video game called (I believe) Spy Hunter.
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
Henry Mancini won the very first (1958) Grammy for Album of the Year; The Music From Peter Gunn Album... {He also won a Grammy for Best Arrangement for the same album}
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Ray Anthony's version peaked at #8 in 1959, Duane Eddy's at #27 in 1960, & Deodato's at #84 in 1976. Henry Mancini's version was never released as a single record...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I would like to add Henry's comment on his own song..(paraphrasing)"the whole thing had basically one chord throughout the whole tune, and a repeating figure on the piano,
played marverlously by John Williams(of Star Wars Fame)That was the beginning of becoming known, and all of my fame and what I've built up started with that."
- steve dotstar, los angeles, CA
the big hit record was by Ray Anthony and his orchestra(1958?)...Mancini's verison was out also, but didn't make as big of a splash.(I prefer MAncini's)I don't know where Mancini's version was recorded -RCA or Universal?
but it was a bit more subtler, while still being dynamic.
- steve dotstar, los angeles, CA
The Ventures also covered this song. An early digitized version was used as the main theme to the "SpyHunter" video game.
- Brian, Bentonville, AR
Emerson, Lake and Palmer have also covered this song, and have been known to perform it live.
- Joshua, La Crosse, WI
The Peter Gunn theme was an absolute sensation: it was played in every conceivable context and parodied endlessly.
- Mark, Lancaster, OH
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