#16 – Moon River by Danny Williams

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When most people go to university they get lost in a debauched world of naughtiness and negligence. Others throw themselves into their studies and enrich their minds in the most wonderful of lives.

I tried doing both, liked neither. Instead I spent the first year of university life being a virtual recluse, while writing a blog, similar to this one, where I reviewed every single episode of Sex And The City from my own male perspective. This was its own fantastic logo.

martinthecity

Between December 2008 and November 2009 I reviewed all 94 episodes of the popular series, writing well over 100,000 words in the process. Looking back, I’ve got no idea why I did it, because I hated the show and its characters at the time, and still do.

It was a programme that in my opinion showcased the worst of people, especially the women it tried so hard so make people identify with. As I wrote in my last blog as a conclusion for the series:

“Miranda settled for a life in the suburbs, away from her friends, with her husband who she seems to have nothing in common with, a baby, and his ill mother. Charlotte’s life turned from having a burgeoning career within the New York art world, to a stay at home mum to an adopted baby with a man whom she had to bend over backwards to get to fully love her. Samantha, forever the spark has turned meek , dimmed by cancer, and age. And Carrie, forever the idealist settled for a man she had demonised for years as the bane of her life. She needed the cheater, to stop her from cheating herself. Is that not the most tragic thought you can think of?”

So the show was garbage which let everybody down even further with the release of two films which somehow managed to be even worse than the television shows. Four characters annoying in their own way along with a plethora of peripheral people who stunk up the screen every single time they appeared. Stanford, Anthony, Big, all tossers, with only Aidan a light in an otherwise dark tunnel.

There was but one moment where everything seemed okay. I don’t remember anything else that happened in the episode, I’m guessing something to do with shoes, but there was one scene, funnily enough between Carrie and Big my two least favourite characters just touched me in a way I never would have thought.

In an empty apartment save for some alcohol and some records, this was my first introduction to Moon River which has since gone on to become my favourite love song of all time.

The song was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for Audrey Hepburn’s character of Holly Golightly in the iconic 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany’s, based on the book of the same name.

In the film, Hepburn dressed rather casually to the rest of her attire in the film is sitting below a window ledge, guitar in hand giving a rather terrible version of the track.

Hepburn’s singing voice was legendarily average, and her voice was dubbed by other, better singers in some of her other films, but it wasn’t here and it shows.

Luckily for such a lovely song, still in 1961 the classic crooner Andy Williams recorded his own version of the song, and is my own personal favourite. In an odd twist, the song became Christmas number one in 1961, but with another version, and another Williams.

Danny Williams was a South African pop singer with a smooth voice which saw him achieve success in that time period. His version has more of a gospel feel than the Andy Williams version, which has more of a traditional feel. The Danny Williams version had gospel overtones, and less of the signature Henry Mancini sound which was a big part of the songs initial appeal.

I quite like this cover, and without wanting to come across like a wannabee music journalist (I’ll have to avoid using words like ‘soaring’ and ‘anthemic’) it has a very spooky and soulful sound with a very controlled vocal performance that manages to be powerful without trying too hard.

In terms of its placing on this countdown, and its merits as a Christmas number one, well quite honestly, what is Christmas without love? Half the adverts on television in December are focused on Christmas, and pretty much all of those are centered around love and the needs we all have as human beings.

At Christmas, the idea of making people feel good about themselves becomes a paramount point for all of us to make. Throughout a year many of us don’t spend enough time being nice, but when December rolls around it’s a chance to make amends and do something significant for people we love.

That’s what Moon River means to me. It’s a song about hope, and a song about having a special connection with someone that goes beyond dates on a calendar and advertisements, and into what’s truly in hearts and mind.

Big makes a joke in that Sex And The City clip about mishearing the word “drifters” in the song as “twisters.” In a way it makes more sense. Minds are fragmented at all times, with the stresses of life, work and everything that comes in between.

Then all of a sudden you reach a connection and none of it matters. The twist unravels, and clarity is achieved. That’s what the meaning of life is to me. Clarity. And Christmas of course.

Listen to Moon River and the rest of the countdown tracks here:

This song means too much to be for rubbish YouTube comments, so to catch up on the rest of the countdown CLICK HERE

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4 thoughts on “#16 – Moon River by Danny Williams

  1. Oh…my..God… you have opened my eyes to a great cover. Moon River is left one of those songs you play in the background of your house and just think.

    • Thanks for your reply, this was the first time I’d heard this cover as well and it was surprisingly good. Hope you’ll carry on reading this blog throughout December as I carry on my Christmas number one countdown.

      What are your favourite Christmas songs?

      • Last Christmas, The Christmas Song by Nate King Cole, and some more I can’t think of at the moment. There is this really sweet rock version of a classic I have forgotten the name of… lol

        What about you?

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