"Moon River" is a song composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer. It received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its first performance by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. It also won Mancini the 1962 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Mercer the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. Since its original performance, the song has been covered by many other artists.
It became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and performed it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962. He sang the first eight bars at the beginning of his television show and also named his production company and venue in Branson, Missouri, after it. Williams's version was disliked by Cadence Records president Archie Bleyer, who believed it had little or no appeal to teenagers. Andy Williams's version never charted, except as an LP track, which he recorded for Columbia in a hit album of 1962.
The success of the song was responsible for relaunching Mercer's
career as a songwriter, which had stalled in the mid-1950s because rock and roll replaced jazz standards as the popular music of the time. An inlet near Savannah, Georgia,
Johnny Mercer's hometown, was named Moon River in honor of him and this
song. The popularity of the song is such that it has been used as a
test sample in a study on people's memories of popular songs.