Monday, November 7, 2011

Art of Noise - "Peter Gunn"

Peter Gunn - Reconstructed…For Your Listening Pleasure

(Debuted May 17, 1986, Peaked #50, 11 Weeks on the chart)

Around 1986, I placed a bunch of quarters into a video game called Spy Hunter. It the game, you were driving a tricked-out "spy" car equipped with a machine gun and your job was to eliminate the bad guys around you using a variety of weapons that could be picked up along the way, including oil slicks, smoke screens and missles. Evidently, there were also levels of the game that took place on the water and on icy roads, but I never got that far. I may have played it a lot, but I never said I was ever good at the game.

The theme music that played all through the game was an electronic adaptation of the Peter Gunn theme. I wasn't around during the TV show's 1958-'61 run, so I didn't know the song was a theme song to a TV show. Instead, I knew it because it showed up in some movies (like The Blues Brothers and Sixteen Candles), as well as that video game. The tune is incredibly catchy, though and I definitely was exposed to it at an early age.

The original version of the song was recorded by Henry Mancini, who composed the song. In 1959, Duane Eddy contributed his signature "twangy" guitar line to the song and took it to #27 on the chart. For Art of Noise's version, Eddy was called in to recreate his own sound to give it an air of "authenticity" among the electronic sound the band used. It would be the first of three singles the group would place in the Billboard Hot 100, each of which featured a guest artist.

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