Music | Entertainment

The Most Iconic Part Of "Breakfast At Tiffany's" Almost Didn't Happen

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We can all picture it- Audrey Hepburn without the dresses and jewels, just sitting on her window ledge with her guitar and a subtle song of Moon River cascading up the fire escape.

This musical number offered a raw look into the lead character, Holly Golightly, dressed down in jeans and a sweatshirt.

This simple song, of only 10 lines provided the dreamy soundtrack for the 1961 classic, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The song went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, 2 Grammy's for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Since it's release it has been covered thousands of time by artists including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Aretha Franklin.

But how did this song come to be?

At first, Paramount film-makers were reportedly concerned that Audrey Hepburn was not a strong enough singer to pull off the song. They considered dubbing another voice over hers, but composer Henry Mancini was able to create a song from Hepburn's limited range. It took Mancini, the man behind The Pink Panther theme, a month to write the first three notes, and the rest came to him within half an hour after that.

Mancini then reached out to Johnny Mercer to write the lyrics to his score, and Moon River was born.

"Many songwriting teams sit down together and work out a strategy for a song, a way it's supposed to go. Henry and Johnny never sat down together," said Ginny Mancini, Henry's widow. "They discussed what it should be and what the lyric had to say, but once Henry had the melody nailed, he would just send it to Mercer."

It wasn't until Mancini was rehearsing for a benefit concern at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angles when Mercer showed up with the lyrics.

Moon River, wider than a mile,

I'm crossing you in style some day.

Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,

wherever you're going I'm going your way.

Two drifters off to see the world.

There's such a lot of world to see.

We're after the same rainbow's end--

waiting 'round the bend,

my huckleberry friend,

Moon River and me.

"They sat down in the empty ballroom and Henry played Moon River while Johnny sang the lyrics. Johnny was a wonderful singer and I loved to hear him sing. They were two of the best," Mrs. Mancini recalled.

But the song almost didn't make it to the movie. Find out why on the next page.

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