Moon River - Andy Williams Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Moon River – Andy Williams | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: *Did Not Chart ; 1963

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Andy Williams’ recording career dates back to 1944 when he and his three older brothers backed Bing Crosby on his smash hit recording of Swinging On A Star. In 1952 Andy went solo. Several sides stiffed before he finally moved into the Top 10 with Canadian Sunset (#7; 1956) and Butterfly (#1; 1957). Through decade’s end, Andy was consistently in the Top 20, before a label move to giant Columbia – coupled with a highly popular weekly TV variety show – kicked his sales into the stratosphere. His breakthrough album was called Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes. The title tune’s lyricist, Johnny Mercer, had written his first hit, Lazybones, with Hoagy Carmichael in 1933, and over the next 30 years wrote and sang his way into pop culture. In 1961, Mercer collaborated with Henry Mancini on Moon River for the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Although other versions bested Andy’s on the singles chart, his rendition of Moon River kept his album on its chart for 176 weeks.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Dick Peirce
  • Joe Reisman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Johnny Mercer


  • “Moon River” won Best Original Song at the 1961 Academy Awards.
  • Won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1962.
  • The song ranked 4th on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest songs in American cinema in 2004.
  • Andy Williams won a Grammy Award in 1962 for Best Vocal Performance, Male