Roger Crane Song Scout: On the Lovely Mancini Melody, “Lujon”

Fellow Adagio Lovers:

“Lujon” is a musical piece by Henry Mancini originally composed as a secondary theme for the ’50’s TV series Mr. Lucky. By the way, the origin of this TV show was the 1943 Cary Grant movie Mr. Lucky. The melody was subsequently included in the soundtracks for the films Hatari!, The Big Lebowski, Sexy Beast, and Two Lovers. So the wealth of this luscious theme got spread around.

The name “Lujon” comes from the percussion instrument played by Shelley Manne which was named “lujon” as a pun on “John Lewis” of the Modern Jazz Quartet, who commissioned its construction. At some point lyricist Norman Gimbel added lyrics to Mancini’s melody and the piece became the haunting song “Slow Hot Wind,” which has been performed and recorded by many of the better vocalists. Here are the lyrics to the

Slow Hot Wind

His gaze
Swept over me
Like a slow hot wind
Some days It’s too warm to fight
A slow hot wind

1) Here is a brief version of “Lujon” by the Mancini orchestra.

2) Here is a version of “Slow Hot Wind” sung by the great balladeer,
Johnny Hartman

Happy New Year to each of you.
Roger, still the indefatigable Benevolent Guardian of Song.

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