Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

“Baby Elephant Walk” is the sound of baseball and tentative beginnings

(Photo: Attilla Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: Attilla Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: With Labor Day on the horizon, we’re once again talking about our favorite “baby” songs.

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Henry Mancini, “Baby Elephant Walk” (1962)

I don’t know why I love “Baby Elephant Walk,” but I do. Maybe it’s because I like baseball, where the song pops up a lot by virtue of stadium organs. Maybe it’s because I loved that episode of The Simpsons where Homer was the Isotopes’ mascot. It doesn’t matter. “Baby Elephant Walk” is my jam.

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An instrumental track written by Henry Mancini for the 1962 film Hatari!, “Baby Elephant Walk” has since become a staple of stadium organs and anything that can use a plodding but innocuously fun track. According to AllMusic, the track is “musical shorthand for kookiness of any stripe,” and while I think that might be exaggerating a bit, that could just be because I’m grammatically allergic to the idea of anything being “kooky.” To me, “Baby Elephant Walk” is about tentative beginnings, solid and steady pursuits, and general whimsy. It’s not unlike a baby elephant in that way, I suppose, but Henry Mancini probably knew that when he wrote it.

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