|Birth name||John Herndon Mercer|
|Born||November 18, 1909|
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||June 25, 1976 66) (aged|
|Associated acts||Richard A. Whiting, Bing Crosby, Margaret Whiting, The Pied Pipers, Bobby Darin, Harry Warren, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Gene de Paul, Henry Mancini|
John Herndon Mercer (November 18, 1909 – June 25, 1976) was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessmen Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.
He is best known as a Tin Pan Alley lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as songs written by others from the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s. Mercer's songs were among the most successful hits of the time, including "Moon River", "Days of Wine and Roses", "Autumn Leaves", and "Hooray for Hollywood". He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Oscar nominations, and won four Best Original Song Oscars.
Mercer was born in Savannah, Georgia, where one of his first jobs, aged 10, was sweeping floors at the original 1919 location of Leopold's Ice Cream.Mercer lived on Lincoln Street, a block away from the store's East Gwinnett and Habersham location.
Mercer's father, George Anderson Mercer, was a prominent attorney and real-estate developer. Mercer's mother, Lillian Elizabeth (née Ciucevich), was the daughter of a Croatian immigrant father and a mother with Irish ancestry. Lillian was the senior Mercer's secretary and second wife. Lillian's father, born in Lastovo, in 1834 to Ivana Cucevic and Marijo Dundovic, was a merchant seaman who ran the Union blockade during the Civil War.Mercer was George's fourth son, and his first son by Lillian. His great-grandfather was Confederate General Hugh Weedon Mercer and he was a direct descendant of American Revolutionary War General Hugh Mercer, a Scottish soldier-physician who died at the Battle of Princeton. Mercer was also a distant cousin of General George S. Patton.
Mercer liked music as a small child and attributed his musical talent to his mother, who would sing sentimental ballads. Mercer's father also sang, mostly old Scottish songs. His aunt told him he was humming music when he was six months old and later she took him to see minstrel and vaudeville shows where he heard "coon songs" and ragtime.The family's summer home, "Vernon View", was on the tidal waters and Mercer's long summers there among mossy trees, saltwater marshes, and soft, starry nights inspired him years later.
Mercer's exposure to black music was perhaps unique among the white songwriters of his generation. As a child, Mercer had African American playmates and servants, and he listened to the fishermen and vendors about him, who spoke and sang in the dialect known as "Geechee". He was also attracted to Black church services. Mercer later stated, "Songs always fascinated me more than anything."He had no formal musical training but was singing in a choir by six and at 11 or 12 he had memorized almost all of the songs he had heard and became curious about who wrote them. He once asked his brother who the best songwriter was, and his brother said Irving Berlin, among the best of Tin Pan Alley.
Despite Mercer's early exposure to music, his talent was clearly in creating the words and singing, not in playing music, though early on he had hoped to become a composer. In addition to the lyrics that Mercer memorized, he was an avid reader and wrote adventure stories. His attempts to play the trumpet and piano were not successful, and he never could read musical scores with any facility, relying instead on his own notation system.
As a teenager in the Jazz Era, he was a product of his age. He hunted for records in the black section of Savannah and played such early black blues/jazz figures as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Louis Armstrong. His father owned the first car in town, and Mercer's teenage social life was enhanced by his driving privilege, which sometimes verged on recklessness.The family would motor to the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina to escape the Savannah heat and there Mercer learned to dance (from Arthur Murray himself) and to flirt with Southern belles, his natural sense of rhythm helping him on both accounts. (Later, Mercer wrote a humorous song called "Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing in a Hurry".)
Mercer attended the exclusive Woodberry Forest School in Virginia until 1927. Although not a top student, he was active in literary and poetry societies and as a humor writer for the school's publications. In addition, his exposure to classic literature augmented his already rich store of vocabulary and phraseology. He began to scribble ingenious, sometimes strained, rhymed phrases for later use. Mercer was also the class clown and a prankster, and member of the "hop" committee that booked musical entertainment on campus.
Mercer was already somewhat of an authority on jazz at an early age. His yearbook stated, "No orchestra or new production can be authoritatively termed 'good' until Johnny's stamp of approval has been placed upon it. His ability to 'get hot' under all conditions and at all times is uncanny."Mercer began to write songs, an early effort being "Sister Susie, Strut Your Stuff".
Given his family's long association with Princeton, New Jersey, and Princeton University,Mercer was groomed to go to school there, but those ambitions were dashed by his father's financial setbacks in the late 1920s. He went to work in his father's recovering business, collecting rent and running errands, but soon grew bored with the routine and with Savannah.
Mercer moved to New York in 1928, when he was 19. The music he loved, jazz and blues, was booming in Harlem and Broadway was bursting with musicals and revues from George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Vaudeville, though beginning to fade, was still a strong musical presence. Mercer's first few jobs were as a bit actor (billed as John Mercer). Holed up in a Greenwich Village apartment with plenty of time on his hands and a beat-up piano to play, Mercer soon returned to singing and lyric writing.He secured a day job at a brokerage house and sang at night. Pooling his meager income with that of his roommates, Mercer managed to keep going, sometimes on little more than oatmeal. One night he dropped in on Eddie Cantor backstage to offer a comic song, but although Cantor didn't use the song, he began encouraging Mercer's career. Mercer's first lyric, for the song "Out of Breath (and Scared to Death of You)" (1930), composed by friend Everett Miller, appeared in a musical revue The Garrick Gaieties in 1930. Mercer met his future wife at the show, chorus girl Ginger Meehan. She had earlier been one of the many chorus girls pursued by the young crooner Bing Crosby. Through Miller's father, an executive at the prominent music publisher T. B. Harms, Mercer's first song was published. It was recorded by Joe Venuti and his New Yorkers.
The 20-year-old Mercer began to frequent the company of other songwriters and to learn the trade. He traveled to California to undertake a lyric writing assignment for the musical Paris in the Spring and met his idols Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. Mercer found the experience sobering and realized that he much preferred free-standing lyric writing to writing on demand for musicals. Upon his return, he got a job as staff lyricist for Miller Music for a $25-a-week draw, which give him a base income and enough prospects to win over and marry Ginger in 1931.The new Mrs. Mercer quit the chorus line and became a seamstress, and to save money the newlyweds moved in with Ginger's mother in Brooklyn. Johnny did not inform his own parents of his marriage until after the fact, perhaps in part because he knew that Ginger being Jewish would not sit comfortably with some members of his family, and he worried they would try to talk him out of marrying her. In 1932, Mercer won a contest to sing with the Paul Whiteman orchestra, but singing with the band did not help his situation significantly. He made his recording debut, singing with Frank Trumbauer's Orchestra, on April 5 of that year. Mercer then apprenticed with Yip Harburg on the score for Americana, a Depression-flavored revue famous for "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" (not a Mercer composition), which gave Mercer invaluable training. While with Whiteman, he recorded two duets with fellow band member Jack Teagarden, "Fare Thee Well to Harlem" and "Christmas Night in Harlem." Both are talk songs in a heavy Black accent. The latter was a best-selling record. After several songs which didn't catch fire during his time with Whiteman, he wrote and sang "Pardon My Southern Accent" (1934). Mercer's fortunes improved dramatically with a chance pairing with Indiana-born Hoagy Carmichael, already famous for the standard "Stardust", who was intrigued by the "young, bouncy butterball of a man from Georgia." Mercer, later well known for rapidly writing lyrics, spent a year laboring over the ones for "Lazybones", which became a hit one week after its first radio broadcast, and each received a large royalty check of $1250. A regional song in pseudo-black dialect, it captured the mood of the times, especially in rural America. Mercer became a member of ASCAP and a recognized "brother" in the Tin Pan Alley fraternity, receiving congratulations from Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter among others. Paul Whiteman lured Mercer back to his orchestra (to sing, write comic skits and compose songs), temporarily breaking up the working team with Carmichael.
During the golden age of sophisticated popular song of the late Twenties and early Thirties, songs were put into revues with minimal regard for plot integration. The 1930s saw a shift from revues to stage and movie musicals using song to further the plot. Demand diminished accordingly for the pure stand-alone songs that Mercer preferred. Thus, although he had established himself in the New York music world, when he was offered a job in Hollywood to compose songs and perform in low-budget musicals for RKO, he accepted and followed idol Bing Crosby west.
Mercer moved to Hollywood in 1935, and began writing music for films. His first Hollywood assignment was a B-movie college musical, Old Man Rhythm , to which he contributed two songs and appeared in a small role. His next project, To Beat the Band , was a commercial flop, but it led to a meeting and a collaboration with Fred Astaire on the moderately successful song "I'm Building Up to an Awful Let-Down".
Mercer was now in Bing Crosby's hard-drinking circle, and began to drink more at parties and was prone to vicious outbursts when under the influence of alcohol, contrasting sharply with his ordinarily genial and gentlemanly behavior. ... the movie people were in bed with the chickens (or each other)."Often he would assuage the guilt he felt for this behavior by sending roses the following day to the friend or acquaintance he had treated unkindly while drunk. Ironically, he would later say that he found the Hollywood nightlife lacking: "Hollywood was never much of a night town. Everybody had to get up too early
Mercer's first big Hollywood song, the satirical "I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande", was inspired by a road trip through Texas (he wrote both the music and the lyrics). It was performed by Crosby in the film Rhythm on the Range in 1936, and from there on the demand for Mercer as a lyricist took off. His second hit that year was "Goody Goody", music by Matty Malneck. In 1937, Mercer began working for Warner Bros., working with the composer Richard Whiting, soon producing his standard, "Too Marvelous for Words", followed by "Hooray for Hollywood", the opening number in the film Hollywood Hotel (1937). After Whiting's sudden death from a heart attack, Mercer collaborated with Harry Warren and wrote "Jeepers Creepers",which earned Mercer his first Oscar nomination for Best Song (1938). Another hit with Warren in 1938 was "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby". The pair also created "Hooray for Spinach", a comic song produced for the film Naughty but Nice in 1939.
During a lull at Warners, Mercer revived his singing career. He joined Crosby's informal minstrel shows put on by the "Westwood Marching and Chowder Club", which included many Hollywood luminaries and brought together Crosby and Bob Hope.Mercer worked on numerous duets for himself and Crosby to perform, several were recorded and two, "Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean" (1938) a reworking of an old vaudville song and "Mister Meadowlark" (1940) became hits.
In 1939, Mercer wrote the lyrics to a melody by Ziggy Elman, a trumpet player with Benny Goodman. The song was "And the Angels Sing" and, although recorded by Crosby and Count Basie, it was the Goodman version with vocal by Martha Tilton and klezmer style trumpet solo by Elman that became a major hit. Years later, the title was inscribed on Mercer's tombstone.
Mercer was invited to the Camel Caravan radio show in New York to sing his hits and create satirical songs, like "You Ought to be in Pittsburgh", a parody of "You Ought to be in Pictures", with the Benny Goodman orchestra, then becoming the emcee of the nationally broadcast show for several months. Two more hits followed shortly, "Day In, Day Out" and "Fools Rush In" (both with music by Rube Bloom), and Mercer in short order had five of the top ten songs on the popular radio show Your Hit Parade.Mercer also started a short-lived publishing company during his stay in New York. Mercer undertook a musical, Walk with Music (originally called Three After Three), with Hoagy Carmichael, but it was critically panned and commercially unsuccessful.
Shortly thereafter, Mercer began working with Harold Arlen, who wrote jazz and blues-influenced compositions while Mercer wrote lyrics. Their first hit was "Blues in the Night" (1941), which Arthur Schwartz called "probably the greatest blues song ever written."
They went on to compose "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (1941), "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" (1944),"That Old Black Magic" (1942), and "Come Rain or Come Shine" (1946), among others.
"Come Rain" was Mercer's only Broadway hit, composed for the show St. Louis Woman with Pearl Bailey. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" with music by Harry Warren, was a big smash for Judy Garland in the 1946 film The Harvey Girls , and earned Mercer the first of his four Academy Awards for Best Song, after eight unsuccessful nominations.
Mercer re-united with Hoagy Carmichael with "Skylark" (1941),and, ten years later, the Oscar-winning "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (1951). With Jerome Kern, Mercer created You Were Never Lovelier for Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in the movie of the same name, as well as "I'm Old Fashioned".
Mercer founded Capitol Records in Hollywood in 1942, with the help of producer Buddy DeSylva and record store owner Glen Wallichs.He also co-founded Cowboy Records. As the founder active in the management of Capitol during the 40s, he signed many of its important recording artists, including Nat "King" Cole. It also gave him an outlet for his own recordings. His hit "Strip Polka" was its third release. But Mercer recorded not only his own songs but ones by others as well. His four million-sellers were his own "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" and "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,. and two by other composers, "Candy" and "Personality". One recording of a song that has lived on is his recording of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", written by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gailbert for Disney's 1946 movie, Song of the South . Mercer's recording was a top hit for eight weeks in December 1947 and January 1948, reaching number 8. Today it continues to be the version most played on Sirius's 40s satellite channel.
Mercer by the mid-1940s enjoyed a reputation as one of the premier Hollywood lyricists. He was adaptable, listening carefully and absorbing a tune and then transforming it into his own style. Like Irving Berlin, he was a close follower of cultural fashion and changing language, which in part accounted for the long tenure of his success. He loved many words (Too Marvelous for Words), including puns (Strip Polka), and current terms ("G. I. Jive"). He employed sound effects, as well, such as the train whistle sounds in "Blues in the Night" and "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe."
Mercer preferred to have the music first, taking it home and working on it. He claimed composers had no problem with this method provided that he returned with the lyrics.
Mercer was often asked to write new lyrics to already popular songs. The lyrics to "Laura", "Midnight Sun", and "Satin Doll" were all written after the melodies had become hits. He was also asked to compose English lyrics to foreign songs, the most famous example being "Autumn Leaves". based on the French song "Les Feuilles Mortes".
In 1943, Johnny Mercer's Music Shop was a summer replacement for The Pepsodent Show on NBC.Mercer was the star, and singers Ella Mae Morse and Jo Stafford were regulars on the program, with musical support from The Pied Pipers and Paul Weston and his orchestra. The Chesterfield Music Shop, a similar program in a 15-minute version, was broadcast in 1944.
In the 1950s, the advent of rock and roll cut deeply into Mercer's natural audience, and dramatically reduced venues for his songs. Mercer wrote for several MGM films, including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Merry Andrew (1958). He collaborated on three Broadway musicals in the 1950s— Top Banana (1951), Li'l Abner (1956), and Saratoga (1959).
Mercer made occasional television appearances. In the 1953–1954 season, he guest starred as himself on ABC's Jukebox Jury, a musical/quiz program on which celebrities judge the latest releases from the recording companies.In 1954, he appeared on NBC's The Donald O'Connor Show.
His more successful songs of the 1950s include "The Glow-Worm" (sung by the Mills Brothers) and "Something's Gotta Give". In 1961, he wrote the lyrics to "Moon River" for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's and for Days of Wine and Roses, both with music by Henry Mancini, and Mercer received his third and fourth Oscars for Best Song. The back-to-back Oscars were the first time a songwriting team had achieved that feat.Mercer, also with Mancini, wrote "Charade" for the 1963 romantic thriller of the same name. The Tony Bennett classic "I Wanna Be Around" was written by Mercer in 1962, as was the Frank Sinatra hit "Summer Wind" in 1965.
An indication of the high esteem in which Mercer was held can be observed he was the only lyricist to have his work recorded as a volume of Ella Fitzgerald's series of Song book albums. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Song Book was released by Verve Records in 1964.
Mercer was humble about his work, attributing much of his success to luck and timing. He was fond of telling the story of how he was offered the job of doing the lyrics for Johnny Mandel's music on The Sandpiper, only to have the producer turn his lyrics down. The producer offered the commission to Paul Francis Webster and the result was "The Shadow of Your Smile", which became a huge hit, winning the 1965 Oscar for Best Original Song. However, Mercer and Mandel did collaborate on the 1964 song "Emily" from the film The Americanization of Emily starring Julie Andrews.
In 1969, Mercer helped publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond found the National Academy of Popular Music's Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1971, Mercer presented a retrospective of his career for the "Lyrics and Lyricists Series" in New York, including an omnibus of his "greatest hits" and a performance by Margaret Whiting. It was recorded live as An Evening with Johnny Mercer.In 1974, he collaborated on the West End production The Good Companions . He also recorded two albums of his songs in London in 1974, with the Pete Moore Orchestra and with the Harry Roche Constellation, later compiled into a single album and released as ...My Huckleberry Friend: Johnny Mercer Sings the Songs of Johnny Mercer .
Late in his life, Mercer became friends with pianist Emma Kelly. He gave her the nickname "The Lady of Six-Thousand Songs" after challenging her, over several years, to play numerous songs he named. He kept track of the requests, and estimated she knew 6,000 songs from memory.
In the last year of his life, Mercer became fond of pop singer Barry Manilow, in part because Manilow's first hit record was "Mandy", which was also the name of Mercer's daughter Amanda. After Mercer's death, his widow, Ginger Mehan Mercer, arranged to give some unfinished lyrics he had written to Manilow to possibly develop into complete songs. Among these was a piece titled "When October Goes", a melancholy remembrance of lost love. Manilow applied his own melody to the lyric and issued it as a single in 1984, when it became a top 10 Adult Contemporary hit in the United States. The song has since become a jazz standard, with notable recordings by Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Wilson, and Megon McDonough, among other performers.
Well regarded also as a singer, with a folksy quality, Mercer was a natural for his own songs such as "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive", "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe", "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)", and "Lazybones". He was considered a first-rate performer of his own work.
It has been said that he penned "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"—one of the great torch laments of all times—on a napkin while sitting at the bar at P. J. Clarke's when Tommy Joyce was the bartender. The next day Mercer called Joyce to apologize for the line "So, set 'em up, Joe," explaining "I couldn't get your name to rhyme."
ATCO Records issued Two of a Kind in 1961, a duet album by Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer with Billy May and his Orchestra, produced by Ahmet Ertegun.
In 1931, Mercer married Ginger Meehan, a chorus girl, later a seamstress; and in 1940, when he was 30, the Mercers adopted a daughter, Amanda ("Mandy"). In 1960, Mandy married Bob Corwin, pianist for Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day, and Carmen McRae, and Mercer's long-time accompanist. They had a son, Jim Corwin, in 1961.
In 1941, Mercer began an affair with 19-year-old Judy Garland, while she was engaged to composer David Rose. Garland ended her involvement when she married Rose. In later years, Garland and Mercer rekindled their affair. Mercer stated that his song "I Remember You" was the most direct expression of his feelings for Garland.
Mercer died on June 25, 1976, from an inoperable brain tumor, in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. He was buried in Savannah's historic Bonaventure Cemetery.The line drawing caricature adorning his memorial bench is a reproduction of a self-portrait.
Mercer won four Academy Awards on eighteen nominations for Best Original Song:
Mercer was also nominated for Best Original Song Score for the 1970 Mancini collaboration Darling Lili .
In 1980, the Songwriters Hall of Fame established the annual Johnny Mercer Award as its highest honor, for songwriters with a history of outstanding creative works.Mercer was honored by the United States Postal Service with his portrait placed on a stamp in 1996. Mercer's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1628 Vine Street is a block away from the Capitol Records building at 1750 Vine Street.
In 1983, Mercer earned a posthumous nomination for a Tony Award for Best Original Score for his original lyrics and for Gene de Paul's original music and score with new songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn for the stage musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the 37th Tony Awards,but lost to Andrew Lloyd Webber and T. S. Eliot for Cats .
Mercer was given tribute in John Berendt's 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil . The 1997 film adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood features prominently Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer song "Skylark", sung by k.d. lang. The movie soundtrack contains 14 Mercer songs performed by artists such as Alison Krauss, Paula Cole, and Cassandra Wilson; the film's star, Kevin Spacey, sang Mercer's 1942 hit "That Old Black Magic".
For the occasion of Mercer's 100th birthday in 2009, Eastwood produced a documentary film about Mercer's life and work called The Dream's on Me (Turner Classic Movies). The film was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer was published by Knopfin October 2009. The Complete Lyrics contains the texts to nearly 1,500 of his lyrics, several hundred of them appearing in print for the first time.
In November 2009, a bronze statue of Mercer was unveiled in Ellis Square in Savannah, Georgia, his hometown and birthplace. It was commissioned by the Friends of Johnny Mercer.
The Johnny Mercer Collections, including his papers and memorabilia, are preserved in the library of Georgia State University in Atlanta. GSU occasionally holds events showcasing Mercer's works.
On March 25, 2015, it was announced that Mercer's version of the popular song "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" would be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation's audio legacy".The music was written by Harold Arlen and the lyrics by Mercer. The song was nominated for the "Academy Award for Best Original Song" at the 18th Academy Awards in 1945 after being used in the film "Here Come the Waves." In describing his inspiration for the lyrics, Mercer told the "Pop Chronicles" radio documentary "[my] publicity agent ... went to hear Father Divine and he had a sermon and his subject was 'you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.' And I said, 'Wow, that's a colorful phrase!'"
|Date||Song title||Music by||Notes|
|1933||"Lazy Bones"||Hoagy Carmichael|
|1934||"P.S. I Love You"||Gordon Jenkins|
|1936||"Goody Goody"||Matty Malneck|
|1936||"I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande"||Johnny Mercer|
|1937||"Hooray for Hollywood"||Richard A. Whiting|
|1937||"Too Marvelous for Words"||Richard A. Whiting|
|1938||"Jeepers, Creepers!"||Harry Warren|
|1938||"You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby"||Harry Warren|
|1938||"When a Woman Loves a Man"||Bernie Hanighen, Gordon Jenkins|
|1939||"And the Angels Sing"||Ziggy Elman|
|1939||"Cuckoo in the Clock"||Walter Donaldson|
|1939||"Day In, Day Out"||Rube Bloom|
|1939||"I Thought About You"||Jimmy Van Heusen|
|1939||"Wings Over the Navy"||Harry Warren|
|1940||"Fools Rush In"||Rube Bloom|
|1941||"Blues in the Night"||Harold Arlen|
|1941||"I Remember You"||Victor Schertzinger|
|1941||"This Time the Dream's on Me"||Harold Arlen|
|1942||"Moon Dreams"||Chummy MacGregor (co-writer)|
|1942||"Dearly Beloved"||Jerome Kern|
|1942||"Hit the Road to Dreamland"||Harold Arlen|
|1942||"I'm Old Fashioned"||Jerome Kern|
|1942||"That Old Black Magic"||Harold Arlen|
|1942||"Trav'lin' Light"||Jimmy Mundy, Trummy Young|
|1943||"My Shining Hour"||Harold Arlen|
|1943||"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"||Harold Arlen||Theme for the 1957–1958 NBC detective series Meet McGraw|
|1944||"Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"||Harold Arlen|
|1944||"G.I. Jive"||Johnny Mercer|
|1944||"How Little We Know"||Hoagy Carmichael||For the film To Have and Have Not|
|1945||"Out of This World"||Harold Arlen|
|1946||"Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home"||Harold Arlen|
|1946||"I Had Myself a True Love"||Harold Arlen|
|1946||"Come Rain or Come Shine"||Harold Arlen|
|1946||"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"||Harry Warren||For the film The Harvey Girls|
|1946||"Two Hearts Are Better Than One"||Jerome Kern||For the film Centennial Summer|
|1947||"Autumn Leaves"||Joseph Kosma, orig. French lyrics by Jacques Prévert|
|1951||"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"||Hoagy Carmichael||For the film Here Comes the Groom|
|1952||"I Wanna Be a Dancing Man"||Harry Warren|
|1952||"The Glow-Worm"||Paul Lincke|
|1953||"Satin Doll"||Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn|
|1954||"Midnight Sun"||Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke|
|1954||"Something's Gotta Give"||Johnny Mercer|
|1956||"I'm Past My Prime"||Gene de Paul|
|1956||"Jubilation T. Cornpone"||Gene de Paul|
|1956||"Bernardine"||Johnny Mercer||For the film Bernardine|
|1956||"Technique"||Johnny Mercer||For the film Bernardine|
|1959||"I Wanna Be Around"||Johnny Mercer, Sadie Vimmerstedt|
|1961||"Moon River"||Henry Mancini||For the film Breakfast at Tiffany's|
|1962||"Days of Wine and Roses"||Henry Mancini||For the film Days of Wine and Roses|
|1962||"Drinking Again"||Doris Tauber|
|1963||"Charade"||Henry Mancini||For the film Charade|
|1963||"Meglio stasera" (It Had Better Be Tonight)||Henry Mancini||For the film The Pink Panther|
|1964||"Talk to Me, Baby"||Bobby Dolan||For the Broadway musical comedy Foxy|
|1965||"Summer Wind"||Henry Mayer|
|1970||"Whistling Away the Dark"||Henry Mancini||For the film Darling Lili|
|1973||"The Phony King of England"||Johnny Mercer||For the Disney film Robin Hood|
|1984||"When October Goes"||Barry Manilow||From 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe|
|1988||"If It Can't Be You"||Barry Manilow|
|1988||"At Last"||Barry Manilow|
|1988||"Heart of Mine, Cry On"||Barry Manilow|
|1988||"When The Meadow Was Bloomin' "||Barry Manilow||From With My Lover Beside Me (Nancy Wilson album)|
|1988||"Just Remember"||Barry Manilow||From The Complete Collection and Then Some...|
|1988||"Can't Teach My Old Heart New Tricks"||Barry Manilow||From The Complete Collection and Then Some...|
Hoagland Howard "Hoagy" Carmichael was an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor and attorney. American composer and author Alec Wilder described Carmichael as the "most talented, inventive, sophisticated and jazz-oriented of all the great craftsmen" of pop songs in the first half of the 20th century. Carmichael was one of the most successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s, and was among the first singer-songwriters in the age of mass media to utilize new communication technologies such as television and the use of electronic microphones and sound recordings.
George Gard "Buddy" DeSylva was an American songwriter, film producer and record executive. He wrote or co-wrote many popular songs and, along with Johnny Mercer and Glenn Wallichs, he co-founded Capitol Records.
Harold Arlen was an American composer of popular music, who composed over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, including "Over the Rainbow", Arlen is a highly regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook. "Over the Rainbow" was voted the 20th century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Harry Warren was an American composer and lyricist. Warren was the first major American songwriter to write primarily for film. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song eleven times and won three Oscars for composing "Lullaby of Broadway", "You'll Never Know" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe". He wrote the music for the first blockbuster film musical, 42nd Street, choreographed by Busby Berkeley, with whom he would collaborate on many musical films.
John Francis Burke was a lyricist, successful and prolific between the 1920s and 1950s. His work is considered part of the Great American Songbook.
"Something's Gotta Give" is a popular song with words and music by Johnny Mercer in 1954. It was published in 1955. It was written for and first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1955 musical film Daddy Long Legs, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 as Best Original Song, losing to "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" from the film of the same name.
"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" is a popular song with music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It was originally planned to feature it in a Paramount picture which was written for Betty Hutton that never took off. That projected film was to be called The Mack Sennett Girl. The song was buried in Paramount's files until it was rediscovered and then used in the 1951 film, Here Comes the Groom, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Peter DeRose was an American composer of jazz and pop music during the era of Tin Pan Alley.
Lazybones or "Lazy Bones" is a Tin Pan Alley song written in 1933, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Hoagy Carmichael.
"Too Marvelous for Words" is a popular song written in 1937. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for music composed by Richard Whiting. It was featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able, as well as a production number in a musical revue on Broadway. The song has become a pop standard and has been recorded by many artists.
"Skylark" is an American popular song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Hoagy Carmichael, published in 1941. Carmichael wrote the melody, based on a Bix Beiderbecke cornet improvisation, as "Bix Licks", for a project to turn the novel Young Man With a Horn into a Broadway musical. After that project failed, Carmichael brought in Johnny Mercer to write lyrics for the song. Mercer said that he struggled for a year after he got the music from Carmichael before he could get the lyrics right. Mercer recalled that Carmichael initially called him several times about the lyrics but had forgotten about the song by the time Mercer finally wrote them. The yearning expressed in the lyrics was based on Mercer's longing for Judy Garland, with whom he had an affair.
"A Fine Romance" is a popular song composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, published in 1936.
"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" is a song written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates. The music sheet is annotated with the word "Brightly". The song was ranked No. 34 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs.
"Day In, Day Out" is a popular song with music by Rube Bloom and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and published in 1939.
"You Took Advantage of Me" is a 1928 popular song composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, for the musical Present Arms (1928), where it was introduced by Joyce Barbour and Busby Berkeley as the characters Edna Stevens and Douglas Atwell. The characters were formerly married, but still have romantic feelings for each other. On opening night, Berkeley forgot the lyrics and had to scat and hum the entire second verse. Berkeley also claimed that his nonsense lyrics for the improvised second verse left Hart "almost apoplectic", but the audience was amused and Hart later forgave him. The song was subsequently included in the 1930 film Leathernecking, an adaptation of Present Arms.
Philip George Furia was an American author and English literature professor. His books focus on the lyricists of the Tin Pan Alley era.
Frederick Eugene John Lees was a Canadian music critic, biographer, lyricist, and journalist. Lees worked as a newspaper journalist in his native Canada before moving to the United States, where he was a music critic and lyricist. His lyrics for Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado", have been recorded by such singers as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah, and Diana Krall.
"I'm an Old Cowhand " is a comic song written by Johnny Mercer for the Paramount Pictures release Rhythm on the Range and sung by its star, Bing Crosby. The Crosby commercial recording was made on July 17, 1936 with Jimmy Dorsey & his Orchestra for Decca Records. It was a huge hit in 1936 reaching the No. 2 spot in the charts of the day, and it greatly furthered Mercer's career. Crosby recorded the song again in 1954 for his album Bing: A Musical Autobiography.
Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
Swing jazz emerged as a dominant form in American music, in which some virtuoso soloists became as famous as the band leaders. Key figures in developing the "big" jazz band included bandleaders and arrangers Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Glenn Miller, and Artie Shaw. Duke Ellington and his band members composed numerous swing era hits that have become standards: "It Don't Mean a Thing " (1932), "Sophisticated Lady" (1933) and "Caravan" (1936), among others. Other influential bandleaders of this period were Benny Goodman and Count Basie.
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