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Johnny Mercer

Johnny Mercer's main claim to immortality is his incredible songwriting output, penning the lyrics or music and lyrics to roughly 1,500 songs. Marked by a sophisticated, occasionally whimsical mastery of language and rhymes, many of Mercer's songs have become standards regularly covered by jazz artists. Yet he was also a successful singer, with a relaxed, Southern-accented, jazzy, rhythmically agile delivery that resulted in several major hits in the 1940s. At first, he was torn between acting and songwriting, but having failed to land a part in Garrick Gaities in 1930, he ended up writing his first hit, "Out of Breath, Scared to Death of You," for the show. His first charted songwriting hit was Ted Lewis' 1933 recording of "Lazybones." By 1938, he was recording duets with Bing Crosby for Decca and the following year, he was on Benny Goodman's Camel Cavalcade radio program as a featured singer. In 1942, he, Glenn Wallichs, and Buddy DeSylva founded Capitol Records, which would eventually become an industry behemoth, and Mercer reeled off a string of hits for his label, including "Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Candy," and "Personality." "Atchison" is an especially good example of his flip, catchy, vocal style. While running Capitol, Mercer the talent scout attracted the likes of Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, and Margaret Whiting to the label, where they had their greatest successes. Among Mercer's most durable lyrics -- a highly abbreviated list -- are those for "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)," "Blues in the Night," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "My Shining Hour," and "Early Autumn," and his many collaborators have included Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Gordon Jenkins, and Harry Warren. He also contributed to the scores of seven Broadway musicals and films. Following an album with Bobby Darin and collaborations with Henry Mancini in the early '60s, Mercer's career slowed down under the onslaught of rock & roll, but time has since reconfirmed his status as an American popular music giant. ~ Richard S. Ginell
full bio

Comments

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This man wrote about 1,500 songs! Unbelievable , such a talent, and a dreamy voice too.
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Love Johnny Mercer, such a talent, everything he touched turned to gold, love that voice
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I am probably one of mr. Mercer's youngest fans (to comment in this section on him at least). But I always loved his light, whimsical songs without know anything about the artist. I was at a benefit for his foundation (I had a brain tumor resected in 2011) and the crowd started singing atcheson , Topeka, and Santa Fe. I got on my phone to do a quick word search so I could sing along w the audience. What an amazing artist and human being.
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Johnny Mercer...amo n g the greatest entertainers ever.
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lol yeah
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debtrickey
its not about rape, get a grip and quit thinking negatively
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You guys realize that its about rape right?
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What a beautiful wonderful song.
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plde14
I love this song. .
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thadman636
Baby It's Cold Outside was written by Frank Loesser not Jonny Mercer. Both great lyrists though!!!
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Baby, It's Cold Outside - 37 tonight and it's MAY 15th
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greatest entertainer as writer and singer as we can only hope will come again...fran c o
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gfbact1
a lyric writer par-excellan c e . Who else would think of rhyming aurora borealis as he did in Midnight Sun by far my favorite lyric writer and his singing style was just so cool. Loved his album with Bobby Darin
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Margaret Whiting is the lady on this recording. One of my favorite holiday tunes, so many great recordings but this is still my favorite by far. What a rascal Mercer is on this one.
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Who was the woman in this song? I almost sounds like Judy garland but I'm not sure.
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I was fortunate to go to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Ga last week. I was humbled to stand in his memorial cemetery plot. What a great artist he was. And his music will always stand the test of time. Such talent will never be forgotten.
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sungarden
F
Fun song. Love the rendition in the movie Elf.
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Love Johnny Mercer music and all other music from this era. I am lucky to have a personal connection to this legend. My husband is his grandson.
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nobody equal except porter and berlin
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I sleep to this music every night
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fleurysgirl2 9
This actually isn't a Christmas song. They just turned it into one!!
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Christmas music in June anybody?lol
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Not only was a great entertainer, but a patriot. During the war, WWII, he came to out high school and put on a show for the school in support of the war effort. He appeared at many of the military posts, and work for years for the USO organization . Thank you, Johnny, for your patriotism and all that you did for a bunch of wide eyed teenagers during a very trying time.
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This guy is such I good writer n singer
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his lyrics are purely perfection
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I am a relative newcomer to Savannah, Johnny's home town, but not to his work --- which is ageless and priceless.
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Johnny Mercer is my favorite lyricist and melody he doesn't do bad either.
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deloressuber 3
love it
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Such mistchief in that man's voice. He made so many songs fun, with great music,
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I see several comments on his burial spot. On his tombstone is the quote And the angels sing
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My father was the writer for his radio show '51-'53. No. Really.
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bottlcap24
bonaventure cemetery, thunderbolt, savannah, ga. too sad to lose this wonderful writer. i didn't realize he and a couple of others started capitol records either. wow.
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I love Johnny Mercer!
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lagross8
Saw where he was buried, in Savannah, GA, Right?
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jwkiwak
Founder of Capital Records!! Wow! Didn't realize he was major business force as well as a fantastic writer!
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HIs work is part of the soundtrack of my life. thanks!
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I have to honor to live in Hohnny's hometown. A wonder ful statue of him went up this year. Happy 100th birthday Mr. Mercer!
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I have enjoyed his music
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the greatest
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super songs
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sassyjan
I love the music from the era

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