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Johnny Mercer

John Herndon Mercer

Lyricist, Composer, Vocalist, Record Company Executive

(1909 - 1976)

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Big Bands Database


"One for My Baby" at wikipedia.org


Book--"Portrait of Johnny" at de...


Mercer Collection at gsu.edu
Filmography at imdb.com
On Broadway at ibdb.com
Friends of Johnny Mercer at geoc...
Johnny Mercer was born in Savannah, Georgia, and he called upon the imagery of the southern landscape and its idiosyncrasies of speech for his lyrics. His relaxed and charming singing style also reflected the genteel South. He came to New York and, fortunately for posterity, failed to get a role in a 1930 show, contributing a song instead and turning his attention to music. As a vocalist he racked up 29 hits between 1938 and 1952, and as a lyricist he holds the record for the most #1 songs on the “Hit Parade.”

Mercer collaborated with the great songwriters. His lyrics were hip, and he was a magician with words. Of some 1500 songs, his first hit was Hoagy Carmichael’s “Lazybones” (1933), followed by “Skylark” (1941). With Jimmy Van Heusen he penned the popular “I Thought About You” in 1939. He and his partner for a decade, Harold Arlen, hit the charts with “Blues in the Night” (1941) and “That Old Black Magic” (1942). In 1944 Bing Crosby introduced their “Accentuate the Positive” in Here Come the Waves.

In 1942 Mercer wrote lyrics for “I’m Old-Fashioned” (Jerome Kern) and for “I Remember You” and “Tangerine” (Victor Schertzinger) and became one of the founders of Capitol Records. In 1947 he collaborated with Sonny Burke and Lionel Hampton on the jazz classic “Midnight Sun,” and in 1958 he added lyrics to the Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn instrumental “Satin Doll.”

During Mercer’s active film career he supplied lyrics to David Raksin’s haunting theme for Laura (1945), to 1953’s Charade, and to Johnny Mandel’s “Emily” (The Americanization of Emily, 1964). Among his Oscar winners are “On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe” with Harry Warren (1946) and “Moon River” with Henry Mancini (1961). He also scored several Broadway shows, including Li’l Abner, 1959.

Mercer is one of the songwriters honored by a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service in 1996.

- Sandra Burlingame

My Huckleberry Friend: Johnny Mercer Sings the Songs of Johnny Mercer

Johnny Mercer

Too Marvelous for Words : 24 Songs of Johnny Mercer

Various Artists

Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald

...Sings Johnny Mercer

Bobby Troup


Paul Desmond

I Thought About You

Shirley Horn

And I Thought About You

Johnny Hartman

One for My Baby

Joe Williams

Blues in the Night

Ann Hampton Callaway

That Old Black Magic

Billy Daniels

I Remember You: The Legacy, Vol. 2

Chet Baker

I Remember You

Philip Catherine Trio

Midnight Sun

Herb Alpert

Satin Doll

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

Summer Wind: Live at the Loa

The Ray Brown Trio

Capitol Collectors Series

Johnny Mercer
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Gene Lees

Portrait of Johnny: The Life of John Herndon Mercer


Philip Furia

Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer

St. Martin's Press; 1st edition

Julie Andrews/James Garner

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

DVD Introduced "Emily"

Peter Palmer (III), Leslie Parrish, Stubby Kaye, Howard St. John, Julie Newmar, Stella Stevens

Li'l Abner


DVD Lyricist

John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson, Irma P. Hall, Jude Law

Midnight in Garden of Good & Evil

Warner Home Video

DVD Mercer songs on soundtrack

Howard Keel, Jane Powell

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

DVD Lyricist

Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford, Jack Klugman

The Days of Wine and Roses

Warner Home Video

DVD Lyrics for title song

Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price


20th Century Fox

DVD Lyrics for title song

Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam

Breakfast at Tiffany's


DVD Introduced "Moon River"

Gregoire Aslan, Paul Bonifas, Thomas Chelimsky, James Coburn, Colin Drake


Madacy Records


Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Sonny Tufts

Here Come the Waves

Universal Studios

VHS Introduced "Accentuate the Positive"

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