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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

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Very Best Of

1. Blues In The Night

2. On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

3. AC-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

4. St. Louis Blues (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

5. Glow Worm (Feat. Alvino Rey)

6. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)

7. Them There Eyes

8. Yes, We Have No Bananas (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

9. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

10. I Lost My Sugar In Salt Lake City (Feat. Freddie Slack & His Orchestra)

11. Movie Tonight (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

12. Embraceable You (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

13. G.I. Jive (Feat. Paul Weston & His Orchestra)

14. Take Me Back To Little Rock (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

15. I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan

16. Personality (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

17. Java Jive

18. My Gal Is Mine Once More (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

19. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Feat. Margaret Whiting)

20. A Gal In Calico (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

21. Love Is Just Around The Corner

22. The First Baseball Game

23. I've Been Floating Down The Old Green River (Feat. Crew Chiefs)

24. The Riddle Song (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

26. It's The Same Old Dream (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

27. If I Knew Then (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

28. Save The Bones For Henry Jones ('Cause Henry Don't Eat No Meat) (Feat. Nat King Cole)

29. Memphis Blues (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

30. Louisville Lou

32. Spring, Spring, Spring

35. Hear Them Bells

37. I'll See You In My Dreams (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

38. Sam's Got Him

40. Surprise Party

41. Winter Wonderland (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

42. My Sugar Is So Refined (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

43. Duration Blues

45. Somebody Bad Stole The Wedding Bell

46. Lora-Belle Lee (Feat. The Starlighters)

47. The Hills Of California (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

48. Dixieland Band

49. Too Little Time (Feat. June Hutton)

50. I'm Gonna See My Baby

51. Sugar Blues (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

52. You Are My Love (Feat. June Hutton & The Stordahl Orchestra)

53. At The Jazz Band Ball (Feat. The Skylarks, Ben Pollack & His Pick-A-Rib Boys)

54. Love That Boy (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

55. Candy (Feat. Jo Stafford)

56. Old Ninety-Seven

57. I Wanna Be A Friend Of Yours (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

58. Strip Polka

59. I Do Do Do Like You

60. Ugly Chile

61. Goodbye Romance (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

62. Let's Fly (Feat. The Pied Pipers)

63. Gee (Feat. June Hutton)

64. Accentuate The Positive

65. The New Ashmolean (From "Where's Charley?")

66. Blues In The Night (Feat. Jo Stafford, The Pied Pipers & Paul Weston)

68. St. Louis Blues (Alternate Take)

x

Track List: Sings Just For Fun

2. Love Is Just Around The Corner

3. Old Ninety-Seven

4. Spring, Spring, Spring

5. Them There Eyes

6. Somebody Bad Stole The Wedding Bell

7. St. Louis Blues

8. Accentuate The Positive

9. Java Jive

10. Hear Them Bells

11. The New Ashmolean

12. Take Me Back To Little Rock

13. The First Baseball Game

14. Lora-Belle Lee

15. My Gal Is Mine Once More

16. Jamboree Jones

17. In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening

18. Queenie, The Quick-Change Artist

19. I Guessed It Was You All The Time

20. Don't Care For The Heck Of It

21. I'm All Tied Up

22. But They Better Not Wait Too Long

23. When I Get You In The Back Of My Cadillac

24. At The Party

25. Any Similarity Is Just Co-Incidental

26. Little Lost Dream

27. Slippin' Around The Corner

28. The Pleasure Of Your Company

29. I'll Tell The World

x

Track List: Sings Johnny Mercer (Digitally Remastered)

1. Moon River

2. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

3. The Days Of Wine And Roses

4. Goody Goody

5. That Old Black Magic

6. Tangerine

7. Come Rain Or Come Shine

8. Satin Doll

x

Track List: Moon River: Johnny Mercer Sings The Johnny Mercer Songbook

Disc 1

1. Moon River

2. Little Ol' Tune

3. Summer Wind

4. Whatcha Ma Call It

5. Autumn Leaves

6. Goody Goody

7. That Old Black Magic

8. Shooby Dooin'

9. Talk To Me Baby

10. Come Rain Or Come Shine

11. Something's Gotta Give

12. Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home

13. I'm Old Fashioned

14. It's Great To Be Alive

Disc 2

1. Too Marvellous For Words

2. Tangerine

3. The Midnight Sun

4. Satin Doll

5. Little Ingenue

6. The Air-Minded Executive

7. Pineapple Pete

8. I Wanna Be In Love In Love Again

9. The Days Of Wine And Roses

10. Show Your Linen, Miss Richardson

11. Not For Sale

12. I Thought About You

13. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

14. One For My Baby

x

Track List: Top Banana - Original Broadway Cast

1. The Man Of The Year This Week

2. You're So Beautiful That

3. Top Banana

4. Elevator Song

5. Only If You're In Love

6. My Home Is In My Shoes

7. I Fought Every Step Of The Way

8. O.k. For Tv

9. Slogan Song

10. Meet Miss Blendo

11. Sans Souci

12. That's For Sure

13. A Dog Is A Man's Best Friend

14. A Word A Day

15. Finale

x

Track List: The Poetry Of Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) - Too Marvellous For Words

1. Too Marvellous For Words (Feat. Bing Crosby With Jimmy Dorsey And His Orchestra)

2. Strip Polka

3. When A Woman Loves A Man (Feat. Billie Holiday)

4. Something Tells Me (Feat.Fats Waller And His Rhythm)

5. Swing Is The Thing (Feat.The Mills Brothers)

6. Jeepers Creepers (Feat. Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra)

7. Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing In A Hurry (Feat. Mildred Bailey)

8. Mister Meadowlark (Feat. Bing Crosby)

9. I'll Dream Tonight (Feat. Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra)

10. (I Ain't Hep To That Step, But I'll) Dig It (Feat. Fred Astaire With Perry Botkin)

11. Tangerine (Feat. Benny Goodman And His Orchestra)

12. Fools Rush In (Feat. Anne Shelton)

13. Say It With A Kiss (Feat. Maxine Sullivan)

14. That Old Black Magic (Feat. Glenn Miller And His Orchestra)

15. The Old Music Master (Feat. Hoagy Carmichael)

16. If I Had A Million Dollars (Feat. Al Bowlly)

17. Blues In The Night (Feat. Judy Garland)

18. On Behalf Of The Visiting Firemen (Feat. Bing Crosby)

19. I'm Old-Fashioned (Feat. Geraldo And His Orchestra)

20. I Thought About You (Feat. Mildred Bailey)

21. Dearly Beloved (Feat. Fred Astaire)

22. Goody, Goody (Feat. Benny Goodman And His Orchestra)

23. I'd Know You Anywhere (Feat. Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra)

x

Track List: My Huckleberry Friend

1. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

2. Little Ol' Tune

3. Moon River

4. I Wanna Be In Love Again

5. The Days Of Wine And Roses

6. Talk To Me, Baby

7. Goody Goody

8. Summer Wind

9. Little Ingenue

10. Something's Gotta Give

11. Satin Doll

12. It's Great To Be Alive

13. That Old Black Magic

14. Tangerine

15. The What-Cha-Ma-Call It

16. Midnight Sun

17. I'm Old Fashioned

18. Come Rain Or Come Shine

19. Too Marvelous For Words

20. Autumn Leaves

21. Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home

22. The Air-Minded Executive

23. Pineapple Pete

24. I Thought About You

25. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)

x

Track List: Sweet Georgia Brown

1. By The River Sainte Marie

2. Sugar

3. Sweet Georgia Brown

4. When The Bloom Is On The Sage

5. Margie

6. Sweet Lorraine

7. Someday Sweetheart

8. (Back Home Again In) Indiana

9. I Can't Get The One I Want

10. Lulu's Back In Town

11. Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You

12. Button Up Your Overcoat

13. I Never Knew

14. Louisville Lou

15. Love Is Just Around The Corner

16. Crazy Rhythm

Comments

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Ykt
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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
Report as inappropriate
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!!!
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
Such mistchief in that man's voice. He made so many songs fun, with great music,
Report as inappropriate
I see several comments on his burial spot. On his tombstone is the quote And the angels sing
Report as inappropriate
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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