Johnny Mercer

For several decades through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Johnny Mercer was one of America's most celebrated singers and songwriters, responsible for many of the biggest hits of the era, and making a significant contribution to the great American songbook in the process. A direct descendant of a Confederate General and a distant cousin to General George Patton, Mercer was the son of an attorney and a real estate developer, but inherited his passion for music from his mother, a ballad singer who took him to see minstrel and vaudeville shows. Unusually for a white boy at the time, he heard and loved a lot of black church and jazz music, which came to have a large influence on his future career. His attempts at becoming a great jazz trumpeter and pianist failed but, after moving to New York, he discovered his gift for songwriting with the encouragement of singer Eddie Cantor. He contributed to the musical Paris In The Spring and became singer with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. But it was his meeting with another great songwriter Hoagy Carmichael which really propelled Mercer to national attention when they wrote the hit Lazybones together. A move to Hollywood in 1935 resulted in a series of musicals, collaborating with Fred Astaire on I'm Building Up To An Awful Let-Down, while Bing Crosby sang his song I'm An Old Cowhand From The Rio Grande in the movie Rhythm On The Range in 1936. Collaborating with Harry Warren, Mercer wrote the hits Jeepers Creepers and You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby and performed with Crosby. Later hits included The Glow-Worm and Something's Gotta Give and he collaborated with Henry Mancini on Moon River and Charade. Mercer recorded two albums of his own in the 1970s and was planning to collaborate with Paul McCartney when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died in 1976.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Johnny Mercer

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.