John Herndon Mercer (Savannah18 november 1909 – Los AngelesJune 25, 1976) was an American songwritercomposer and singer. With evergreens such asMoon River or One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) Oscars this four times winning artist belonged to the most celebrated songs writers of the 20th century.


[hide]*1 early life

Life Course[Edit]Edit

Anderson as the fourth son of George Mercer Mercer, a lawyer and real estate broker , and Lillian Elizabeth Ciucevich began as student texts for songs to write. In 1928 he moved to New York City and began his career as an actor for the scene and also got some role, but he developed his talent as a songwriter after one of him written piece Out of Breath (and Scared to Death of You) in 1930 in the Broadway Revue The Garrick Gaieties was recorded. He went to California and scouted as a lyricist for the Musical Paris in the Spring. There he became acquainted with his idols Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. After his return in New York City, he was given a contract as a lyricist of the music publishing house "Miller Music". In 1931 he married with the choral singer Ginger Meehan. In 1932 he won a talent contest as a singer and was about Paul Whiteman for his well-known by Big Band required. The artistic breakthrough he experienced in the consequence of the collaboration with Hoagy Carmichael and the song that Lazybones, a week after its premiere in the broadcasting and "hit" was.Mercer was briefly to a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and a esteemed "brother" in the Tin Pan Alley group.

In the following years he worked with artists such as Jack Teagarden and Bing Crosby, he sang for Benny Goodman (1938/39) and at the beginning of the 1940s got his own show at the broadcaster with the titleJohnny Mercer's Music Shop. Many of his recordings came in the "Top Ten" of the Billboard-charts, four of them were on the first place.

The most important successes had Mercer as a songwriter. Soon he published successively in cooperation with composers as Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Jerome David KernMatty MalneckHarry Warrenand Richard WhitingHenry Mancini later above all also with numerous songs, which in contemporary interpretations by singers such as Bing CrosbyBillie Holiday or Rudy Vallee and Glenn Miller orchestras who's that of Tommy Dorsey or long years the control charts, partly until today many evergreens and Mercer were played to one of the most famous authors of the Great American Songbook made. Around 1000 Songs he has written in the course of his life.

From 1935 he worked as lyricist for Hollywood movies. Four times, he was awarded an Oscar for its contributions to On The Atchison Topeka And The Santa Fé (1945), In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening(1951), Moon River (1961) and Days Of Wine And Roses (1962); Fourteen further songs were nominated for an Oscar. He also garnered success with English-language texts for originally European songs likeAutumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes, 1950)When The World Was Young (Le Chevalier de Paris, 1950) or Summer Wind (Sommer wind, 1965).

Mercer was a close friend of Frank Sinatra, whose work strongly influenced his repertoire. Known are the classic Fred Astaire written originally for One for My Baby and the ballad Come Rain or Come Shine. One of his last compositions, Empty Tables ', ' Mercer wrote in 1973 specifically for Sinatra.

Mercer founded In 1942 together with the composer and film producer Buddy DeSylva and the businessman Glenn Cheer the record company Capitol Records and was their first president. Already in 1946 the label reached a record turnover of around 17% of all traded plates in the United States. Two years after Frank Sinatra recordings are also let make, sold his shares to this company Mercer. In 1969 Mercer belonged to the founders of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and became their first president.

Mercer died in 1976 as a result of a brain tumor. In 1980, he was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.


Works for wind Orchestra[Edit]Edit

Vocal music[Edit]Edit

Songs (own music and own text)[Edit]Edit

  • 1930 Out Of Breath And Scared To Death Of You
  • I'm An Old Cowhand 1936
  • 1936 Lost
  • 1939 You Grow Sweeter As The Years Go By
  • 1942 Strip Polka
  • 1944 G.I. Jive
  • 1944 Dream
  • 1945 Out Of This World
  • 1955 something's Gotta Give (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1957 Bernardine
  • 1960 The Facts Of Life (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1973 Empty Tables

Songs (with music by Harold Arlen)[Edit]Edit

  • 1932 Satan's Li'l Lamb
  • 1941 Blues In The Night (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1941 Says Who, Says You, Says I
  • 1941 This Time The Dreams On Me
  • 1942 That Old Black Magic
  • 1942 Hit The Road To dreamland
  • 1942 Captain Of The Clouds
  • 1943 My Shining Hour (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1943 That Old Black Magic (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1943 One For My Baby
  • 1944 Accentuate The Positive (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1944 I Promise You
  • 1944 Let's Take The Long Way Home
  • 1945 June Comes Around Every Year
  • 1946 Come Rain Or Come Shine
  • 1946 Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home

Songs (with music by Hoagy Carmichael)[Edit]Edit

  • Lazybones 1933
  • 1934 Moon Country
  • 1939 Ooh! What You Said
  • 1939 The Rhumba Jumps
  • 1943 Skylark
  • 1943 The Old Music Master
  • 1951 In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening (Oscar winner)

Songs (with music by Bernard Hanighen)[Edit]Edit

  • Here Come The 1934 British (Bang! Bang!)
  • 1934 When A Woman Loves A Man (together with: Gordon Jenkins)
  • 1935 Dixieland Band
  • 1937 Bob White (Watcha Gonna Swing Tonight?)
  • 1937 Weekend or A Private Secretary

Songs (with music by Gordon Jenkins)[Edit]Edit

Songs (with music by Jerome David Kern)[Edit]Edit

  • 1942 Dearly Beloved (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1942 I'm Old Fashioned
  • 1942 Windmill Under The Stars
  • You Were Never Lovelier 1942

Songs (with music by Matty Malneck)[Edit]Edit

  • Pardon My Southern Accent 1934
  • 1934 If I Had A Million Dollars
  • 1935 Jose Any Miney Mo
  • 1935 If You Were Mine
  • 1936 Goody Goody

Songs (with music by Henry Mancini)[Edit]Edit

  • Moon River 1961 (Oscar winner)
  • 1962 Days Of Wine And Roses (Oscar winner)
  • 1963 Charade (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1964 It Had Better Be Tonight – Meglio Stasera
  • 1965 The Sweetheart Tree (nominated for an Oscar)
  • Whistling Away The Dark 1970 (nominated for an Oscar)

Songs (with music by Jimmy McHugh)[Edit]Edit

  • 1940 I'd Know You Anywhere (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1940 Bad Humour Man
  • 1940 you've Got Me This Way

Songs (with music by Harry Warren)[Edit]Edit

  • Garden Of The Moon 1937 (along with: Al Dubin)
  • 1938 Jeepers Creepers (nominated for an Oscar)
  • 1938 You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby
  • 1945 On The Atchison Topeka And The Santa Fè (Oscar winner)
  • 1945 Wait And See

Songs (with music by Richard Whiting)[Edit]Edit

  • Too Marvelous For Words 1937
  • 1937 Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?
  • 1937 I'll Dream Tonight
  • 1938 Hooray For Hollywood

Songs (with music by other composers)[Edit]Edit


  • Gene read: Portrait Of Johnny: The Life of John Herndon Mercer, New York: Pantheon, 2004. ISBN 0-375-42060-6
  • Philip Furia: Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2004. ISBN 0-312-33099-5
  • Philip Furia: The polishing or Tin Pan Alley-A history of America's great lyricists, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, 322 p.
  • Jozef Robijns, Miep Zijlstra: General music encyclopedia, Haarlem: De Haan, (1979)-1984, ISBN 978-90-228-4930-9
  • Julius Horstein: Sites and sounds of Savannah jazz, Savannah: Gaston Street Press, 1994, 114 p.
  • Wolfgang Suppan, Armin SuppanDas Neue Lexikon des Blasmusikwesens, 4. Auflage, Freiburg-Tiengen, Blasmusikverlag Schulz GmbH, 1994, ISBN 3-923058-07-1
  • Paul e. Bierley, William h. Rehrig: The heritage encyclopedia of band music: composers and their music, Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1991, ISBN 0-918048-08-7

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