Johnny Mercer

John Herndon Mercer ( born November 18, 1909 in Savannah, Georgia, † June 25, 1976 in Los Angeles, California ) was an American singer, composer and songwriter. With evergreens like Moon River or One for My Baby (And One More for the Road ) of the four -time Oscar winner is one of the most prolific song writers of the 20th century.


The son of a lawyer and real estate agent from Georgia, who wrote the lyrics even as a schoolboy songs, his career began in the late 1920s in New York, where he first sought a career as a stage actor, and also some smaller roles was, however, soon developed his talents as a songwriter, after a written piece by him in 1930 in the Broadway musical Garrick Gaieties of 1930 was using.

1932 Mercer won a talent contest as a singer and was committed by Paul Whiteman for his extremely popular big band. In the following years duettierte Mercer, among others, Jack Teagarden and Bing Crosby sang for Benny Goodman (1938 /39) and got the early 1940s, his own radio show Johnny Mercer 's Music Shop. More than a dozen of his shots came in the top ten of the Billboard charts, four of which made ​​it to number 1

The most lasting success but Mercer had as a songwriter. In rapid succession he published in collaboration with composers like Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Bernie Hanighen, Jerome David Kern Matty Malneck, Harry Warren and Richard Whiting, later especially with Henry Mancini, numerous songs in contemporary interpretations of vocalists like Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday or Rudy Vallee and orchestras such as Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey for years dominated the charts, partly to today frequently played evergreens and Mercer made ​​her one of the most prolific authors of the Great American Songbook. He wrote during his life almost 1000 songs.

Four times won Mercer, who also wrote songs for various Hollywood films from 1935, the Oscar ( for On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe by Harry Warren in 1945, In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening with Hoagy Carmichael in 1951 and moon River in 1961, Days Of Wine and Roses 1962, both had with Henry Mancini ), 14 more of his songs were nominated for an Oscar last Life Is What You Make It 1971. success Mercer also with English lyrics for European songs like Autumn Leaves ( Les feuilles Mortes, 1950), When The World Was Young (Le Chevalier de Paris, 1950), or summer Wind (Summer Wind, 1965).

A special influence had his songs to the repertoire of Frank Sinatra, with the Mercer decades in private was a close friend and grossed more than five dozen of his songs and kept some for decades in the program, including those originally written for Fred Astaire Saloon Classic 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.

Together with the composer and film producer Buddy DeSylva and the business man Glenn Wallichs founded Mercer 1942, the record company, Capitol Records, whose first president was. With artists like Paul Whiteman, Ella Mae Morse, Stan Kenton, Jo Stafford, Nat King Cole and Margaret Whiting Capitol recorded in 1946 already responsible for one sixth of all records sold in the United States. In 1955, two years after Frank Sinatra had joined Capitol, Mercer sold his shares to the record company for millions.

1969 Mercer was one of the founders of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was its first president. Until his last months in active, Mercer died in the summer of 1976, the consequences of a brain tumor. One of his last texts, When October Goes, Barry Manilow set to music in the same year.

Published in 2004, Gene Lees, even profiled composer and jazz musician, an extensive biography of Johnny Mercer.

Published in 2006, a native of New Orleans pianist Dr. John Album Mercernary, on which he re- set to music many well-known title Johnny Mercer.

His best known songs as a songwriter (selection)

His most famous own recordings (selection)