The perfect place to start our year-long tribute to American Songbook lyricists is with Johnny Mercer, writer of the lyrics for more than 1,000 of America’s finest and most memorable songs in collaboration with well-known composers--Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Harry Warren, Henry Mancini and others. He also was the composer of many of his own songs, a singer of considerable charm and the co-founder of Capitol Records, a major force in the dissemination of American popular song in the 1940s and 1950s.
You are going to be hearing a lot of Mercer music this year. It is the centennial of his birth date--November 16, 1909. Festivities in his home town of Savannah, Georgia have already been underway for several months. For the Jazz Kings this is a golden opportunity to focus on someone whose music we have performed many times over the past decade as we celebrated the music of his major collaborators.
For four decades, Mercer was the pulse of Americana with funny songs ("Goody, Goody"), sad songs ("One For My Baby"), rhythm songs ("At the Jazz Band Ball"), witty songs ("My New Celebrity Is You"), and poetic songs ("Early Autumn").