Our Georgia History

Johnny Mercer
November 18, 1909 Songwriter Johnny Mercer was born in Savannah
  Savannah, Georgia births and deaths
  Johnny Mercer
June 25, 1976 Songwriter Johnny Mercer dies in Los Angeles from complications after surgery to remove a brain tumor
  Johnny Mercer

In a time of great songwriters, Johnny Mercer was not only one of the best, he was one of the most prolific. His journey began in 1929, thanks in part to the crumbling economy of Georgia (Georgia entered a depression well before the United States). He left for New York where he had limited initial success. It was fortune, winning a job with Paul Whiteman's orchestra (literally--Whiteman held a contest to replace Bing Crosby and Mercer won). He met Hoagy Charmichael, with whom he would repeatedly team. Within a year Mercer began to produce songs at an astounding rate, writing not only for Whiteman, but many other New York performers. In 1936 he got his first movie exposure when he wrote the music for Bing Crosby's "Rhythm on the Range." Benny Goodman made him a regular (as a singer) on the Cavalcade of Stars sponsored by Camel Cigarettes. Throughout his life he would team with some of the most famous composers of the time - Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen and Henry Mancini along with Carmichael. Among his biggest hits were I'm an old Cow Hand, You must have been a Beautiful Baby, That Old Black Magic, Jeepers Creepers, Goody, Goody, On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe from (Harvey Girls, 1946), Moon River, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive, and Charade. Perhaps, though, his lasting legacy is the formation of Capitol Records in 1942, now a music powerhouse.

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