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Johnny Mercer, The Legend

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Album Review

Mail-order firm the Good Music Record Company licensed this compilation of Johnny Mercer material from Capitol Records, the company he co-founded, and it presents a good survey of his popular recordings from the 1940s and early 1950s. Among the 22 tracks are all of Mercer's number one hits — "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Candy," "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe," and "Personality" — as well as five of his other seven Top Ten singles (the missing: "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," "Huggin' and Chalkin'"), several of his other chart songs, such as "The Glow Worm" (a Mercer copyright that was a bigger hit for the Mills Brothers), and some intriguing performances, including his takes on "One For My Baby (And One More for the Road)" and "Blues in the Night," songs for which he wrote the lyrics to music by Harold Arlen. Employing the better part of the Capitol Records roster, the singer is often accompanied on vocals by the Pied Pipers, twice by Jo Stafford, and once each by Margaret Whiting and Nat "King" Cole, while the Benny Goodman Orchestra plays on two tracks. Mercer is better remembered as a songwriter than a recording artist, but this set confirms his appeal as a performer.


Born: 18 November 1909 in Savannah, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Johnny Mercer's main claim to immortality is his incredible songwriting output, penning the lyrics or music and lyrics to roughly 1,500 songs. Marked by a sophisticated, occasionally whimsical mastery of language and rhymes, many of Mercer's songs have become standards regularly covered by jazz artists. Yet he was also a successful singer, with a relaxed, Southern-accented, jazzy, rhythmically agile delivery that resulted in several major hits in the 1940s. At first, he was torn between acting and...
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Johnny Mercer, The Legend, Johnny Mercer
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