NPR Shines A Light On Johnny Mercer

Videos by American Songwriter


Yesterday would have been Johnny Mercer’s 100th birthday. The celebrated songwriter, who penned “Moon River,” “Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive,” “Hooray For Hollywood” and many more, died in 1976 at the age of 66.

NPR’s Fresh Air crafted a tribute to the “pop poet laureate.” Jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore and Dave Frishberg (who wrote “I’m Just A Bill”) perform some of his classics and discuss their interactions with the songwriting great. It’s well worth a listen. Check it out here.

Mercer described his songwriting process in 1971: “You get a little glimmer and you say, ‘Ahhh!’ You don’t even know if it’s a word. And then it begins to … you know, it’s like you’re tuning in to a musical instrument that’s miles away. And you say, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s something there. If I just dig hard enough, I know it’ll come.’

In October, Random House published “The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer .”

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