Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Johnny Mercer birthday tribute.

On November 15th, my radio show's standard format was thrown out in order to give as much time as possible to a birthday celebration of one of the show's  patron saints, Johnny Mercer (born November 18th, 1909). It still wasn't enough time - I never got to play a number of Mercer standards like 'Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive', 'On the Acheson Topeka and the Santa Fe', 'Come Rain or Come Shine', 'Satin Doll', 'Dream', 'Something's Gotta Give', 'G.I. Jive', 'Autumn Leaves', 'The Glow Worm'... There's just too much to fit within a two hour show.

Mercer was one of the great lyric writers of the American Songbook. He also composed a number of hits. He recorded other songwriter's work and made hits of those, too. And he was the founder of Capitol Records where he signed (and guided the careers of) Nat King Cole, Margaret Whiting, Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Les Brown, Frank Sinatra (for what became the rebirth of swing), and many, many others. Technically he should be noted as 'co-founder', but it was his idea and creation. The owner of a chain of record stores heard about it from Harold Arlen, one of Mercer's songwriting partners, and signed on to run the business side. Mercer also brought in a Hollywood producer (and occasional songwriter) for fundraising. There's a lot to be said about Mr. Mercer, his life, his talents, stories about his songs, and so on and so forth. But I'm not going to tell them. Any man who can write, "I remember you, you're the one who made my dreams come true, a few kisses ago..." is more than capable of speaking for himself.

I hope anyone who cares to listen enjoys the show.