When I was last in Mercer’s hometown of Savannah, Sarah, Helen Estelle and I visited his gravesite at Bonaventure Cemetery, where you can see this self portrait caricature on a bench there.
Mercer’s music was so beloved, it is unsurprising that Bette Midler performed a song Johnny Mercer wrote with Harold Arlen as the last act on Johnny Carson’s farewell show—and it clearly choked up Carson, as you can see in this video:
Johnny Mercer received nineteen Academy Award nominations for the songs he wrote for films; he won four, the first one in 1946 for “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,” which he wrote with Harry Warren for The Harvey Girls, performed here by the cast ensemble including Judy Garland:
Mercer’s songs were performed by many performers including himself. Here is a short clip of him singing “At the Jazz Band Ball” in a 1964 television appearance:
It’s so interesting to me to hear the many ways that artists have styled Mercer’s adaptable songs. Here, as today’s “Groove” selection, is one of my favorites performed in three very different ways.
Groove of the Day
“I Remember You”