As a Savannah native, Johnny Mercer was born here on November 18, 1909. He was a singer, songwriter, lyricist, composer, and record label executive. When he moved to New York City to try his hand at acting, the fates had other plans. Instead of landing any major role, he contributed to a Broadway song in 1930 that launched his very successful music career.
Once he landed a job with the Paul Whiteman Band/Orchestra, the sky was the only limit for Johnny. He moved to Hollywood in 1933 and had 29 hit songs between 1938 and 1952. Not only did he become known for Broadway and Hollywood hits, but he had his own radio show in the 1940s as well!
If you don’t recognize his name, you are sure to recognize his musical talents by titles such as “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby,” “Fools Rush In,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Laura,” One For My Baby…,” “Hooray For Hollywood,” and “Moon River” to name only a few.
Additionally, Johnny Mercer co-founded and was the President of Capitol Records. He also helped establish the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Each of his accomplishments can be attributed to his Southern roots due to his appreciation of nature and the love of his family. The scenic countryside, concerts he attended in Forsyth Park, regional African-American music sounds, and dances on both the Isle of Hope and Tybee Island all served as inspiration for his talent.
Johnny’s legacy lives on through the Johnny Mercer Foundation, which is dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the songwriting craft and discipline that he so beautifully mastered and shared with the world.