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Johnny Mercer : Southern Songwriter for the World (Reprint) (Paperback) (Glenn T. Eskew)

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John Herndon “Johnny” Mercer (1909–76) remained in the forefront of American entertainment from the 1930s through the 1960s, writing over fifteen-hundred songs, collaborating with all the great popular composers and jazz musicians of his day, working in Hollywood and on Broadway, and co-founding Capitol Records where he promoted the careers of Nat “King” Cole, Margaret Whiting, Peggy Lee, and other top performers. Mercer’s lyrics—originally sung by Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and today by scores of others—form a canonical chapter in the Great American Songbook.

Four of Mercer’s eighteen nominations received Academy Awards for Best Song and of his one hundred hits, of the thirty-six that made the Top Ten, fourteen climbed to No. 1. As an entertainer he sang on four songs to reach the top spot while also hosting radio shows and appearing on television. Exhaustively researched, Glenn T. Eskew’s biography improves upon earlier popular treatments of the Savannah, Georgia–born songwriter to produce a sophisticated, insightful, evenhanded examination of one of America’s most popular and successful chart-toppers.

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