Johnny Mercer — singer, songwriter — would have been 100 today.
This meant that there were a bunch of shows discussing this accomplished musician and lyricist. I was struck with the different perspectives that were shared from different shows.
In the afternoon, the NPR show “All Things Considered” provided an overview of Johnny Mercer’s music, and discussed how he struggled in his career to survive the growing popularity of rock and roll. As Elvis’ star rose, so Johnny Mercer’s fell. Yet Johnny regained his fame when Henry Mancini asked him to write a song for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Johnny Mercer did, and won an Oscar for it. He won an Oscar the next year for the song: “The Days of Wine and Roses.” His collaboration with Henry Mancini helped rise Johnny Mercer to the top again.
Turner Classic Movies aired four movies in which Johnny Mercer’s music was featured, including “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.” In between movies, a Mercer historian commented that things were still rough for Johnny. He was only getting one song out per year. And in some cases, only one or two lines of the song would be heard in the movie. For all the fame of being an Oscar-winning musician, Johnny Mercer still wasn’t where he wanted to be.
Two different perspectives. One great musician.