Happy Birthday, Johnny Mercer!

In his 66 years, lyricist, songwriter and singer Johnny Mercer, born 106 years ago today in Savannah, Georgia, managed an astonishing number of achievements.

Mercer founded Capitol Records. He wrote lyrics for more than fifteen hundred songs. He was nominated for 19 Oscars (he won four). The USPS placed his portrait on a stamp. The man was a true legend. Very few songwriters have more entries in the Great American Songbook than does Mercer.

Johnny Mercer quote

The list of classic songs for which he wrote the words, the music or both is amazing: Lazy Bones, Hooray For Hollywood,” “Too Marvelous for Words,” “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “And the Angels Sing,” “Fools Rush In,” “I Remember You,” “Skylark,” “That Old Black Magic,” “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road), “Laura,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “Moon River,” “Summer Wind,”—and that’s leaving out literally dozens of memorable songs.

Happy birthday, Mr. Mercer, wherever you may be.

Happy Birthday, George Gershwin!

We love a Gershwin tune; how about you?

George Gershwin, born 117 years ago today, has long been our favorite composer of the Cladrite Era (though in recent years, Cole Porter’s been making up ground in that horse race). Gershwin’s life was far too short, but he managed to squeeze an amazing number of memorable songs and orchestral works into his 39 years.

Happy birthday, George, and thanks for the tunes!

George Gershwin quote

Happy Birthday, Cole Porter!

The great Cole Porter was born 124 years ago today in Peru, Indiana. George Gershwin has long been our favorite composer from the Cladrite Era, but we’ve come to appreciate Mr. Porter much more in recent years—so much so that he’s pretty much neck-and-neck with Mr. Gershwin. In any case, there’s certainly room in our world for both (and for so many other great composers of yore).

Here’s to you, Cole, wherever you may be.

Cole Porter quote

Happy birthday, Mr. Porter!

Today marks 122 years since the great Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana. Would that he were still with us, composing classic songs.

We’re marking the occasion by sharing our two favorite recordings of his songs: Jeri Southern‘s sublime rendition of “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” and Artie Shaw‘s seminal recording of “Begin the Beguine” (perhaps our favorite big band recording of all time).