“Moon River,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Accentuate the Positive” — Savannah native John Herndon Mercer wrote those songs and a thousand more like them, and his songs are some of the most popular of all time.
In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records, wrote for Broadway musicals, and was nominated for 19 Academy Awards, winning four.
Mercer was born and raised in Savannah, sang in the choir at Christ Church, and listened to Louis Armstrong and Ma Rainey. After his father’s business failed, Mercer went to New York in the 1920s and pursued a career in show business. He won a singing competition and began writing for the most popular jazz musicians of the day, including Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington.
Mercer had even greater success in Hollywood with standards like “One for my Baby” and “That Old Black Magic.” He co-founded Capitol Records in 1942 and revolutionized the recording industry.
Throughout his career, Johnny Mercer drew upon his deep love of Georgia for inspiration, always returning to the place where he was born on November 18, 1909, Today in Georgia History.