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John Herndon Mercer, 18 November 1909, Savannah, Georgia, USA, d. 25 June 1976, Los Angeles, California, USA. A distinguished lyricist, composer and singer, Mercer was an important link with the first generation of composers of indigenous American popular music such as Jerome Kern and Harry Warren, through to post-World War II writers like Henry Mancini. Along the way, he collaborated with several others, including Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Gene De Paul, Rube Bloom, Richard Whiting, Victor Schertzinger, Gordon Jenkins, Jimmy Van Heusen, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Arthur Schwartz and Matty Malneck. Most of the time, Mercer wrote the literate and witty lyrics, but occasionally the melody as well.
Mercer moved to New York in the late 20s and worked in a variety of jobs before placing one of his first songs, Out Of Breath And Scared To Death Of You, (written with Everett Miller), in The Garrick Gaieties Of 1930. During the...