Johnny Mercer - 100th Birthday
It's almost impossible to go a day without hearing a Johnny Mercer song. Tunes like "Moon River, " "Hooray for Hollywood, " and "That Old Black Magic" are woven into the fabric of American life. Mercer would have turned 100 in 2009, and The Johnny Mercer Foundation is coordinating an ambitious, year-long slate of activities to commemorate his birthday and his legacy.
The Mercer centennial celebration officially kicked off November 16, with a birthday tribute concert in his hometown of Savannah, Georgia. It will continue throughout the next year with the publication of a new Mercer anthology book, educational programs at Northwestern University and The Songwriters Hall of Fame (which Mercer co-founded), a documentary film to be produced by Clint Eastwood, new CD releases, and much more, culminating with a special performance of Mercer music by Michael Feinstein and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in November 2009. Additionally, the city of Savannah will mount its own year-long program of concerts, galas, historical presentations and cultural activities celebrating the life of Johnny Mercer.
Johnny Mercer Foundation Chairman of the Board Joe Harris said, "We are very excited to be commencing with the Johnny Mercer centennial year, celebrating his incredible body of work and far-reaching influence, and look forward to continuing our charitable works perpetuating the American Songbook."
The Johnny Mercer Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving and celebrating the work of Johnny Mercer and other great American songwriters, and introducing their music to a new generation of listeners. In addition to developing the 'Accentuate the Positive' educational program for elementary-age students, the Foundation has spearheaded several other education initiatives in recent years through partnerships with Camp Broadway, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Northwestern University and Georgia State University. The Foundation also supports numerous charitable organizations through Mercer's royalties.
Johnny Mercer was born on November 18, 1909, and died on June 25, 1976. He wrote more than 1500 songs in a career that spanned nearly fifty years. His work appeared in over 90 films and he was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards, winning four. Mercer wrote six Broadway shows, and was himself a top radio personality and recording artist. He co-founded Capitol Records, and nurtured the talents of musical legends such as Margaret Whiting, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole.
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