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Happy Birthday, Johnny Mercer

One of the fun things about posting old music is that if it survived this long, it’s usually great. Another fun thing is that the videos themselves are time capsules.

Here is Johnny Mercer singing a medley of his hits on “The Steve Allen Show.” Allen came after Jack (Paar), but before Johnny, Jay, David, Conan and the rest.

Wikipedia hasย more about Mercer, who was born on this day in 1909.

This is from one of the comments at YouTube:

The date of this program is: March 28, 1960 on NBC. Johnny wrote more than 1,500 songs, eighteen of which were nominated for an Academy Award. Four of his songs did win the Oscar: “On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe”, “In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening”, ” Moon River”, and ” The Days Of Wine And Roses”.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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