Year By Year

1950

Mercer replaces French poet Jacques Prevert’s lyrics to a Joseph Kosma tune “Les feuilles mortes” and creates the standard “Autumn Leaves,” perhaps one of his most performed songs.

1951

Second “Best Song” Academy Award for “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” written with Hoagy Carmichael (from the film Here Comes The Groom).

Mercer writes the music and lyrics for the musical Top Banana starring comedian Phil Silvers. Opens on Broadway November 1st and runs for 350 performances.

1953

Begins hosting his own show for the CBS radio network. The appropriately titled Johnny Mercer Show was broadcast nightly five days a week.

1954

Collaborates with Gene De Paul to write songs for the MGM film musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

1955

Johnny sells his percentage in Capitol Records to EMI.

Johnny sends check for $300,000.00 to a Savannah bank with instructions to pay the investors his late father still owed after his real estate business failed in the late twenties.

1956

Mercer writes songs with Gene de Paul for the Broadway musical Li’l Abner, based on Al Capp’s comic strip characters. Becomes Mercer’s biggest Broadway success, running for 693 performances.

1957

Mercer writes lyrics for the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn tune “Satin Doll.”

Late 1950’s

Appears as guest on television programs, including The Perry Como Show (1957), The Andy Williams Show and The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1959), and The Bing Crosby Show (1960).