Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of Johnny and Henry and Hoagy

One of the things I dislike about this blog is that when someone sends me an anonymous email, I cannot respond to them directly.  This morning brought one such email.  So, I will respond here in the blog.

The writer suggested that Johnny Mercer may have won the Oscar for Best Song with 'Moon River' more for his body of work than that one song.  And that may be true, but well, he had won two Oscars previously.

The first in 1946 for 'On the Atchison, Topeka  and the Sante Fe' .  He won again in 1951 for 'In the Cool Cool, Cool of the Evening' with Hoagy Carmichael writing the music.  The music for the 1961 win with 'Moon River' was composed by Henry Mancini.  I stand by the 'sappy' description; not my favorite song that these two composers wrote together.  That song would be 'The Days of Wine and Roses', which won the Oscar in 1962.

Now, if my brain could hold as much useful information about any subject as it does song lyrics, I would be a genius.  Name a song written by these men and I can probably sing several bars of it for you.  I even know the lyrics to 'Autumn Leaves' in French.

So, back to Johnny.  Having read the book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil', I made sure I saw the movie.   And then, I bought the soundtrack CD.  I am sitting here blogging and listening to it.  How can you not love listening to a CD that starts off with the song 'Skylark' by Johnny and Hoagy.  And the song 'Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive' is sung by none other than Clint Eastwood (who produced the CD and directed the movie.)

A trip to Savannah, GA, and a visit to Mercer's Home.

And I am sure I was humming his songs while there.

As for Henry,  I have a three-disc set of his songs.  I also have album soundtracks.  'The Pink Panther' is certainly one of my favorites.  And the album notes (ya gotta be old to remember those days) by Peter Sellers are hilarious.

As for Hoagy, ever play 'Heart and Soul' on the piano?  The music was composed by him.  And I know you all know the words to 'Stardust'.  Or at the very least, know it when you hear it.

It would be very hard for me to pick a favorite from all of their compositions.  As for Johnny, his last lyric was published as a song with music by Barry Mailow and is titled 'When October Goes'.  And yes, I have the CD '2:00 AM Paradise Cafe'.  And I can sing along, too.  It's the kind of album for a young girl who had dreams of 'Singing with the Big Bands' or sitting atop a piano in a smoky lounge.  Someone born just a little too late for the times.

Talk about musical genius!  These men were phenomenal.  Have fun following the links and listening to the tunes.

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