Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Johnny Mercer, Happy Birthday!

Johnny Mercer was born November 18, 1909, in Savannah, Georgia. Today is the 100th anniversary of his birth, and I've been humming Skylark all day long, one of the most beautiful, melancholy songs I know.

Skylark, have you anything to say to me?
Won`t you tell me where my love can be?
Is there a meadow in the mist
where someone`s waiting to be kissed?

Skylark, have you seen a valley green with spring
where my heart can go a journeying
over the shadows and the rain
to a blossom covered lane?

And in your lonely flight
haven`t you heard the music in the night,
wonderful music,
faint as a will o` the wisp, crazy as a loon,
sad as a gypsy serenading the moon.

Oh, skylark, I don`t know if you can find these things
but my heart is riding on your wings.
So if you see them anywhere
won`t you lead me there?

- Johnny Mercer

The movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, from John Berendt's book, was set in Savannah, and if you've seen the movie, you've heard a beautiful, haunting version of Skylark, performed by k.d. lang.

Mercer also wrote I'm an Old Cowhand From the Rio Grande! Now, that's an accomplishment worth noting!

And another haunting song, Moon River, which more or less served as the background music of my entire teenage and young-adult life, was composed by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini in 1961.

Back to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: I just discovered that on the sound track of this movie, That Old Black Magic was sung by Kevin Spacey, who is one of my favorite actors and who starred in the movie.

I think I'll have to watch this movie again! The only part I don't like is the weird fellow with bugs on strings tied to his head!


Una said...

I don't remember ever hearing Skylark, but I love Moon River and a lot of his other songs. I saw a TV show about Johnny Mercer, I think it was last year. A very talented guy, he was.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

I remember that Jim what's his name lived in Muhsuh House. I too love Kevin Spacey, especially as he played Jim. That's a good movie, and Johnny Mercer's music is excellent.

Fran said...

What a beautiful song Ramey,

I knew this song: Skylarck, but to hear it now together with the lyrics, it makes it more special.
Of course I know some English but it's sometimes not so easy to understand the vocal words, so now and then I miss a word in a song.
Moon River, also one of my favorites!