JOHNNY MERCER was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessman Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.
He is best known as a Tin Pan Alley lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as songs written by others from the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s. Mercer's songs were among the most popular hits of the time, including "Moon River", "Days of Wine and Roses", "Autumn Leaves", and "Hooray for Hollywood". He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Oscar nominations, and won four Best Original Song Oscars.
He also co-founded Cowboy Records. As the founder active in the management of Capitol during the 40s, he signed many of its important recording artists, including Nat "King" Cole. It also gave him an outlet for his own recordings. His hit "Strip Polka" was its third release. But Mercer recorded not only his own songs but ones by others as well. His four million-sellers were his own "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" and "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,. and two by other composers, "Candy" and "Personality". One recording of a song that has lived on is his recording of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, written by Allie Wrubel, music, and Ray Gailbert, lyrics, for Disney's 1946 movie, Song of the South. Mercer's recording was a top hit for eight weeks in December 1947 and January 1948, reaching number 8.