Johnny Mercer - Posthumous Success

Posthumous Success

In his last year, Mercer became fond of pop singer Barry Manilow, in part because Manilow's first hit record was of a song titled "Mandy", which was also the name of Mercer's daughter Amanda. After Mercer's death in 1976 from a brain tumor, his widow, Ginger Mehan Mercer, arranged to give some unfinished lyrics he had written to Manilow to possibly develop into complete songs. Among these was a piece titled "When October Goes", a melancholy remembrance of lost love. Manilow applied his own melody to the lyric and issued it as a single in 1984, when it became a top 10 Adult Contemporary hit in the United States. The song has since become a jazz standard, with notable recordings by Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Wilson, and Megon McDonough, among other performers.

Mercer was honored by the United States Postal Service with his portrait placed on a stamp in 1996. Mercer's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1628 Vine Street is a block away from the Capitol Records building at 1750 Vine Street.

Mercer was given tribute in John Berendt's book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer song "Skylark", sung by K.D. Lang, features prominently in the movie and the movie soundtrack is a tribute album to Johnny Mercer, containing 14 Mercer songs performed by a variety of jazz and pop recording artists.

The Johnny Mercer Collections, including his papers and memorabilia, are preserved in the library of Georgia State University in Atlanta. GSU occasionally holds events showcasing Mercer's works.

In November 2009, a statue of Mercer was unveiled in Ellis Square in Savannah, Georgia, his hometown and birthplace.

The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer was published by Knopf in October 2009.The Complete Lyrics contains the texts to nearly 1,500 of his lyrics, several hundred of them appearing in print for the first time.

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