Program Details

Johnny Mercer: Four Time Academy Award-Winning Icon 

Harvey Granat
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Johnny Mercer was one of America's greatest lyricists. He was also a popular performer and a founder of Capitol Records, providing a critical boost to the careers of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, and Jo Stafford. This program will provide an appreciation of Mercer through lecture, live performance, and rare videos. We'll look at his early childhood and how he was influenced by early Black music, both religious and commercial. Among the many songs you'll hear are “Blues in the Night”, “Fools Rush In”, “Moon River”, “The Atchison Topica, and the Santa Fe”, and many more. We'll look at the movies and Broadway shows for which he wrote, his bouts of alcoholism, his relationship with Judy Garland, and his founding of the Songwriters Hall of Fame (on whose board Granat served).

About the Instructor

  • Harvey Granat leads an exciting life as a performer and music historian. He performs at various supper clubs, resorts, and other cultural venues, including Lincoln Center, Norton Museum, Feinstein's at the Regency, Metropolitan Room, Birdland, and Canyon Ranch, where he has performed more than 250 shows. He presents a very popular series on “The American Songbook” at The 92nd St Y in NYC, now in its 7th year. His shows are unique in that they focus on a composer or lyricist, combining the performance of their songs with fascinating inside stories from their lives. Granat produced four-time Academy Award winner Sammy Cahn on Broadway in the very successful “Words and Music”. His friendship with Cahn led to his serving on the Board of The Songwriters Hall of Fame with Cahn. He is a major collector of original letters and manuscripts of some of the greats and there is a "Harvey Granat George and Ira Gershwin Collection" at The Library of Congress