Tagged: Johnny Mercer Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:06 am on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexander the Great, , , , Johnny Mercer, , , , pied piper, ,   


    Great” is a great multi-purpose word which can be used in many ways: from prosaically (“Have a great day”), to pompously (Alexander the Great), to — if you follow me — pied piper-ly (“Make America great again!”).*

    *pied piper: 1. One who entices others with delusive promises. 2. An appealing but irresponsible leader. –Webster’s New College Dictionary

    In my previous post (GREAT EXPECTORATIONS), I used it playfully. I hope the great writer Charles Dickens would have approved (I hold no Great Expectations that he would have). In any case, in this post, I will play it musically. It’s gonna be a Great Day!

    If a Great Day isn’t enough, how about a Great Life?

    Or, put another way, It’s Great To Be Alive.

    Of course, it’s hard to have a great life without great leaders — men like Napoleon, Disraeli, Alexander the Great, The Pied Piper….contenders, all. But who’s the greatest?

    Sorry about that, Pied Piper. You promised pie in the sky, but Wintergreen said Let ’em Eat Cake. Looks like Pied will be paying the Piper and eating crow before all is said and done….speaking of which, I am.


    • Don Frankel 9:02 am on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Another great one Muse.

      Now this one doesn’t belong here musically but goodness, gracious…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 10:56 am on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. I didn’t realize this song became the title of a 1989 movie about the life of Jerry Lee Lewis. Obviously I didn’t see it, but I have seen BALL OF FIRE (1941) starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, which was a great BALL OF FIRE.

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 12:22 pm on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Great post.

      Liked by 2 people

    • markscheel1 1:24 pm on January 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hope you meant you’re at the end of the piece, and not that you’re eating crow. But, you never know, don’t be too hard on the old piper–he’s actually got the economy roaring and the market blowing the roof off. Ha. As for the previous post, I didn’t get past the title as it precipitated a coughing fit (yeah, got some kind of bug in the pipes now, but the nurse pract. tested me and said it ain’t the killer flu). Anyway, I’d sing along with some of those “great” songs, if I didn’t fear another coughing fit.


      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 8:43 pm on January 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        If I’m not mistaken, Mark, the economy was already on the upswing when Obama turned the reins over to The Donald. But all Presidents take credit when the economy is going good and blame their predecessor (or other factors) when the economy is bad, so what else is new? If any President deserves some credit for rescuing the economy, think back to the financial crisis that Obama inherited when he was first elected in 2008.

        Sorry about your coughing fit, but don’t blame me — blame Charles Dickens for the title that I merely tinkered with. The Republicans probably had something to do with it too. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • markscheel1 1:40 pm on January 23, 2018 Permalink

          Hi muse,

          Well, my sources (such as John Mauldin, the financial guru) would indicate just the opposite. Bush had begun remedial efforts in the last months of his term when he saw the normal and natural downswing in the economic cycle and when Obama got in he instituted policies that were focused on “social justice,” not economic prosperity, and we thus fell into a full recession and continued to lag behind throughout his two terms. When Trump got in, economic optimism began to prevail and as he removed hamstringing regulations and got the tax cut, things began to really take off. So, pick your poison. Where do we go for actual facts today? The major media has surrendered all credibility. I made friends recently with a distinguished Jewish journalist who is an avid Trump supporter. She has written in detail of the accomplishments of his administration in the first year (in spite of everybody working against him) that are never discussed by the big media outlets. And it’s amazing and most encouraging. We have to distinguish between the man and the agenda. While one may dislike the man, the agenda has many positives, if properly understood (and most liberals refuse to properly understand anything, opting instead to run completely on emotion–IMHO). Of course, if one supports a communist philosophy, one will hate the agenda too. But note where that leads–to wit, the breakdown of the socialized medical system in the UK right now with the flu epidemic.

          Yes, the “establishment” Republicans do precipitate fits on my part at times, why not coughing spasms too? LOL Now, do you see why I’m opting to quit writing about politics today on my blog and go back to times and places that make sense? Thanks for sticking with me.



    • Madame Vintage 3:00 pm on January 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I would protest as i am sure many will, that Donald Trump can make anything ‘good’ in America let alone great so let me put that in the shadows of pretence. Moving along this is indeed a great post with a great set of tunes.

      Sincerely Sonea

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 4:09 pm on January 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Well, Trump is certainly great at turning aside questions about his behavior and trying to divert attention elsewhere. America once suffered through the Great Depression; now we’re going through the Great Diversion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 11:08 am on January 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A wonderful selection of music! A perfect way to start the day. Thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 1:00 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, , , I'll Take Tallulah, , , Johnny Mercer, , , , Tangerine, TINA, Tommy Dorsey,   

    IT’S T TIME 

    It’s T time — time once again to take to the links and “T” off. Our first link, as I post this in the wee small hours of the morning, is a tune that goes through a roll call of maids-in-waiting. As you will hear, Frank’LL TAKE TALLULAH. (It dawns on me that come the Don, Frankel take her too, or I miss my bet*):

    *referring to our friend Don Frankel, fellow unofficial member of the Frank Sinatra fan club

    Four years after the above 1944 recording, another T came into Sinatra’s life:

    As you may know, Tina is the name of Sinatra’s ‘other’ daughter (Nancy being the older and more celebrated of the two). So how did Tina really feel about her famous father?

    We started with a WW II era song from a movie, and we’ll close with another: Johnny Mercer’s TANGERINE, from THE FLEET’S IN (1942). The orchestra this time is Jimmy Dorsey’s (brother of Tommy, who took Tallulah aboard Ship Ahoy in the first clip):

    If the last clip, in particular, shows its age and looks/sounds quaint to us today, remember this is what your parents or grandparents listened and danced to in their day ….and you would have done the same in their place. Truth be told, aren’t most of us captives of the culture we’re in? I may be spitting into the wind, but it strikes me that we’re stuck in shallow water if we think there is only ‘now.’ Why so many have so little interest in where we came from is beyond me. It might tell us how we got here. It might even help tell us where to go (not that I would ever do such a thing).


    • scifihammy 5:41 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love that last clip. It reminds me exactly of the kind of music my Mum loved to listen to. And they could really sing in those days – not like now! (Seems the Video is more important than the music these days!)
      I think it’s fascinating to find out things from the past.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:29 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I’m glad you like finding out things from the past, because there aren’t a lot of things more past than me. I’m so ancient, my dreams about girls are re-runs (as the old joke goes). 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 9:33 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink

          hahaha And oh dear! 😀
          But you may be surprised to learn I’m pretty sure I’m around your age and I always believe you’re as young as you feel . . Either that or I’m having my second childhood!
          Anyway, thank you for the great post as always 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:40 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, I never heard Tallulah and a nice piece of music too.

      The story I heard behind the song Tina is that after Nancy with the Laughing Face was such a big hit, Sinatra had to have a song for his other daughter. And you’re right if you like a subject you really need to know its history.

      But people need to know history, period. I was speaking to someone last week and Thanksgiving comes up and I’m stunned as I start talking about it that the guy I’m talking to has no idea what the holiday is all about. When it comes to history in this country it sort of amazes me how little we know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:17 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. BTW, in case you didn’t notice it in the second sentence of my post, 8 of the words come from the title of one of Sinatra’s most popular albums: IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING. The reason I know it is I own it.


    • arekhill1 2:27 pm on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t think of a T song to add to yours, Sr. Muse, but I’ve solved your X problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:16 pm on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Xena would have to age about 30 more years to qualify as an oldie in my book, Ricardo….and I doubt that she would appreciate being accorded oldie status just for the privilege of solving my X problem. So, though I appreciate the thought, unfortunately this doesn’t change the concession I’ve made about having to X-clude X from post-consideration.


    • Don Frankel 7:35 pm on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, I caught that and that’s why I came up with “how little we know”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Madame Vintage 2:11 pm on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      It’s always Tea time for moi. The song in honour of Sinatras daighter -Tina is very admirable and in return to hear her speak of her father in such a ‘normal’ way. Tangerine being my favourite one here. It’s a beautiful orchestra which I favour the sound of quite fondly. It’s funny how were told not to grow up so quickly yet I always had a fondness for things that went beyond my years. Now nearing 30, I appreciate exploring such eras moreso with a passion, sadly not many people in my social friendship feel the same way.

      Sincerely Sonea


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hocus-pocus, , , Johnny Mercer, LAURA, Lindy Hop, , , SWEET LORRAINE,   


    The above title (a contraction of HELLZAPOPPIN, a 1941 movie based on a long-running Broadway show of the same name) sets the stage for letter L in our fem song series. Ere we proceed, just for the L of it, let’s pop in on the film’s frenetic LINDY HOP dance number:

    Speaking of numbers, I’m breaking L up into two parts — due, not just to an abundance of Lady L songs to choose from, but to previously needing to combine two letters (H-I) into one post. Part II will get the focus back on locus, becoming opus #12 of this hocus-pocus, once again matching the post with the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

    Our first Lady L is the title song of the 1944 film noir classic LAURA, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, who Must Have Been A Beautiful (November) Baby*. Believe it or not, Mercer wrote what has to be a record 20+ songs with a girl’s name* in the title — none more haunting than….

    We conclude Part One with the indelible SWEET LORRAINE (instrumental version):

    If you want to ‘sing along’ with the song (assuming your family and/or neighbors won’t object/protest), here are the lyrics:


    • * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    • Johnny Mercer was born November 18, 1909. YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL BABY was one of his many hit songs.
    • Mercer “girl’s name” list (#2 after Cinderella signifies two songs with that name in the title):

    Cinderella (2)








    • arekhill1 1:48 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:39 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “the face in the misty light. Footsteps that you hear down the hallway.” Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, the very beautiful Gene Tierney, the great portrait and that haunting refrain.

      Laura. “I’m going to call the police.”
      Detective MacPherson. “But I am the police.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:23 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Great song. Great film (with a GREAT cast). Here’s another quote I like from the film: “For a charming, intelligent girl, you’ve certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.” –Dana Andrews (as Detective McPherson)


    • scifihammy 9:15 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      And the kids today think they can dance? I bet they couldn’t do half the things in that first clip!
      Lovely collection of L songs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:27 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I get out of breath just watching that Lindy Hop clip. But SWEET LORRAINE (as played by the Jimmy Noone Orchestra) is the calm after the storm, in a manner of speaking — ‘liquid’ notes for the soul.

        Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 2:12 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink

          I have a record of Nat King Cole singing it beautifully and I also like Frank Sinatra’s version. 🙂 Liquid notes for the soul indeed 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Scheel 10:47 pm on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse–whatever happened to those good ol’ days of song and dance? While waiting in the doctor’s office reception area, I watched three graphic, bloody, brutal murders on a big screen (some police procedural show). That’s today’s entertainment? Since it’s oldsters in the urology clinic, why couldn’t they show clips from Hellzapoppin?


      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        One of the things I like about most old movies is the great character actors, whose names (and faces) are still familiar to Golden Age film buffs. In HELLZAPOPPIN’, these include the likes of Mischa Auer, Hugh Herbert, Elisha Cook Jr., and even Shemp Howard (of Three Stooges fame).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph Nebus 10:57 pm on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I am delighted by this roster of women’s names in Johnny Mercer songs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on November 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate that, Joseph, because it took some time to compile that roster. By the way, I ‘refrained’ from including MAY and JUNE in the list because, although they are girl’s names, Mercer didn’t use them as such in his songs QUEEN OF THE MAY, JUNE BRIDE, and JUNE COMES AROUND EVERY YEAR.


    • tref 2:08 am on May 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I am watching Laura on TCM at this very moment! Great movie. Beautiful song.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:31 am on May 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve seen LAURA, but didn’t stay up last night to watch it again because I had to get my beauty rest. It IS a great movie, as is the movie which preceded it on TCM which I’ve seen at least five times, DODSWORTH. I did stay up for that one, because if I got too much beauty rest, my wife might swoon at the sight of me (she can barely stand to look at me as it is).


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , EMBRACEABLE YOU, George Gershwin, , , , Johnny Mercer, , , , Paul Whiteman, Rhapsody In Blue, Roaring 20s, theme songs, ,   


    As we have noted, out of the cacophony and babble of pre-WWI Tin Pan Alley came the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age (not to mention Prohibition, 1920-33). If any one song could be said to capture the pulse (and become the anthem) of this dynamic cultural shift, it has to be George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, written in 1924 and heard (in part) here at the outset of Woody Allen’s paean of a movie to a place called MANHATTAN:

    RHAPSODY IN BLUE was commissioned by band leader Paul Whiteman and introduced to the world by his orchestra (with Gershwin himself at the piano) at NYC’s Aeolian Hall on Feb. 12, 1924. It subsequently served as Whiteman’s theme song — theme songs being a virtual prerequisite for big bands and dance bands of the 1930s. One ‘whiff’ of a familiar opening theme song immediately identified a band to radio listeners, and set the stage for a band’s performances at ballrooms, dance halls and other venues wherever they played.

    There were literally hundreds of bands big and small, sweet and swing, hot and not, in the decade leading up to WW II. Of these, I’ll list 40 whose theme songs were (in my opinion) well chosen or well known, followed by your match-the-band-with-the-theme-song quiz (just kidding; that would be like s’posin’* I could match today’s artists with their hit songs — forgeddabouddit!). So just rest easy and enjoy the clips of a few selections from the list.

    Gus Arnheim — SWEET AND LOVELY
    Count Basie — ONE O’CLOCK JUMP
    Bunny Berrigan — I CAN’T GET STARTED
    Billy Butterfield — WHAT’S NEW?
    Cab Calloway — MINNIE THE MOOCHER
    Sonny Dunham — MEMORIES OF YOU

    Duke Ellington — TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN
    Skinnay Ennis — GOT A DATE WITH AN ANGEL
    Ted Fio Rito — RIO RITA
    Benny Goodman — LET’S DANCE
    Glen Gray — SMOKE RINGS
    Johnny Green — HELLO, MY LOVER, GOODBYE
    Bobby Hackett — EMBRACEABLE YOU

    Lionel Hampton — FLYIN’ HOME
    Coleman Hawkins — BODY AND SOUL
    Ina Ray Hutton — GOTTA HAVE YOUR LOVE
    Jack Hylton — SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC
    Harry James — CIRIBIRIBIN
    Little Jack Little — LITTLE BY LITTLE
    Guy Lombardo — AULD LANG SYNE
    Wingy Manone — ISLE OF CAPRI
    Johnny Messner — CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS
    Eddie Miller — LAZY MOOD (sung here by Johnny Mercer with Eddie Miller’s band)

    Lucky Millender — RIDE, RED, RIDE
    Vaughn Monroe — RACING WITH THE MOON
    Buddy Rogers — MY BUDDY
    Fred Waring — SLEEP

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    • S’POSIN’ was a 1929 hit song; it is, of course, a ‘traction (contraction) of SUPPOSING


    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:59 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A bittersweet stroll through the streets of MY town, no offense to Woody – no matter where I find myself subsequently.

      I fondly recall memories from so many of the places in the first video:
      the Empire Diner, Lincoln Center, the garment district, riding the tram to Roosevelt Island one particularly romantic date night, Radio City (especially their Christmas spectacular, complete with live camels and donkeys), Washington Square Park, the Fulton Fish Market (that turned into practically a lower Manhattan theme park for yuppies from the financial district), a million storefronts that made shopping almost a small town pleasure, the wonder of fireworks over the metropolis every 4th of July and New Year’s Eve — and views of the skyline that brought tears to my eyes.

      The Lester Lanin Orchestra was alive and kicking during my 20 years there, bringing back the golden days of an earlier time when folks danced to Big Bands non-stop and cheek to cheek – tho’ mostly to upper class events, debutante balls and fund-raising spectaculars like Night of a Thousand Stars.

      OH how I miss it! Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I added a link here in my response to your comment, so that others might easily jump over to read. If you write other posts related to my content, I will approve your link – so leave us one, okay?
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 5:23 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for taking time to share your Manhattan memories. I’ve never been a big fan of society orchestras, but I believe Lester Lanin was considered the most successful of yesteryear’s society bandleaders. His brother, Howard Lanin, also led a band which played top society dates. Another popular society orchestra was that of Emil Coleman, who played at the Waldorf-Astoria for years.

      Thanks also for the link to my post and the invitation to post future links if related to your content. I will try to keep that offer in my “Memories of You.” 🙂


    • linnetmoss 7:10 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I had forgotten about that ravishing beginning to the Woody Allen film “Manhattan.” I’ve got a compilation CD set of music from his films- some of the best music you’ll ever hear! Including a few of these “sweet” bands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:16 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think of sweet bands apart from the society orchestras I mentioned in my previous comment, although I suppose it could be considered a distinction without a difference, as they say. Actually I have a fair number of 78 rpm records of sweet bands in my collection, including Guy Lombardo and Jan Garber. Some of the old sweet bands started out on the hot side but evolved into sweet bands in order to survive.

      As for the music from Woody Allen films, I couldn’t agree more!


    • arekhill1 12:54 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I heard a story about Minnie the Moocher once. To the best of my recollection, she was a low-down hootchie-coocher.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:01 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ….and she had to take a Cab to get anywhere. And where did she go? She went thataway, Calloway! But enough of my pun-nonsense — here’s Minnie:

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 7:56 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The first one I thought of was Bob Hope and thanks for the memories but everyone used to have a theme song. And, who doesn’t want one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:48 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I definitely would’ve included Bob Hope and his theme song in the list if he had a band….but your question got me to thinking what I would choose for a theme song, and I think this one pretty much says it for me:


    • literaryeyes 4:57 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Manhattan memories come back to me often. When I lived near Broadway and Times Square, I’d walk through and think of the Roaring 20s and Damon Runyon, Mae West, Lindy’s, and feel that vibe. I’d sense the notes of that time were still there, echoing down Shubert and Tin Pan Alley.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:00 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that evocative comment. Your “Manhattan memories” suggest to me another Gershwin tune for YOUR theme song: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” 🙂


    • moorezart 8:21 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:17 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I attempted to reblog your latest post from your ART OF QUOTATION blog, but my computer/internet skills are woefully inadequate, and after doing the best I could, it didn’t appear the way I intended. Since I’m not up to the task of getting it right, I will delete the reblog of your post with my apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • moorezart 12:30 am on November 30, 2016 Permalink

          No problem and I understand. Sorry for the technical difficulties. I’ve actually had similar issues at times. when reblogged from ArtofQuotation it SHOULD have worked. But I think the reblog feature on my personal artist blog Moorezart.Wordpress is turned off. In any event I’m glad you liked the post. Also I just wanted to let you know I greatly enjoy reading your blog! – Douglas

          Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 8:26 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Cherries on Top of a Hot Fudge Sundae – That’s What Your Post Titles Are. As Usual a Real Treat

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that delicious compliment. This calls for a song which complements your comment:


    • quirkywritingcorner 8:45 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
      I’ve always loved Rhapsody in Blue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:03 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!
      Rhapsody in Blue?
      Me too.


    • geo. raymond 11:20 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “When it’s sleepy-time down south” has been on my playlist these past couple weeks. “I can’t get started” is one of my all time favorites. Brilliant Berrigan solo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • geo. raymond 11:25 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Rhapsody In Blue is like nothing else in the world. Gershwin left us way too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely right on both counts (and I don’t mean Basie)!

        Gershwin and Bunny Berrigan both left us way too soon — as did another B.B., Bix Beiderbecke, who (next to Louis Armstrong) was the greatest cornet player of the 1920s. Like Berrigan, Bix was an alcoholic and left a legacy of classic jazz recordings before he died in 1931 at the age of 28.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:04 am on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: black and white, , , Johnny Mercer, , , ,   


    Words should be only the clothes, carefully custom-made to fit the thought. –Jules Renard

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    With the above in mind, I have tailored the following titles to fit a dozen poems fashioned to stir your imagination. WARNING: These poems may drive you stir crazy; do not take too literally.













    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    #The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
    –G. K. Chesterton

    *In coming up with this title, I thought about this Johnny Mercer song:



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      Liked by 1 person

    • José Luis Bárcenas 5:51 am on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      • mistermuse 6:16 am on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry, but I still don’t see LIKES. Unfortunately, between the language barrier and my lack of computer skills, I can’t devote further time to pursuing this.


    • arekhill1 12:35 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you keep your poetic license on you at all times, Sr. Muse. The Pun Patrol is out there gunning for you. They know you’re a repeat offender.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:23 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        If I’m caught, I’ll simply welcome the gendarmes while throwing myself at their merci. Vive la France! 😦


    • Cynthia Jobin 1:12 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I disagree with Renard. Words are not just the clothes of thought; if they were, you could take the clothes off and the thought would still be there. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed taking in the golden syrup of Ella’s audio. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:10 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        You can never go wrong with Ella, which is one reason I included it in this post, which I don’t include among my better ones.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 2:50 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      clever and witty poem, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:07 pm on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, M. This post was more hastily put together than my norm, so if it came out half-way ‘decent,’ I can’t complain.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Scheel 2:41 pm on October 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Titles, titles everywhere, but where are the poems? (Well, the titles do make a poem! Yeah!) LOL

      Finally, here’s what I posted on The Grant Journal in reply to your comment. Hope it helps clarify????

      Hi mistermuse,

      Woops! Now hold on, partner. I deeply appreciate any and all comments and, indeed, I do reciprocate, both answering comments and also commenting myself on fellow bloggers’ posts. But, muse, you ain’t posted nuthin’ here in a long time. Come on, man. I had no idea you were still posting anywhere, or where to find you. I asked Richard Cahill here awhile back and he said you weren’t posting here anymore. So I let it go. Now, experimenting around today I did discover a link to what I believe is your own blog site? I’ll check it out and see what’s what there. But, I’d strongly urge you, if posting somewhere else, paste in your stuff here also and I assure you I’ll comment freely! Ha. Yeah, I’m busy, but that’s not it–it’s just a case of not knowing.

      Okay, let’s see if I can find you. 🙂

      Have a good one,


      As you see, I found you, but had to do a lot of surfing around, signing in, etc. Now post some of this back on Grant’s Journal–really, you’re needed there. And I’ll follow you like a faithful doggie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:53 pm on October 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the clarification, Mark.

      Having already posted my answer to the above on your blog, I will only add that I have all I can do to stay on schedule (every 5 days) with my own blog, much less worrying about posting on Grant’s Journal.

      Take care.


    • Don Frankel 4:46 pm on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The Muse finger writes and then muses on. Just a thought for a poem in the future.

      I’ve been working on something for the last few days and I just realized I haven’t been here or the other place.


      • mistermuse 9:00 pm on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I’ve been very busy myself lately, Don — so much so that I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I’d like to my writing and commenting. But I guess it’s better to wear out than to rust out, as the old saying (I think) goes.


    • BroadBlogs 8:17 pm on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Clever with words! You should write a book.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:49 pm on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Actually, I did, years ago — it’s titled SEX SCELLS. If interested, let me know and I’ll send you a free copy (paperback). If you like it, you can reimburse my postage (let’s say $1) if you choose, but in any case, it’s yours to keep (or dispose of).


    • inesephoto 9:37 am on October 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Very, very inspiring!

      Liked by 1 person

    • eths 1:02 am on October 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      G. K. Chasterton quote – How true!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:24 am on October 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree. Here’s another quote you might like: “We are only as good as the way we treat each other.” Who am I quoting? Myself! 🙂


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , James Jones, John Steinbeck, Johnny Mercer, , , , , , Willa Cather, ,   


    How much time and thought do you devote to coming up with just-the-right title for your story, poem or article? If you take writing seriously, the answer is probably: as long as it takes to nail it — which could be almost no time at all, if it comes to you in a flash — or, more time than a less intense writer is willing to allot.

    Ernest Hemingway, for one, evidently wasn’t the latter type. Case in point: in writing his definitive Spanish Civil War novel, he didn’t settle for less than a killer title that would encapsulate ‘the moral of the story,’ eventually finding it in this passage from a 1624 work by the poet John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    As a writer of (mostly) humorous poems and posts, I’m inclined to go for witty and/or wordplay titles. Many times, the title to a particular piece all but suggests itself, but more often, no such luck, and I’m stuck — until eventually (as with the title of this post) a eureka moment rewards my resolve….or a poem resists my labeling efforts, and I just settle for:


    This poem’s title is Untitled —
    Not because it is untitled,
    But because I am entitled
    To entitle it Untitled.

    If I’d not titled it Untitled,
    It would truly be untitled….
    Which would make it unentitled
    To the title of Untitled.

    So it is vital, if untitled,
    Not to title it Untitled,
    And to leave that title idled,
    As a title is entitled.

    Moving on, suppose we try a title quiz based on the Papa Hemingway model (sorry, those of you who’d prefer the mistermuse model). Here are five passages from classic original works from which later authors lifted titles for their novels. Can you name the five later works and pin each tale on its author (ten answers total)? If you name all ten correctly, you win the title (with apologies to Cervantes) of Donkeyote Of All You Survey.


    Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree/Damned from here to Eternity/God ha’ mercy on such as we/Ba! Yah! Bah! –Rudyard Kipling

    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley/An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain/For promised joy! –Robert Burns

    By the pricking of my thumbs,/Something wicked this way comes. –Wm. Shakespeare

    Come my tan-faced children/Follow well in order, get your weapons ready/Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes?/Pioneers! O pioneers! –Walt Whitman

    No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr’d,/Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Churchyard./Nay, fly to altars; there they’ll talk you dead/For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. –Alexander Pope


    OF MICE AND MEN –John Steinbeck
    O PIONEERS! –Willa Cather

    How many of the ten titles/authors did you get? That last title, parenthetically, became part of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to this 1940 hit song composed by Rube Bloom:

    And now I fear I must tread on out….before something wicked this way comes.


    • Cynthia Jobin 10:29 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If there were an award entitled “The Best Poem about Title-ing An Untitled Poem” you certainly would be entitled to it. I recall a creative writing teacher who was a stickler about titles; she said leaving a poem untitled was lazy and a refusal to finish your poem properly. In the history of Literature it seems even the use of Numbers—Sonnet 24—has been acceptable, and often the first line or phrase of a poem is used as its title—-“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night….”.

      I liked the quiz. Pour moi it was a piece of cake. Just this past month I used a line from a Shakespeare sonnet for one of my titles: “Love’s Not Time’s Fool.” Thanks for an enjoyable post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:21 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Cynthia. I believe the exception to the ‘poems must be titled rule’ is the limerick, which should never be titled (if one were to follow the rules, which apparently exist to curtail my fun, so I have occasionally titled a few of mine).

        Congrats on getting 100% on the quiz. I hereby award you the title (in deference to your gender) of DONNA-KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:14 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got all the titles but sad to say did not know the last three authors off the top of my head. I guess I get a 70. But of course I knew the song.


    • mistermuse 9:05 pm on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, you know how much I dig great old songs, so I’m giving you 30 bonus points for knowing FOOLS RUSH IN (WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD). That brings your score up to 100, which wins you the DON(FRANKEL)KEYOTE OF ALL YOU SURVEY AWARD….and well deserved, I might add!


    • arekhill1 10:32 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      AUTO REPLY: I’m on vacation. Any quizzes will be taken when I get back to my office.


    • mistermuse 11:07 am on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I auto wish you a great vacation, but no doubt you’re having one anyway. Safe trip home.


    • inesephoto 5:55 pm on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love your poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 11:20 pm on June 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I got the titles but didn’t know all the authors. This was really interesting. Your poem made me laugh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 5:19 pm on November 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I got all but the Rudyard Kipling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:21 pm on November 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Well done, Josie. I had forgotten about this June 2016 post, so (if I do say so myself) title me PLEASED to ‘re-discover’ it, thanks to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 5:37 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Johnny Mercer, , , , , , ,   


    Once upon a time, in a sepia-toned place called Kansas (before landing in the colorful and Merry Old Land of Oz), a girl by the name of Dorothy sang a song called OVER THE RAINBOW. We all (many of us, at any rate) know who sang that song in the film, but the man who composed it is now long past recognition by almost all. He was born on this day (Feb. 15, 1905), and his name was Harold Arlen. This post is simply an appreciation of the man and his music, each of which encompasses much more than one man and one song….for, in those days, popular songs generally did not live by melody alone and were not born of one person alone. Composers/songs needed lyricists/words.

    Arlen himself (according to biographer Edward Jablonski) acknowledged that words – even the title – were just as important as the melody, often saying that “A good lyric writer is the composer’s best friend.” The lyricists who collaborated with Arlen were among the best in the business: Ira Gershwin, Ted Koehler, Johnny Mercer, E.Y.”Yip” Harburg….and the songs they wrote were among the best in popular music history (many of them done for movies and Broadway shows). Here are some of them:

    1930 – GET HAPPY
    1934 – ILL WIND

    But even those who remember Harold Arlen the composer probably do not know that he was also a fine singer who made a number of recordings, such as this one in 1933:

    Harold Arlen died April 23, 1986, but his music should never die.

    • arekhill1 6:57 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If I only had a brain, I’d write something wittier here.


    • mistermuse 7:13 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d try to respond in kind, Ricardo, but I’d only be grasping at straws.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:44 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As I listened to this beautiful voice singing one of many of my favorite songs you had listed, I think I fell into love all over again with this rich and lovely music. Have seen the movie many times. Thank you, mistermuse for awaking the romantic in my soul. It is so sad that Harold Arlen could not become a great vocalist. He certainly deserved that in addition to his career as a lyricist.


    • Joseph Nebus 12:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Boy, that is a heck of a list of songs, ins’t it?


    • scifihammy 12:42 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I know most of the songs you list, it is as you say, I did not know the composer. Thanks for the enlightenment 🙂


    • mistermuse 6:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Thank all of you for your comments.


    • Don Frankel 10:29 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You know I remember seeing on TV an older Yip Harburg sitting at a Piano and explaining how he came up with the lyric for Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He played the opening notes on the Piano and showed how he kept thinking of the sound and then how “Somewhere” just seemed to pop out so naturally. It was fascinating.


    • mistermuse 11:39 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, the story of Harbug’s and Arlen’s writing the score for THE WIZARD OF OZ and their difficulties with”Over the Rainbow” is indeed fascinating. My Jan.13 2014 post RAINBOWS FOR CHRISTMAS covers it in some detail, for those interested. Just click January 2014 in the “Archives” column to the right, and scroll down to Jan. 13.


  • mistermuse 12:03 am on June 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexander Pope, Empire State Building, Johnny Mercer, Rube Bloom, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel   


    Sometimes, what one comes across in search of something else is as educational as what one was seeking in the first place. For examples:

    “Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread” isn’t from the Bible, but from Alexander Pope’s An essay on Criticism (1711). What I did know was that Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom set that quote to music in 1940:

    New York’s famous Waldorf-Astoria was originally two separate hotels, the Waldorf built in 1893 and the Astoria in 1897, both on land which is now the site of the even more famous Empire State Building. The two hotels were connected after construction of the Astoria, and moved to Park Avenue in 1931 (the year the Empire State Building was completed).

    My vocabulary isn’t as large as I thought or may need for possible future use. Who knows where or when one of these arcane Scrabble-whiz delights might come in handy:
    Bumfuzzled (confused, perplexed, flustered)
    Collywobbles (bellyache)
    Snickersnee (a large, long knife)
    Taradiddle (pretentious nonsense)
    Widdershins (counterclockwise)

    Apropos quaint words, I was but faint-aware, until I happened upon the following “concert” appearance schedule, that it must be unlawful for a contemporary band to have anything but a non-conformist name (such is the time capsule a lover of classic jazz is in):
    UnSaid Fate
    Escape the Silence
    Can’t Breathe
    Shut Up & Drive
    Social Hermit
    The Henhouse Prowlers
    Bad Religion

    Oh, for the good old “Jazz Age” days of yore when bands had respectable names such as Busse’s Buzzards, The Clicquot Club Eskimos, Golden Pheasant Hoodlums, and Whoopee Makers.

    If I were smart, I think I’d start a band called


    • Don Frankel 4:41 am on June 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love this kind of stuff. If you read about the Civil War you’ll come across the word practicable. No one uses it anymore but it’s a goody.

      Also I cam across this fact while looking something else altogether. The New York City Police Force was founded in 1845. That means the City existed for over two hundred years without a police force. Now there weren’t 8 million people here but it was an enormous population center and no police. Not that I have any idea of what to do with that but it’s interesting.


    • mistermuse 8:39 am on June 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Don, maybe NYC had volunteer police (like volunteer firemen) until someone realized that crooks and con artists could easily become policemen for their own nefarious (another word that’s a goody) purposes….sort of like some people who become politicians, except there was no need to make speeches and act like they had all the answers.


  • mistermuse 12:47 am on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , George Marion Jr., , , , , Johnny Mercer, , lyricists, , , , Spring Is Here, spring songs, , There'll Be Another Spring   


    It’s spring again / And birds on the wing again / Start to sing again / The old melody.   from I LOVE YOU (lyrics and music by Cole Porter)

    Yes, fellow (and gal) music lovers, it’s spring again — the season which usually comes unusually late or early every year and seems to inspire the romantic poet in every song writer….or at least it did when the world was more melodic, and composers were Cole Porters at heart. It has been said of Porter that “even in the absence of his melodies, his words distill an unmistakable mixture of poignancy and wit that marks him as a genius of light verse.”*

    I think the same can be said, though not always to the same degree of genius, of many song writers from America’s Golden Age of popular music. No matter their individual personalities, their songs — not least, their “spring songs” — betray them as “rank sentimentalists” beneath the surface (in the manner of Captain Renault seeing through Rick in CASABLANCA).

    To the point, here’s a sampling of such songs (and their lyricists) from that lost world, followed by clips of recordings sung by voices which may sound strange to generational “foreign-ears,” but as Jimmy Stewart once said of his singing Porter’s EASY TO LOVE in the film BORN TO DANCE, the song’s so good, even he couldn’t mess it up:

    SPRING IS HERE (Lorenz Hart) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFiNQObPxEk

    THERE’LL BE ANOTHER SPRING (Peggy Lee) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1utcGFiXu8

    SPRING WILL BE A LITTLE LATE THIS YEAR (Frank Loesser) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbwRgQ-I_ms

    IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING (George Marion Jr.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svi45srqhgM

    IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING (Oscar Hammerstein II) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-JLbac6EVE

    SPRING, SPRING, SPRING (Johnny Mercer) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT6RHkYViOc

    *quoted from the dust jacket of Cole Porter, selected lyrics, Robert Kimball, editor

    • Don Frankel 7:11 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Great music and the perfect day for it as it finally got warm in New York. I don’t mean to belabor the point but it is also…. “Springtime for Hitler” but we’ve already played that clip.


    • mistermuse 7:44 am on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. Of all those “spring songs” and lyricists, the least known (even to old music lovers) are undoubtedly IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING/George Marion Jr.
      Marion was primarily a screenwriter of such great films as LOVE ME TONIGHT (Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald) and THE GAY DIVORCEE (Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers), but he also partnered with Richard Whiting (father of Margaret Whiting) to write the lyrics for some very good songs. Listen closely to IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING – in the words of one author, “the song is an ideal illustration of the high standard of popular songwriting of this era.”


    • Don Frankel 6:35 am on March 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Every once in awhile I’m forced to admit to someone of my generation that I don’t know very much about the Beatles. I mean they seem like 4 rather nice fellows. It’s not like I have anything against them. It’s just that I don’t own a single one of their albums.

      I often wonder just how much the song writers of this era influenced us? I mean the tight construction, the vivid images, the wit. It couldn’t not have done anything but aide us immensely.


    • mistermuse 10:10 am on March 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Don, if by “us” you mean those of us of a certain age. I fear that the ability to appreciate the qualities you cite has been increasingly lost “as time goes by.” Few young people today understand that if they had grown up decades ago, they would’ve been as much “into” that era’s music as they are into today’s. In a sense, they are prisoners of their culture without realizing it.

      As for the Beatles, having already “fallen in love” with the work of the above songwriters and their contemporaries by the time the B-boys came along, they didn’t impress me originally, but I eventually came to appreciate some of their songs. Still, the combination of wit and romance in such oldies as IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING has never been surpassed.


    • Don Frankel 4:49 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right Muse. I don’t mean to say anything bad about the Beatles and there is always Sinatra singing ‘Something in the way she moves’.

      But then there is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJpGHR6ofus

      and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAdM7fEZ-zY

      I’m kind of glad we got born when we did.


    • mistermuse 6:22 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Likewise, Don.

      For those who don’t know, the songs you kindly provided clips for were written by Frank Loesser and Cole Porter (two of the few “Golden Age” composers who wrote both the lyrics and music of their songs).


  • mistermuse 8:52 pm on November 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Best Years of Our Lives, , , , Heart and Soul, , , Johnny Mercer, Lazy River, , , , To Have and have Not, Young Man With A Horn   


    On this, the 114th birthday of Hoagy Carmichael (11/22/1899 – 12/26/1981), I daresay you could mention his name to 100 random people under age 60, and 99 (maybe all 100) would say, “Hoagy who?”  But why waste time lamenting the fate awaiting almost all “celebrities” sooner or later? Fame is indeed fleeting — perhaps now more than ever — and relative few are the songwriters, actors and singers (for Hoagy was all three) who will be remembered on their triple-digit birthdays by succeeding generations. So it is with Bloomington, Indiana’s Hoagy — but his star shines on, nonetheless, for those who appreciate the timelessness of creative magic.

    For this occasion, I have pulled from my bookshelves a 1999 Hoagy double-autobiography which is a republication of The Stardust Road (1946) and Sometimes I Wonder (1965), with a new introduction by John Edward Hasse. I’d read this volume a few years ago, and it’s as good a way as any to re-visit Hoagland Howard Carmichael, a man whose music and film roles I’d known since my youth in the 1940s. As Hasse puts it in his introduction:

    Hoagy Carmichael was a true American original. First of all, there was his name…. Then there was that singing voice–the flat, Hoosier cadences–and that laconic public persona, impossible to mistake for anyone else’s. And there was his unusual career path–from law student, lawyer, and Wall Street employee to hit songwriter and celebrity via records, motion pictures, radio and television.
    But most original of all were the songs Carmichael wrote, songs that typically sound like nobody else’s.

    I love the way Hoagy begins The Stardust Road:
    The phone rang and I picked it up. It was Wad Allen. “Bix died,” he said
     (referring to Hoagy’s close friend and legendary early jazz trumpeter, Bix Beiderbecke).
    Wad laughed a funny laugh. “I wonder if it will hurt old Gabriel’s feelings to play second trumpet?” Wad asked.
    I could hear Wad’s breathing, then suddenly, but gradually getting clearer, I heard something else.
    “I can hear him,” I said. “I can hear him fine from here.”
    Over and around the sound I heard Wad’s voice.
    “Sure,” he said shakily. “So can I.”
    “I guess he didn’t die, then.”
    And so it went back and forth, until Hoagy said, “Call me up again,” I told him, “when somebody else doesn’t die.”
    But Wad had hung up. I tilted back in the chair before my desk and felt tears behind my eyes.  

    These are the kind of personal reminiscences you can only get from those who experienced them. If you’re a true lover of classic jazz and the Golden Age of popular music, you will find Hoagy’s autobiographies irresistible. THE STARDUST ROAD/SOMETIMES I WONDER combo is available on Amazon.com, AbeBook.com and elsewhere.

    And speaking of combos, let’s close with two versions of Hoagy’s immortal Star Dust, the first by Louis Armstrong, whose incomparable 1931 rendition still sets the standard after all these years, and the second, by Hoagy himself:



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