The song of the day for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 is “Trav’lin’ Light.”
About This Song
This beautiful song features a wonderful lyric from Johnny Mercer and an equally wonderful tune from Trummy Young and Jimmy Mundy. Munday was a tenor sax player and arranger who worked for Benny Goodman in the late 1930s before forming his own band in the early 1940s; he did free-lance arrangements for Goodman as well as other band leaders during that time. Trummy Young was a trombonist who played with Jimmy Lunceford in the late 1930s to the mid-1940s.
“Trav’lin’ Light” was written in 1942 and was first recorded by the Paul Whiteman band with Billie Holiday on vocals. It has also been recorded by Anita O’Day, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah, Shirley Horn and Sonny Rollins.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Trav’lin’ Light” in 1996 for his album of Billie Holiday songs entitled On Holiday. I love this song more than I can possibly say and Bennett’s version is quite beautiful.
As part of Johnny Mercer Week at The Year of Tony Bennett, we continue with his biography …
As the son of a relatively well-to-do businessman, Johnny Mercer enjoyed growing up in Savannah. His father owned the first car in the town, and young Mercer certainly enjoyed his driving privileges. He attended prep school in Virginia. While he wasn’t a top student, his studies of literature helped to develop his song writing capabilities. He also helped organized the musical entertainment on the campus and began writing songs.
The Mercer family had a long association with Princeton University and it was always assumed that Johnny would enter Princeton upon graduation from prep school. However, his father’s business (and wealth) suffered severe setbacks from a failed real estate venture in Florida in 1927 and had to put his company into receivership in order to pay off a $1 million loss. Instead, young Mercer set his sights on New York.
… to be continued …
“Trav’lin’ Light,” as well as On Holiday, is available on iTunes.