The song of the day for Wednesday, November 18, 2015 is “Trav’lin’ Light .”
About This Song
Today’s song, “Trav’lin’ Light,” was written by Trummy Young and Jimmy Mundy, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. This wonderful song was first recorded by Paul Whiteman with Billie Holiday on vocals. It’s a wonderful, classic Mercer lyric and the tune is lovely. In addition to this recording, this song has been recorded by Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah, Shirley Horn and Sonny Rollins.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Trav’lin’ Light” 1996 for his tribute album to Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett on Holiday, released in 1997. This song features Ralph Sharon on piano.
I have to admit that I’m a sucker for this song; I actually have a “Trav’lin’ Light” playlist on my iPod. It’s a beautiful melody with deep and meaningful lyrics. I never tire of listening to this song.
“Trav’lin’ Light ,” as well as Tony Bennett On Holiday, is available from iTunes.
Today we pay homage to the great John Herndon Mercer, who was born on November 18, 1909 in Savannah, Georgia. Mercer is, at least for this writer, the greatest lyricist of American popular song. From “Skylark” to “That Old Black Magic” to “Come Rain or Come Shine” to “Satin Doll” and dozens more are imprinted on fans of jazz and popular music. In addition to his gifts as a lyricist, he was also a composer, as we saw with yesterday’s “I Wanna Be Around,” as well as a gifted performer.
Mercer worked with great songwriters, including Harold Arlen, Henry Mancini, David Raskin, Jimmy Van Heusen and many more. In addition to his distinguished songwriting career, he also founded Capital Records.
The lyrics of Johnny Mercer have never lost their immediacy–they are as good now as they were when they were written some 60 or 70 years ago.
And so, today, we honor Johnny Mercer.
If you’re wanting some more Mercer, here’s a wonderful story from NPR in 2012: