Johnny Mercer by William P. Gottlieb, 1946 (Library of Congress)
Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long and unexpected lives. Each program takes up the work of one songwriter and a few of his familiar, forever songs, where daydreams, blue skies, and love lost and found still live.
Combing a lively lecture with a wide variety of film clips, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how these favorite songs from the Great American Songbook came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same.
Lukinson, who has won three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, now teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.
My Huckleberry Friend: Songs by Johnny Mercer
Could one man have written the lyrics to so many favorites, and with more composers than any other lyricist? Each song is so distinctive, whether with zest and shine, or dreaminess and the heart’s devotion. Lukinson makes a start with songs like Moon River, Come Rain or Come Shine, That Old Black Magic, and Something’s Gotta Give.
Additional Sessions of this American Songbook Series