Lyricist and composer Johnny Mercer -- born Nov. 18, 1909 -- wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs, including American Songbook standards like "Skylark," "That Old Black Magic" and "Come Rain or Come Shine." HIs Academy Awards tally includes a statue for what's possibly his most famous tune, "Moon River." Fresh Air marks the anniversary of his birth with an in-studio concert starring Rebecca Kilgore and Dave Frishberg.
His new book is Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer. Furia documents the life of the legendary lyricist whose songs include Moon River, Come Rain or Come Shine and Skylark. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Mercer dominated the popular song charts. Furia is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He's also written biographies of Irving Berlin and Ira Gershwin. The interview continues throughout the entire show.