Johnny Mercer

Sings Personality

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AllMusic Review by

The finest singer from among the half-dozen songwriting giants of American popular music, Johnny Mercer sang "Personality" with an exhibition of same so smiling and exuberant it became one of the most familiar performances of the century. (Ironically, it's not one of his own songs; Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen actually wrote it.) During the war years, Mercer recorded dozens of crucial sides -- in the studio as well as on radio broadcasts -- along with his five other huge hits ("Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "Candy," "G.I. Jive," "Strip Polka," "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"). Still, compilations of his material have usually been either stringently brief hit collections that never range very far afield or "songwriter" collections that included other performers' versions of his songs. Sings Personality is easily the best single-disc compilation of Mercer's singing brilliance ever offered, including all of his hits as well as over 20 more intriguing songs. The Savannah native excelled in a duet setting, notching hits with his fawning, can't-miss performance of "Small Fry" with Bing Crosby and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Margaret Whiting. ASV/Living Era goes even deeper into the vault with more obscure co-billings like "My Baby Likes to Be-Bop" with Nat King Cole, "Christmas Night in Harlem" with Jack Teagarden, and "Friendship" with Judy Garland. When major labels neglect the catalogues of traditional pop's most talented artists, specialty labels often gain an opportunity to present great music, and Sings Personality is one of the most splendid examples.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:12
2 3:26
3
feat: Bing Crosby
3:08
4
feat: Bing Crosby
2:53
5 3:02
6 3:02
7
feat: Judy Garland
2:37
8 3:00
9 2:52
10 2:57
11 3:21
12
feat: Jo Stafford
3:17
13 2:47
14
feat: Jo Stafford
3:11
15 3:07
16 2:42
17 2:50
18 3:13
19 2:59
20 2:53
21 2:51
22 2:56
23 2:29
24 3:03
25 2:49
26
2:41
blue highlight denotes track pick