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Saluting centennial of Johnny Mercer, master lyricist

This is the day to salute Johnny Mercer, who was born 100 years ago, on Nov. 18, 1909.

He is credited with the lyrics for about 1,000 songs, including an exceptional number of what have long been recognized as standards of the great American songbook. Mercer's use of language could be just too "marvelous for words," as some of the past century's finest melody writers discovered.

I've always felt that the best popular songs, where text and tune are perfectly united, deserve to be ranked alongside the best classical art songs. Many of the works that bear the Mercer trademark certainly can be so ranked.

To celebrate his centennial, here are a few of my favorite Mercer songs, sung by some fabulous artists who make the most out of his lyrics -- and yes, as any of my devoted readers would expect, that means Streisand will be included:

Read more about Johnny Mercer.

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