Born in Savannah, Georgia, he is regarded as one of America's greatest songwriters.
In the early 1940s, Mercer was one of the co-founders of Capitol Records.
Mercer was also a well-regarded singer, with a folksy singing quality. This made him a natural to his own songs like Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive, On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe, and Lazybones.
Mercer often was asked to write lyrics to already popular songs. The lyrics to "Laura", "Midnight Sun" and "Satin Doll" were all written after the songs were already hits. Mercer was also asked to write english lyrics to foreign songs. The most famous example of this is "Autumn Leaves".
In 1969 he helped publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond found the National Academy of Popular Music's Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Mercer died in Bel Air, California.
In 1996 he was honored by the United States Postal Service with his portrait placed on a stamp.
Johnny Mercer has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1628 Vine Street, right outside the Capitol Records building.