Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 3 Feb. 1900, Staffordshire, England; d 20 April '84, Pittsfield MA) Cabaret singer; an enormous influence with a loyal following, though she made few records. Her father was an American jazz musician, mother a British variety actress; she joined Bricktop in Paris '31, worked there until '38; then to USA. Her admirers included Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole; songs written for her included 'The End Of A Love Affair' (by pianist Edward Carolan 'Bud' Redding: b 17 Aug. '15, Louisville KY), 'While We're Young' (co-written by Alec Wilder), 'Fly Me To The Moon' (aka 'In Other Words'; by pianist Bart Howard: b Howard Joseph Gustafson, 1 June '15, Burlington IA, d 21 Feb. 2004; her accompanist for four years, emcee and music director at the Blue Angel for eight years). Her delivery was described by Wilder as 'graceful parlando'; she concentrated on neglected songs of value, bringing an interpretive quality of narrative. Albums included Mabel Mercer on Decca/MCA; on Atlantic: Sings Cole Porter '55 (reissued '85), with Cy Walter and Russ Freeman, pianos, Frank Carroll, bass; also Midnight At Mabel Mercer's, Once In A Blue Moon (revived Xmas carol 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas'), Merely Marvelous, then (in stereo) two-disc sets The Art Of Mabel Mercer and At Town Hall (with Bobby Short).