Johnny Mercer Biographer Philip Furia His book, Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer, comes out in paperback Dec. 9. 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.