According to Carmichael, in an interview, Mercer came into Carmichael’s apartment in New York one day and saw Hoagy “snoozin’” on his couch. Mercer said, “Hoag, I’m gonna write a song called ‘Lazy Bones’.” Carmichael said, “Well, let’s get at it.” They went over to Hoagy’s piano, Johnny said the first line and Hoagy started playing a melody. The song was done in twenty minutes. Both men have agreed on the time in separate interviews.
Mercer was a southern boy from Savannah, Georgia, and resented the Tin Pan Alley attitude of rejecting southern regional vernacular in favor of artificial southern songs written by people who had never been to the South. Alex Wilder attributes much of the popularity of this song to Mercer’s perfect regional lyric.
He wrote the lyrics to “Lazybones” as a protest against those artificial “Dixies”, announcing the song’s authenticity at the start with “Long as there is chicken gravy on your rice”. Philip Furia
- complete lyric: Lazybones
Ted Lewis and his Orchestra — 1933 hit recording
Mildred Bailey — 3 June 1933
Mills Brothers — The video contains two Mills Brothers versions from different eras:
- Recording date of the first is unknown, but it appears on The Mills Brothers: Early Classics (1931-1934)
- Date for the second version is also unknown; I would guess late 1950s or after.
“Lazybones” — 1941 Soundie featuring Hoagy Carmichael, vocals/piano (and cigarette monitor) with (unseen) Bob Crosby and his Orchestra, and dance by Dorothy Dandridge and Peter Ray
Leon Redbone — from his debut album On the Track, released in 1975