Song Spotlight: “Lazybones”

Genre: 1930s Popular Song
  • Mood: Light-hearted
  • Themes: Rest, Relaxation, Lazy days
  • Tempo: Slow
  • Genre/Style: 1930s Popular Song

In 1933, Hoagy Carmichael wrote the melody to this catchy tune and Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics. Not only was “Lazybones” popular during the 30s, it has been sung by artists as diverse as Hank Snow, the Supremes, Harry Connick Jr., and the Muppets.

Born and raised in Georgia, Johnny Mercer moved to New York to pursue music composition. He worked in the music production powerhouse area Tin Pan Alley and wrote the words to such famous songs as “Autumn Leaves,” “Moon River,” and “Zip-A-Di-Do-Da.” 

While working in Tin Pan Alley, other musicians tended to reject southern regional vernacular in their lyrics, instead writing artificial and manufactured southern songs written by folks who had never been to the south. Mercer did not approve of this attitude, and used his authentic Georgian lyrics in “Lazybones.”

Here are some of the lyrics:

Lazy bones, sleepin’ in the sun

How you ‘xpect to get your day’s work done?

Never get your day’s work done

Sleepin’ in the noonday sun


Now, lazy bones, sleepin’ in the shade

How you expect to get your corn meal made?

You’ll never get your corn meal made

Just sleepin’ in the evening shade


Now, lazy bones, loafin’ through the day

How you ‘xpect to make a dime that way?

You’ll never make a dime that way

Never heard a word I say

Try This:

Theme: Rest, Relaxation, Lazy days – Use this song as part of a rest or relaxation theme. Encourage the group to reminisce by sharing their favorite work memories or best tips on how to unwind and combine this tune with other songs about taking it easy. Other complementary songs may include “Moon River,” “Autumn Leaves,” and “Satin Doll.”

Environmental Music: Include “Lazybones” in a list of songs encouraging folks to slow down and rest. This could be especially useful in the evening time to help with sundowning behavior.

Songwriting: Print or display the fill in the blank style lyrics below. Work as a group to re-write the song, then sing your new version together. Gather feedback from the group and make changes as needed.

Now, [Adjective] [Noun], sleepin’ in the [Noun]

How you like to [Verb] that way

You’ll always get your [Noun] made

Just sleepin’ in the [Time of Day] [Noun]

Musical Engagement: Print or display the lyrics and sing along, or shake along with percussion instruments.

Movement: Do rhythmic movement to this song. You might try swaying from side to side, practicing leg extensions, or tapping toes and heels.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax? What other Johnny Mercer songs do you enjoy? Please leave your comments below!


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