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Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Memoriam.......a little Margaret Whiting list..........

W/ Bob Crosby and The Modernaires
W/ Johnny Mercer
Margaret Whiting 1924-2011
Requiescat in pace

Margaret Whiting (July 22, 1924 — January 10, 2011) was a singer of American popular music and country music who first made her reputation during the 1940s and 1950s.

Whiting was born in Detroit and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1929. Her father, Richard A. Whiting, was a famous composer of popular songs ("Hooray for Hollywood," "Too Marvelous for Words"). Her sister, Barbara Whiting, was an actress (Junior Miss, Beware, My Lovely) and singer. An aunt, Margaret Young, was a singer and popular recording artist in the 1920s. In her childhood, Whiting's singing ability had already been noticed, and at the age of only seven she sang for singer-lyricist Johnny Mercer, with whom her father had collaborated on some popular songs. In 1942, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records and signed Margaret to one of Capitol's first recording contracts.

Until the mid-1950s Whiting continued to record for Capitol, but as she ceased to record songs that charted as hits, she switched to Dot Records in 1957 and to Verve Records in 1960. Whiting returned to Capitol in the early 1960s and then signed with London Records in 1966. On London, Whiting landed one last major hit single in 1966, "The Wheel of Hurt", which hit #1 on the Easy Listening singles chart. Her final solo albums were made for Audiophile (1980, 1982, 1985) and DRG Records (1991). Her distinguished musical arrangers through the years included Frank DeVol, Russell Garcia, Johnny Mandel, Billy May, Marty Paich, Nelson Riddle, Pete Rugolo, and Paul Weston.

Margaret and Barbara Whiting starred as themselves in the situation comedy Those Whiting Girls. The show, produced by Desilu Productions, aired on CBS as a summer replacement series (in place of I Love Lucy) between July, 1955 and September, 1957.
In the 2000s, she appeared in several documentaries about singers and songwriters of her era, including Judy Garland: By Myself (2004), Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee (2004), Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007), Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me (2009), and Michael Feinstein's American Songbook (2010).

Whiting died on January 10, 2011, aged 86, from natural causes at the Lillian Booth Actors' Home in Englewood, New Jersey.

From NPR:

Margaret Whiting, famous for her association with lyricist Johnny Mercer and for introducing the standard "Moonlight in Vermont" into American popular music, died Monday. She was 86.
Whiting grew up in a musical home. Her father, composer Richard Whiting, wrote a number of pop hits, including "Too Marvelous for Words," "Hooray for Hollywood" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop."
In a 1988 interview on Fresh Air, Whiting told Terry Gross that she grew up under the assumption that most girls had fathers who stayed home writing songs all day.
"My girlfriend was Harry Warren's daughter, and what she had I had," Whiting said. "One day at my house, I might have Jerome Kern, who I called Uncle Jerry. Or I might have Benny Goodman, who my father did a picture for. Or, at Harry Warren's, we might have had Jimmy Dorsey or Tommy Dorsey or Glenn Miller. We might have had young Frank Sinatra or Jack Lemmon. So I thought everybody had the same kind of bringing up."

Whiting began learning her father's songs when she was just a toddler. And she started recording hits when she was just a teenager, shortly after her father died of a heart attack in 1938. Johnny Mercer, a close friend of her father's, took Whiting under his wing and personally signed her to Capitol Records, where she recorded "Moonlight in Vermont," "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "That Old Black Magic" as a teenager.
She recalled that at the time, she didn't really know what the lyrics to "That Old Black Magic" really meant.
"I was lucky enough to have Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, as the composer of that song, tell me how to do it," she said. "He would tell me to emphasize certain notes and emphasize certain words and emphasize certain beats. He said, 'That old black magic has me in its spell.' He said do it like that; don't go 'That old black magic.' Don't make it legato."
More than 40 years after she worked with Mercer for the first time, Whiting said she still appreciated what he taught her.
"Johnny and Frank Loesser taught me the importance of reading a lyric," she said. "Johnny often said to me, 'Margaret, it's like a one-act play. Now, if it's a rhythm song, you have fun with it and you find the words to really emphasize the important words, and you do it rhythmically and you have fun. But on a ballad, if it's a torch song or a story that you want to tell, then you want to be very careful to find the climax and where it's going and do it like a play.' "

The audio is most definitely a must listen****

A singer that I have always considered to be one the best interpreters of the classic American song.......she'll be missed.

Some singers sing.......some singers caress a lyric in a way that you live it when you hear it. Margaret Whiting was a singer's Jo Stafford...sometimes I just trance on her of the best.

Here are a few songs, mostly from early in her career, some a bit later......just a few faves. Enjoy.

A fine romance
Ain't we got fun w/ Bob Hope
All in fun
All the things you are
April showers
Baby it's cold outside w/ Johnny Mercer
Blind date w/ Bob Hope
Broken down merry-go-round w/ Jimmy Wakely
Can't help lovin' dat man
Christmas candy w/ Jimmy Wakely
Come rain or come shine
D'ye love me
Dearly beloved
Don't ever leave me
Far away places
Forever and ever
Home cookin' w/ Bob Hope
I can't help it
I could write a book
I don't want to be free w/ Jimmy Wakely
I get a kick out of you
I love you a bushel and a peck w/ Jimmy Wakely
I never heard you say
I said my pajamas and put on my prayers w/ Jimmy Wakely
I won't dance
I'm old fashioned
I'll never slip around again w/ Jimmy Wakely
I'll string along with you
I'm in love with you w/ Dean Martin
It could happen to you (23 Aug 1944 Mail call radio show.)
It might as well be spring
Let's begin
Lets go to church w/ Jimmy Wakely
Long ago and far away
Look for the silver lining
Mama's pearls
Moonlight in Vermont
My foolish heart
My furutre just passed
My ideal
My own true love
Freedom train (w/ Paul Weston Orch., Pied Pipers, Jo Stafford, Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer)
The God's were angry with me w/ Jimmy Wakely

Silver bells w/ Jimmy Wakely
A tree in the meadow
A wonderful guy
That old black magic
Now is the hour
Oh but I do
Old devil moon
One has my name the other has my heart w/ Jimmy Wakely
Outside of heaven
Poor Pierrot
Remind me
She didn't say yes
Slipping around w/ Jimmy Wakely
Smoke gets in your eyes
So in love with you am I (14 April 1949 kraft music hall.)
The lies of  handsome men
The money tree
The party's over
The song is you
The touch of your hand
The way you look tonight
The wheel of hurt
Thou swell
Time after time
Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel w/ Jimmy Wakely
What are you doing New Year's Eve
When you and I were young, Maggie
Why do I love you
Why shouldn't I
Why was I born
You couldn't be cuter
You do


  1. My god. Probably the only truly heartfelt post on Margaret Whiting I've found today. You actually KNOW her work (obviously not one of these five-minute-Wikipediers posing as experts who proliferate the blogosphere) and your affection for it comes shining through. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. You mean all those 30 sec audio clips of "Moonlight in Vermont"?? teehee!!

  3. Oh, and the majority of writing being devoted not to her music, but to her marriage to Jack Wrangler? >>shakes head<<

  4. Well, this was just as fabulous as I expected it to be! You really did Maggie proud. Thanks so much!

  5. Aww, shucks!! It was a load of fun doing it.....a real pleasure :)

  6. I tried to mix it up between old and newer...I agree with what you said before about difficulty in not having reissues of the stuff after the Capitol recordings. Some of the recordings that I have were really worn out, and I had to locate sources from various places online without the best success. I got most of what I wanted and was a duck hunt all afternoon locating

  7. LOVED the later cuts. "The Lies of Handsome Men" was really good. I've got to find that whole album...sounds wonderful!

  8. It's on the "Then and now" CD, with Gerry Mulligan....I think it was released in's still in print, I'm pretty sure.

  9. I put that later track on there for a reason....first because I feel that her voice was so good still...very transparent and lyrically intense....also, I really felt that song as being sung quite from the heart. I'm so glad you mentioned that particular cut. It was not from the era of most of the songs on here. I wondered if anyone would notice that. It seemed a fitting later part to the biography of the music :)

  10. Finally! Something to use that iTunes gift card on! I'm still listening to that one cut...I'd love to hear Marilyn Maye sing that! Got any Marilyn, btw? ;)

  11. I think I do....I'll dig through my stuff. What a strange coincidence, I was listening to Marilyn accompanied by Ann Hampton Callaway, just the other day, and thinking how great it was :) I salute your good taste, Sir!!