Friday, November 5, 2010

Margaret Whiting

Margaret Whiting- as I mentioned, I asked my fellow high school drummer, Greg who he thought was the best singer of the time, and he said Margaret Whiting without hesitation.

He told me she was the daughter of Richard Whiting, which proved that he was a lot more up on musicians than I was. I didn't know who Richard Whiting was. Richard wrote "On The Good Ship Lollipop", "The Japanese Sandman" and "Ain't We Got Fun?", "Breezin' Along With The Breeze", and "She's Funny That Way." There are many more but his isn't about Richard. Nor is it about Eleanor Young Whiting, her mother who was a homemaker and manager of Margaret Young* and Sophie Tucker.

And then there was Barbara Whiting, Margaret's actress/singer sister. *And she also had an aunt who was a singer/recording artist in the '20's named Margaret Young. It could be said she inherited her talent if indeed we can inherit a gene for musical talent.

At the age of seven Johnny Mercer noticed that she had a true talent, and by age 18 she was signed to Capitol Records which Mercer owned. Margaret Whiting was Capitol's first "label" artist. Whiting served as President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and continued in the '40's to record and perform. At 15 she appeared in the Lucky Strike "Your Hit Parade", but was fired because the owner of the company said she could not dance to her songs.

Mercer continued to guide and mentor her, and once told her to "grow up and learn to sing." She had plenty of opportunity to just that as she was in the frequent company of her father's and Mercer's collaborators, Harold Arlen, Mel Torme, Judy Garland and others.

Margaret married Hubbell Robinson, a writer, producer and television executive. The marriage lasted about eight nonths.
She married Lou usch, a ragtime pianist known as "Joe ' Fingers' Carr". They had one daughter in 1951, but the marriage also ended in divorce. In 1958 she married Richard Moore, a founder of Panavision, again a marriage which did not last.

In 1994 Margaret married Jack Wrangler (ne' John Stillman. He died in 2009. Wrangler, 20 years her junior, was gay. Margaret was attending one of Wrangler's one-man erotic shows in New York. He later said, "....when I looked over at Margaret, who was surrounded by five guys in a booth.....I thought, 'Boy, now that's New York! that's glamor!" I had to meet her." When they were first introduced Wrangler told her he was gay and her response was "...only around the edges, dear." Wrangler commented of himself, "I'm not bisexual and I'm not straight. I'm gay but I could never live a gay lifestyle because I'm much too competitive. When I was with a guy I would always want to be better than him; what we were accomplishing, what we were wearing - anything. With a woman you compete like crazy, but coming from different points of view, and as far as I'm concerned, that was doable." SO - now you know, I guess why some straight and gay couples seem be happy.

Margaret Whiting's "A Tree In The Meadow" in 1948 made #1; and in 1949 she did it again with "Slippin' Around" with Jimmy Wakely. She appeared on stage in "Dreams" . There is a reference to "using her own name" but I could find no reference of any other name she recorded or performed with.

You can listen to the recordings of most of the artists I profile by going to putting them names in your search engine. It's fun and it gives you a good idea of what some of the old songs should sound like if you are playing them.

MIchigan John has suggested I look up Guy Lombardo. That will be my next project.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. It's good for your soul.


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