Margaret Whiting

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  • Biography
  • Back Stories
  • The Great Songs

One of the best-loved singers, both professionally and personally, Margaret Whiting has always exhibited a refreshing mixture of class and naughty fun. She was an excellent pop singer with a wonderfully warm tone and caressing way with words—not surprising as she came from a great stock, her father was the superb composer Richard A. Whiting. As a young girl, she was immersed in music and knew all the great songwriters. It seemed her destiny to be a singer.

Her father’s “My Ideal” became a sort of theme song for her which was touching. When she started singing under her own name in 1946 her career really took off.

In 1942, Whiting began her recording career signed to Capitol Records, the brainchild of her father’s sometime collaborator, Johnny Mercer. Her early hits featured noted bands backing her vocals. Freddie Slack played behind her rendition of “That Old Black Magic,” Billy Butterfield set the solid foundation of “Moonlight in Vermont,” and Paul Weston supported her rendition of “It Might As Well Be Spring.” Her father’s “My Ideal” became a sort of theme song for her which was touching.

When she started singing under her own name in 1946 her career really took off. Between that year and 1954 she recorded more than 40 hit songs for Capitol. Some of her better known recordings are “Oh, But I Do,” “A Tree in the Meadow,” “Slippin’ Around” with Jimmy Wakely, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Johnny Mercer, and “Blind Date” with Bob Hope. When the bottom fell out of the popular singer market in the mid-‘60s, she continued to perform in cabarets and concerts.

She administered the Johnny Mercer Foundation and was of invaluable help to hundreds of aspiring cabaret and jazz singers. Recent injuries and ill health has not slowed her down one iota. As late as 1997 she appeared on Broadway in the Johnny Mercer musical revue, Dream. The show was a failure but Whiting’s appearance was nothing short of remarkable. She’s still on the town attending seminars, supporting young artists, and singing with all her grace and charm intact. (KB)

Trash to treasure

In 1918, a Detroit theatre held a contest for a war song. Remick’s Music asked its employee, Whiting, to enter the contest. He and lyricist Raymond B. Egan worked on a number but didn’t think it good enough and threw it away. His canny secretary took the song out of the garbage and entered it into the contest—and of course it won. “Til We Meet Again” went on to sell over eleven million copies of sheet music, the most of any song before or since.Till We Meet Again

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Recordings
If I Could Spend One Hour with You
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
My Ideal
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
My Intuition
Margaret Whiting performs
Sleepy Time Gal
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
Till We Meet Again
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
Till We Meet Again (close)
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
When Did You Leave Heaven
Margaret Whiting, with Skitch Henderson
The 3 part PBS Series
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