I was sorry to read about the recent passing of Margaret Whiting, a talented vocalist who enjoyed a long and successful career. Although her name might not be instantly familiar to modern music fans, she was very popular at one time and sold a lot of records through the years, showing an ability to reinvent herself a couple of times along the way.
She was born to the business. The daughter of successful songwriter Richard Whiting, while growing up she was also mentored by a close family friend, Johnny Mercer. In fact, it was Mercer — a legendary singer/songwriter and one of the founders of Capitol Records — who helped steer her into the kind of pop standards that propelled her to stardom in the 1940s. He even occasionally recorded duets with her, like the best-selling “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Margaret would continue to be a favorite of fans for a number of years, making radio appearances and singing with bands like those of Billy Butterfield and Paul Weston, and also hitting the charts with a lot of best-selling records. Some of her biggest hits included “Moonlight In Vermont,” “All Through The Day,” “Far Away Places,” and “Now Is The Hour.”
Eventually she even dipped her toe into country music, regularly teaming up with Jimmy Wakely and hitting the charts with songs like “Slippin’ Around.” She also became a fixture on TV variety programs and talk shows, and continued to remain popular through the years, entertaining her many fans in spot appearances even into the new millennium. She was 86 when she died earlier this week in New Jersey.