The generation of artists who began their careers during World War II is quickly passing away. The latest was Margaret Whiting who died January 11th at the age of 86.
She was the daughter of composer Richard Whiting, who died while she was a teenager. Friend of the family, Johnny Mercer became her surrogate father. When Mercer started the Capital label in 1942, he would sign the 18 year old to a recording contract. She would have 48 chart hits during the forties and fifties.
While her commercial success petered out during the sixties, she remained active on the club circuit and theater until just prior to her death.
Her sound can best be described as classic fifties pop that would edge over into light jazz. The biggest hit of her career was 1949’s number one “Slippin’ Around” with Jimmy Wakely. Her last big commercial success was 1966’s “The Wheel Of Hurt” which topped the adult contemporary chart in The United States.
While her singing career was successful, with many chart hits and millions of records sold, it was her marriages that were the stuff of legend. She married four times but her last marriage in 1994 to gay porn actor Jack Wrangler, whom she met in the seventies, was fodder for the tabloids of the era for years. While he was twenty years her junior, it would be her longest lasting relationship.
Margaret Whiting was one of those stars of the forties and fifties who would become virtually ignored by the generations of rock fans of the sixties and beyond. Yet her accomplishments as one of the stars of her era should not be overlooked. One last tip of the hat to one of the female music masters of an era quickly fading away.