Margaret Whiting

Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award

Margaret Whiting (July 22, 1924-January 10, 2011) was an American traditional pop music singer in the 1940s and 1950s.  Her musical talent may have been inherited; her father Richard Whiting, was a famous composer of popular songs. She also had an aunt, Margaret Young, who was also a singer and popular recording artist in the 1920s.

In her childhood her singing ability was already noticed, and at the age of only seven she sang for singer-lyricist Johnny Mercer, with whom her father had worked on some popular songs. In 1942, Mercer started Capitol Records with two partners, and signed her as one of their earliest recording artists.  Until the mid-1950s, she continued to record for Capitol, but as she ceased to record songs that charted as hits, switched to Dot Records in 1958 and to Verve Records in 1960.

She came back to Capitol in the mid-1960s, then went to 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.  She continued to sing into the 1990s. 

During the 1950s, she was married to record executive Lou Busch, who also recorded semi-anonymously as the ragtime pianist Joe “Fingers” Carr. They had one daughter. Her late-life marriage to younger gay porn star Jack Wrangler raised many eyebrows. When they first began dating, he protested, “But I’m gay!” to which she replied, “Only around the edges, dear.” 

She died on January 10, 2011 at the age of eighty-six.