Monday, July 22, 2013

Birthday Girl: So Gay, in a Melancholy Way

This lovely and talented lady would have been 89 today had she not gone to join her fourth and final husband on Fabulon some two years ago.

Margaret Whiting was one of the vanished breed of girl singers who ornamented the bandstands of America at the height of the Swing era; she went on to have a string of hits through the '50s before changing tastes sidelined her kind of understated, refined elegance.  She found a niche toward the end of her life both as a fixture of the New York social-musical scene and as the unlikely better half of Jack Wrangler, a performer better known until their alliance in the late '70s as a leading light of the then still-fledgling gay porn industry.  They weren't perhaps the most traditional of couples, but it worked for them.

Here we see our birthday girl in rural mode on The Nat King Cole Show in '56 or '57.  The song, "It Might as Well Be Spring," is a standard, although the show it comes from, State Fair, to my mind stands a little outside the heart of the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon.  Her voice lighter, clearer, and less smoky than it became in later decades, she does a warm and wistful take on it.  Perhaps she was just waiting for her unlikely Prince Charming to come along...


  1. "Starry eyed and vaguely discontented", indeed. But marvellous... Jx

  2. Loves me some Margaret Whiting!

  3. Quite beautiful in her simplicity and the crystal tones she sings.