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57 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 10 February 2013

Much of this week's show is devoted to telling the story of one of the finest and unluckiest songwriters - Richard A Whiting,who died on February 10th 1938 aged only 47. His name is unfamiliar today though many of his songs are still common currency - and Russell introduces a number of them : 'Ain't We Got Fun' sung by Peggy Lee; 'Till We Meet Again' - the composer's daughter Richard Whiting sings this one; Hooray For Hollywood (Sylvia Syms); 'Louise' (Pauil Whiteman's Rhythm Boys; 'My Ideal' (Sue Raney) and more.

Also in the show are Whispering Jack Smith introducing 'My Blue Heaven' - by the other Whiting: George; The Puppini Sisters singing 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen' and a member of that group, 22 year old British singer Emma Smith, who sings 'I'll Be Seeing You' from her debut solo album. Also appearing on the show are cabaret man Hugh Shannon, Billie Holiday with Teddy Wilson; The Benny Goodman Sextet with Jane Harvey and, taking us out with one final Richard Whiting song - 'Breezing Along With The Breeze' - Matt Monro.

Music Played

13 items
  • Image for Peggy Lee

    Peggy Lee Ain't We Got Fun

    “Peggy Lee The Complete Releases 1957-1959 (3 Cds)”

    Fantastic Voyage, FVTD043

  • Image for Margaret Whiting

    Margaret Whiting Till We Meet Again

    “The Reader’s Digest Songbird Sessions”

    Readers Digest

  • Image for Sylvia Syms

    Sylvia Syms Hooray For Hollywood

    “Sylvia Syms – A Jazz Portrait Of Johnny Mercer”

    Drg, 91433

  • Image for Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys

    Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys Louise

    “The Chronological Bing Crosby Volume 6”

    Jonzo, JZCD 6

  • Image for Sue Raney

    Sue Raney My Ideal

    When Your Lover Has Gone/Songs For A Raney Day

    EMI/Capitol, 7243 8 59839 2 4

  • Image for Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett Danny Boy

    “Tony Bennett – Jazz” 2008 Compilation

    Columbia, 723855

  • Image for The Puppini Sisters

    The Puppini Sisters Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

    “The Puppini Sisters – Betcha Bottom Dollar”

    Universal/UCJ, 954974

  • Image for Emma Smith

    Emma Smith I'll Be Seeing You

    “Emma Smith: ‘The Huntress’ ”

    Frantic Music, 2048

  • Image for The Benny Goodman Sextet

    The Benny Goodman Sextet He's Funny That Way

    “Benny Goodman Sextet – Slipped Disc 1945-1946”

    CBS, 463337 2

  • Image for Hugh Shannon

    Hugh Shannon True Blue Lou

    “True Blue Lou – Hugh Shannon”

    Audiophile, ACD 140

  • Image for Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra

    Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra Miss Brown To You

    “Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra: Too Hot For Words”

    HEP, HEPCD 1012

  • Image for

    "Whispering" Jack Smith My Blue Heaven

    “Me And My Shadow – Whispering Jack Smith”

    ASV Living Era, CD AJA 5372

  • Image for Matt Monro

    Matt Monro Breezing Along With The Breeze

    “Matt Monro – The Rare Monro”

    EMI Gold, 0946 372558 2 7

  • This Week's Show

    Today we give a cheer for Richard Whiting. A talented but modest man is how most who knew him described him. Serious about his craft but happy to conduct it at home in Detroit, it took his astute wife Eleanor, a good businesswoman, all her powers to persuade him to move to New York, centre of the music business. His first hit, published by Remick, was “It’s Tulip Time In Holland” and it is said that Whiting never received any royalties for it, having agreed to accept a Steinway Grand piano in their stead. In six months, the song sold over 1.5 million sheet music copies: He could have bought half a dozen Steinways with the royalties! In his book “They’re Playing Our Song” Max Wilk relates the story of “Till We Meet Again”. In 1918, Richard’s secretary spotted it while clearing his wastepaper basket and took it to the boss, Mr Remick. “Let’s not tell Richard but we’ll enter it in the War Song competition.” said Remick and it duly won the contest. “You’ve got a hit” he told Richard. “But I haven’t written anything recently.” “Yes you have – ‘Till We Meet Again’. It won the contest and we’re being asked for 5,000 copies plus, every day!”

    Here’s some advice Richard gave his daughter Margaret: “We work very hard to write a song and make it work. You must sing it with great affection and feeling. It takes the lyricists a long time to write the words: Just believe in them – simply and honestly. That’s how a singer should interpret a song.”

  • Featured In This Week's Show: Matt Monro

    Featured In This Week's Show: Matt Monro

  • Recommendations

    Most songwriters, lyricists, composers have been celebrated, properly or otherwise, by the producers of LPs and CDs over the years. The vintage specialists ASV, in their Living Era series, were excellent at this and we’ve also enjoyed the “Capitol Sings...” productions. Though they’re confined to their own productions of course, their galaxy of stars made it possible to salute the subjects in style. So it was with shock that we discovered that Richard Whiting appears to have been overlooked in this field (either that or we’ve missed lots!) There is, however, one champion of the Great American Songbook who HAS doffed its cap to Mr Whiting – The Smithsonian Institute. In their American Songbook Series, they produced an excellent compendium of most of Richard’s most famous numbers – together with a few lesser-known gems: In this collection of 22 tracks you’ll find all the songs we included (though just one – the Billie ‘Miss Brown To You’ - in the same version) and many more we wish we’d have had space to include – Jeanette MacDonald’s “Beyond The Blue Horizon”, for example, Mel Tormé’s ‘Guilty’ and the Lee Wiley-Billy Hughes duet on ‘You’re An Old Smoothie’. Other artists include Bing, Dick Powell, Alice Faye, Susannah McCorkle, Tony Martin and of course Shirley Temple. It’s on the Smithsonian Collection label.

    You can hear Margaret Whiting singing some of her Dad’s song (and much more) on Capitol/EMI’s “Margaret Whiting – Love Songs/Sings For The Starry Eyed” [number: 4930642]


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