Jimmy McHugh

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Jimmy McHugh
Birth nameJames Francis McHugh
Born(1894-07-10)July 10, 1894
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedMay 23, 1969(1969-05-23) (aged 74)
OccupationsSongwriter
 
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Jimmy McHugh
Birth nameJames Francis McHugh
Born(1894-07-10)July 10, 1894
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedMay 23, 1969(1969-05-23) (aged 74)
OccupationsSongwriter

James Francis McHugh (July 10, 1894 – May 23, 1969) was an American composer. One of the most prolific songwriters from the 1920s to the 1950s, he is credited with over 500 songs. His songs were recorded by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland (who ended up dying only one month after McHugh's), Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, June Christy, Peggy Lee, Deanna Durbin, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Contents

Career

After struggling in a variety of jobs, including rehearsal pianist for the Boston Opera House and pianist/song plugger for Irving Berlin’s publishing company, in 1921, at the age of 26, McHugh relocated to New York City(Forte). Eventually finding employment as a professional manager with the prominent music publisher Jack Mills Inc., it was here that McHugh published his first song “Emaline”, and briefly teamed up with Irving Mills as The Hotsy Totsy Boys to write the hit song “Everything Is Hotsy Totsy Now”.

This songwriting partnership was just the first of McHugh’s many illustrious collaborations, among them Ted Koehler (“I’m Shooting High”), Al Dubin (“South American Way”) and the great Harold Adamson (“It’s a Most Unusual Day”). As impressive as these master lyricists were, perhaps McHugh’s best symbiotic musical relationship was with the school teacher and poet Dorothy Fields.(ASCAP) Since he had written material for many of Harlem’s Cotton Club revues, it would be no coincidence that their first combined success would be the score for the all-black Broadway musical Blackbirds of 1928 starring Adelaide Hall and Bill Bojangles Robinson, which jump-started the fledgling duo’s career with the memorable songs “I Can't Give You Anything But Love,” “Diga Diga Doo” and “I Must Have That Man.”(ASCAP)

Other hits written for the stage were soon to follow, including what is arguably their most famous composition, 1930’s “On the Sunny Side of the Street” for Lew Leslie’s International Revue, which also contained the favorite “Exactly Like You”; “Blue Again” for The Vanderbilt Revue; and in 1932, “Don’t Blame Me,” which was featured in the Chicago revue Clowns In Clover.

McHugh and Fields contributed title songs for films include "Cuban Love Song", "Dinner at Eight" and "Hooray For Love", as well as “I Feel A Song Comin’ On” and “I'm in the Mood for Love” from 1935’s Every Night at Eight. In the artistically fruitful years after they first collaborated in 1930, McHugh and Fields wrote over 30 songs for the film world. Fields and McHugh finally parted company in 1935.(Spitz) McHugh's longest songwriting partner was Harold Adamson. Adamson provided lyrics to McHugh's compositions. Such hits as "Coming in on A Wing and A Prayer." This song found it's way into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Below you can see several of their many hits listed. (source nephew Bruce Adamson)

For the 1948 film, A Date with Judy, he composed "It's a Most Unusual Day" for Jane Powell; it became the young singer and actress' signature tune. (She was still performing it as recently as 2010 — aged 81 — when she sang the song at the Hollywood Bowl, accompanied by Pink Martini, the 13-member "little orchestra").

Jimmy McHugh was inducted into The Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.[1]

Works

Broadway credits

There was a medley of his songs in the 1979 Broadway show Sugar Babies, which starred Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney. The songs included were "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "I'm Shooting High", "Roll Your Blues Away" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street".

Other wellknown songs of his include "I'm in the Mood for Love", "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening" and "Cuban Love Song".

References

  1. ^ * "Songwriters Hall of Fame Inducted 1970 | ASCAP Writer." Songwriters Hall of Fame. 2002. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.<http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibits/bio/C51>.

Bibliography

Notes

External links