JIMMY MCHUGH (1894 - 1969)
James Francis McHugh
Composer, Pianist, Music Publisher
Jimmy McHugh was a prolific composer. His songs have appeared in hundreds of films (and counting), and many have been recorded by well over 50 artists. He wrote Cotton Club shows and enjoyed his first hit with Gene Austin and Irving Mills, “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” (1924). In 1926 he and Clarence Gaskill had success with “I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me.”.
Then he met aspiring lyricist, Dorothy Fields, who collaborated with him on the successful Broadway show, Blackbirds of 1928, which produced “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” The hits kept coming: “Exactly Like You” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1930) and “Don’t Blame Me” (1932).
In Hollywood, they contributed the title tune to Cuban Love Song with Herbert Stothart (1931), and in 1935 “I’m in the Mood for Love” became their first Hit Parade song, rising to number one. They also wrote lyrics for Jerome Kern’s “Lovely to Look At” and the title song for Hooray for Love.
McHugh’s work with other lyricists produced “I’m Shooting High” (1935) with Ted Koehler and “Say It (Over and Over Again),” “Can’t Get Out of This Mood,” and “Let’s Get Lost” with Frank Loesser (1940).
McHugh’s second lengthy partnership, with Harold Adamson, produced “You’re a Sweetheart” and “Where Are You?” (1937). Frank Sinatra introduced “I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night” and “This Is a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening” in Higher and Higher (1943). Among other patriotic songs, they wrote “Comin’ In on a Wing and a Prayer” (1943) and raised money for the war effort, for which they were honored by President Truman in 1947. Their later hits were “A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba (1945), “It’s a Most Unusual Day” (1948) and “Too Young to Go Steady” (1955).
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com