My friend died today.
I’d known Margaret’s pure, crystal-clear voice long before we met. And once we met, through her piano player Herb Mesick, we became fast friends and remained close for over 40 years.
My parents loved her music and played her records often. The first time I heard Margaret Whiting sing Moonlight in Vermont, I was in awe. Who could possibly sing with such perfection?
In 1967, I was in high school and had just turned 17 when I landed a job as an announcer for, what was called, in those days, a “beautiful music station.” KARD FM in Wichita, KS had a mandated playlist created by the program director and a Margaret Whiting song was on the schedule every couple of hours or so. Even though the music rotation was set in stone, I managed to slip in an extra Whiting tune every now and then. I’d turn up the studio monitors and I’d listen to her perfect tone and how she interpreted lyrics. Just listen to this tune; you’ll know why.
So on this sad, gray day, Margaret—my Zelda—I send you my thanks. Thanks for the romps over the years through Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Thanks for the hugs and fun at Studio One, Studio 54, the Mocambo, the Fairmount, the Coconut Grove. Thanks for breaking bread with me all those times at Joe Allen.
Thanks for the time with Herbie and the brilliant Johnny A. Meyer. Thanks for bringing me on-stage with you even though you knew I couldn’t sing a note. Thanks for sharing me with your mother—Eleanor was a pip and I loved her turbans. And, thanks for enjoying our many rides in my MG.
You were always up for an adventure, Margaret, and I’ll bet that you still are. Now then, share your music with the angels and don’t forget to open with an up-tune.
And I’ll simply sign this post, F. Scott. And I know that you’ll know why.
P.S. As I told you when we visited last year, I was so very jealous of Jack—but only around the edges, dear. Only around the edges.