Richard Whiting

“Too Marvelous for Words” sheet music cover, 1937.

Richard Whiting, born November 12, 1891 in Peoria, Illinois, was a composer and collaborator of Johnny Mercer’s until his untimely death in 1938. Mercer remained close with Richard’s daughter, Margaret Whiting, who became a renowned singer and one of the first artists that Mercer signed at Capitol Records.

“Too Marvelous For Words” was released in the 1937 Warner Bros. film Ready, Willing and Able. It has been said that this was a difficult song for Johnny Mercer to write because the film’s producer, Hal Wallis, wanted several sets of lyrics for the song. Johnny angrily went home one day after saying that he would “never find the words”. Richard brought him a dictionary and that provided Johnny with the inspiration to finish the lyrics. 

“Hooray for Hollywood” sheet music cover, 1938.

“Hooray for Hollywood” was featured in the 1937 Warner Bros. film Hollywood Hotel. This song is considered to be the unofficial anthem of Hollywood and was an instant classic. It is still played during awards shows today. Mercer had a sense of humor about the tune, saying “Hollywood seemed to me like a big put-on and I had to make a little fun of it.”

Other songs by Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting include:

  • “I’ve Got a Heartful of Music”
  • “Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride”
  • “Can’t Teach My Old Heart New Tricks”
  • “Let That Be A Lesson To You”
  • “Sentimental and Melancholy”
  • “You Grow Sweeter as the Years Go By”
  • And many more!