Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Jimmy McHugh, composer (1894-1969): Jimmy, say the Mass with a bit more sincerity, #3

The lyrics of his life

The Later Years of McHugh

In l962, he accompanied President John Kennedy (also an Irish Bostonian who played fast and loose with the Roman Catholic scruples) to Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. During the service, McHugh and his brother Larry helped take up the collection. He died in l969 of a heart attack in his own bed at age 75. There was a requiem Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

My favorite McHugh songs: “I Can’t Give you Anything but Love,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening,” “Don’t Blame Me,” etc.

McHugh’s Religous and Moral Worldview

What to make of Jimmy McHugh’s Christian convictions? On the positive side, he gave generously to several Catholic Church congregations. He established and funded the Jimmy McHugh Polio Foundation when polio was a national threat. He doted on his mother. He wrote patriotic music when America was at war. He was active in the Beverly Hills business community. He was extremely close to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He used his God-given gifts as a composer to write superbly crafted and original songs that bring joy to the listener. He understood stewardship for he once said, “All ideas have merit and the more of them you possess, the more chance you have of succeeding.” On the negative side, he treated his wife abominably with multiple public adulteries (Dorothy Fields, Louella Parson, et. al.). He shamefully neglected his son, Jimmy II. He broke contracts when it was to his financial advantage to do so. Taken as a whole, his Christian testimony is mixed and fundamentally publicly flawed beyond recognition.

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