Jimmy Francis McHugh was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 10th, 1894 and is hailed as one of the most popular Irish-American
songwriters since Victor Herbert. His father was a plumber and his mother was an accomplished pianist. His career began when
he was promoted from a office boy to a rehearsal pianist at the Boston Opera House. As his desire was to write and perform
“popular” music, he left the job in 1917 to become a pianist and song plugger in Boston with the Irving Berlin publishing
company. In 1921, he moved to New York after getting married and started working for Jack Mills Inc. where he published his
first song, Emaline. The song was so popular that he was promoted to a professional manager, teaming up with Irving Mills
to release the hit song,
Everything is Hotsy Totsy Now – the two becoming known as the Hotsy Totsy Boys.
Between the years of 1922 and 1930, McHugh wrote songs for at least nine difference shows, and expanded out to writing for
movies, My Dream of the Big Parade. His music career took off when he partnered with Dorothy Fields, a lyricist in 1927, and
produced their first hit I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, written for the all-black Blackbirds of 1928 musical.
In the early 1930s, they moved into the Hollywood movie scene; however, Fieldspreferred the Broadway scene and returned to
New York after some years. McHugh went on to partner with Harold Adamson to produce songs for classic 1930s movies for fifteen
McHugh died in Beverly Hills on March 23rd, 1969 after writing more than 280 songs. He was nominated five times for the Academy
Award, but unfortunately never won.
The Jimmy McHugh Collection of Sheet Music consists of over 550
Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.