McHugh, Jimmy [James] (Francis)
- Deane L. Root
(b Boston, July 10, 1894; d Beverly Hills, CA, May 23, 1969). American songwriter, pianist and music publisher. He learnt the piano from his mother, and in 1915 became a rehearsal pianist for the Boston Opera. From 1916 he was a song-plugger in Boston for Irving Berlin Music and from 1921 in New York for the F.A. Mills Co., of which he later became a partner. In the 1920s he wrote several popular songs, including When My Sugar Walks Down the Street (1924), and revues for the Cotton Club in Harlem. In 1928 he began a long association with the lyricist Dorothy Fields; their all-black revue Blackbirds of 1928 included the song ‘I can’t give you anything but love’, which was an early success for dancer Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson. Fields and McHugh were among the most successful songwriters in Hollywood in the 1930s, writing for such films as ...