Bing Crosby was among the most important singers in the history of American popular music. His bass-baritone was immediately recognizable on even his earliest pop/jazz recordings. His relaxed crooning style influenced just about every white pop singer who came after him including Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin.
early career coincided with the development of the microphone and electronic
recordings. Earlier jazz singers needed to shout out songs without the aid of amplification
during performances, whereas Crosby’s softer
delivery could be amplified with a microphone and heard amid the din of a band.
Crosby was born Harry Crosby in
in 1903. His brother, Bob Crosby, would also become a notable jazz figure. In
the summer of 1917, while witnessing a performance by Al Jolson in Tacoma, Washington Spokane, Washington, Crosby was bitten by the music bug and decided that a
career in music was for him.
In 1923, he formed a band with some high school chums called the “Musicalalers” featuring himself on vocals and drums. The band played shows in clubs and at high school dances. After two years, the band broke up, and in 1925, Crosby’s musical connections led him to Paul Whiteman, the leader of the most successful jazz/pop orchestra in
1926, Whiteman had hired America Crosby. Crosby would eventually be featuring in Whiteman’s
touring band with two other singers as the “Rhythm Boys.” As one of the
Whiteman fold, Crosby would work with some of
the best white jazz musicians in the country including Bix Beiderbecke, Jack
Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, and Eddie Lang.
Crosby’s magnetic voice quickly made him the star of the Rhythm Boys and he would record a No. 1 pop single with the Whiteman Orchestra with “
in 1928. Eventually, Ole
Man River Crosby’s love of alcohol
and good times put him at odds with Whiteman, and he left Whiteman with the
Rhythm Boys to join the Gus Arnheim Orchestra. While with Arnheim, The other
two singers in the Rhythm Boys were increasingly pushed out of the spotlight,
leading to inevitable bitterness and the eventual dissolution of the trio.
As the Thirties progressed, Crosby would become the leading singer in
placing more hits on the charts than any other singer. He also made the
transition to movie star, appearing in a number of short musical films by
director Mack Sennett. He signed a new recording deal with Decca Records and
appeared in his first full-length film, “The Big Broadcast,” in 1932. America Crosby would ultimately appear in 79 films.
During World War Two,
was one of the most dedicated of the performers who traveled into the European
theatre of war to entertain American troops. Crosby’s
dedication to the fighting men did not go unnoticed and only served to increase
On Christmas Day, 1941,
introduced what would become his most famous song, “White Christmas,” in a
radio broadcast. By the following year, Crosby
had recorded the song, and that recording of White Christmas went on to become
the biggest selling single in recording history with world-wide sales of over
100 million copies.
After a career that lasted for more than fifty years, Crosby collapsed and died of a heart attack while playing golf, in
in 1977. Spain
|This guy has balls!|