The publisher Little, Brown recently announced a November 13, 2018 publication date for Gary Giddins’ Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946, the second volume of the author’s definitive account of Crosby, the enormously popular 20th century entertainer he describes as “quintessentially American, cool and upbeat, never pompous, belligerent, or saccharine, never smug or superior. He looked down on
In an effort to get into the Christmas spirit, a revisit of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is a seasonal requisite. It percolates around the house for a couple of spins, leads to an Ella tune here, a Nat Cole there…before you know it much of an entire afternoon is spent attempting to find something, anything, that will capture the season’s enthusiasm so elusive this year.
This year the tune inspired some Internet surfing about the 1954 film that net neutrality seamlessly allows…I landed on some interesting trivia about the film found at the Regal Cinema’s website. Among the items listed, many obvious but welcome reminders:
In the 1942 film Holiday Inn, Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas” as a duet with actress Marjorie Reynolds, but her voice was dubbed by this radio and film singer who also did film voice over work for actresses such as Loretta Young, Hedy Lamarr, Eva Gabor, Rita Hayworth and Lucille Ball.
Who is she?
Click Here for the answer! […] Continue reading »
This pianist worked with (among others) the bands of Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and was Bing Crosby’s musical director at the time of Crosby’s death in 1977. Who is he? […] Continue reading »
Playing at Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove club, and featuring singers that included Bing Crosby, this bandleader led the top West Coast big band during the 20’s and 30’s. Who was he?
This vocalist’s recording of “My Blue Heaven” was considered the top-selling recording of all-time prior to 1942, when Bing Crosby recorded “White Christmas.” Who was he?
Jelly Roll Morton […] Continue reading »
“I suppose you could say that the seeds of my next book, a full-length biography of Louis Armstrong, were planted three years ago, when I was writing an essay for the New York Times about Armstrongs centenary in which I called him “jazz’s most eminent Victorian,” Terry Teachout wrote in his August 17, 2004 Arts Journal blog.
Three years after the Times piece was published, he took a tour of the Louis Armstrong House in Queens and came away with the enthusiasm required of such an endeavor. […] Continue reading »
Excerpted from Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams by Gary Giddins
To hip musicians in Chicago, scat had been the rage for months. Bing and some of the other adventurous musicians in Whiteman’s band heard it that very week from the master himself, Louis Armstrong. If mobster Al Capone ruled the city, Armstrong ruled its music. Whatever he played was instantly picked up by other musicians. The previous spring Okeh issued his Hot Five recording of “Heebie Jeebies,” and it caused a sensation, selling some 40,000 copies thanks to his inspired vocal chorus – a torrent of bristling grunts and groans in no known language. […] Continue reading »
When Gary Giddins, the jazz critic and columnist for the Village Voice, began work on an in-depth biography of Bing Crosby, many asked him, “Why?” He has explained that Crosby, perhaps the most famous entertainer in America between 1927 and 1956, has been unjustly forgotten since his death in 1977. […] Continue reading »