Bing Crosby was one of the biggest music and movie stars of the mid-20th century. Born on May 3, 1903, Bing Crosby's career stretched over more than half a century from 1926 until his death. Crosby was the best-selling recording artist until well into the rock era, with over half a billion records in circulation.
Bing Crosby, popular American singer whose career stretched over more than half a century from 1926 until his death. He was the best selling singer of the first half of the 20th century, and one of the most popular radio stars. Harry Lillis Crosby was the birth name of Bing Crosby who was born on 2 May 1903, in Tacoma, Washington, USA. He died on 14th October 1977 in Madrid, Spain due to heart attack.
One of the first multimedia stars, from 1934 to 1954 Bing Crosby held a nearly unrivaled command of record sales, radio ratings and motion picture grosses. Widely recognized as one of the most popular musical acts in history, Crosby is also credited as being the major inspiration for most of the male singers of the era that followed him
Crosby's unique bass-baritone voice made him the best-selling recording artist. His live performances from New York were carried over the national radio network for 20 consecutive weeks in 1932. His radio success led Paramount Pictures to include him in The Big Broadcast (1932), a film featuring radio favorites. His songs about not needing a bundle of money to make life happy was the right message for the decade of the Great Depression. He won the best actor Oscar for playing an easygoing priest in Going My Way (1944).
He played an alcoholic actor down on his luck opposite Grace Kelly in The Country Girl (1954) showed that he was an actor as well as a performer. Playing golf was what he liked to do best. He died at age 74 playing golf at a course outside Madrid, Spain, after completing a tour of England that had included a sold-out engagement at the London Palladium.
Crosby had numerous jazz affiliations including his first vocal group, The Rhythm Boys, but is normally classified as a pop music figure. He remained associated with jazz through his many appearances with jazz greats, through his love for the music of jazz, and through his singing on several swinging jazz sides and albums. He became a overnight sensation as a solo act in 1932 through a series of star radio appearances and a record breaking run on stage at New York's famed Paramount Theatre. 1932 also brought with it his appearance in a film called "The Big Broadcast" where he introduced his theme song, one in which he co wrote, called "Where the Blue of the Night Meets The Gold Of The Day." The song became his identifying song and was heard for many years on the popular Kraft Music Hall program.
Crosby exerted an important influence on the development of the postwar recording industry. In 1947, he invested $50,000 in the Ampex company, which developed North America's first commercial reel-to-reel tape recorder. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings on magnetic tape.
For 15 years (1934, 1937, 1940, 1943-1954), Crosby was among the top 10 in box office draw, and for five of those years (1944-1949) he was the largest in the world. He sang four Academy Award-winning songs - "Sweet Leilani" (1937), "White Christmas" (1942), "Swinging on a Star" (1944), "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (1951) - and won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Going My Way (1944).
In 1962, Crosby became the first recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been inducted into the halls of fame for both radio and popular music. He is a member of the exclusive club of the biggest record sellers that include Elvis Presley, The Beatles, ABBA, Michael Jackson, and Queen.
In 1926, while singing at Los Angeles Metropolitan Theater, Crosby and Al Rinker, his vocal duo partner caught the eye of Paul Whiteman, arguably the most famous bandleader at the time who was hired for $150 a week, they made their debut on December 6, 1926 at the Tivoli Theatre (Chicago). Their first recording, "I've Got The Girl," with Don Clark's Orchestra, was issued by Columbia and did them no vocal favors as it sounded as if they were singing in a key much too high for them. It was later revealed that the 78 rpm was recorded at a speed slower than it should have been, which increased the pitch when played at 78 rpm. As popular as the Crosby and Rinker duo was, Whiteman added another member to the group, pianist and aspiring song writer Harry Barris. Whiteman dubbed them The Rhythm Boys, and they joined the Whiteman vocal team, working and recording with musicians Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, and Eddie Lang and singers Mildred Bailey and Hoagy Carmichael.
Crosby soon became the star attraction of the Rhythm Boys, not to mention Whiteman's band, and in 1928 had his first number one hit, a jazz-influenced rendition of "Ol' Man River". Fellow member of The Rhythm Boys Harry Barris wrote several of Crosby's subsequent hits including "At Your Command," "I Surrender Dear", and "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams"; however, shortly after this, the members of the band had a falling out and split, setting the stage for Crosby's solo career. In 1931, he signed with Brunswick Records and recording under Jack Kapp and signed with CBS Radio to do a weekly 15 minute radio broadcast; almost immediately he became a huge hit.
As the 1930s unfolded, it became clear that Bing was the number one man, vocally speaking. Ten of the top 50 songs for 1931 either featured Crosby solo or with others. Apart from the short-lived "Battle of the Baritones" with Russ Columbo, "Bing Was King," signing long-term deals with Jack Kapp's new record company Decca and starring in his first full-length features, 1932's The Big Broadcast, the first of 55 such films in which he received top billing. He appeared in 79 pictures.
Around this time Crosby made his solo debut on radio, co-starring with The Carl Fenton Orchestra on a popular CBS radio show, and by 1936 replacing his former boss, Paul Whiteman, as the host of NBC's Kraft Music Hall, a weekly radio program where he remained for the next ten years. As his signature tune he used "Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)", which also showcased his whistling skill.With Crosby, as Henry Pleasants noted in The Great American Popular Singers, something new had entered American music, something that might be called "singing in American," with conversational ease. The oddity of this new sound led to the epithet "crooner".
Crosby gave great emphasis to live appearances before American troops fighting in the European Theater. He also learned German pronunciations from written scripts and would read them in propaganda broadcasts intended for the German forces. The nickname "der Bingle" for him was understood to have become current among German listeners, and came to be used by his English-speaking fans. In a poll of U.S. troops at the close of World War II, Crosby topped the list as the person who did the most for G.I. morale, beating out President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, and Bob Hope.
Crosby's biggest musical hit was his recording of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", which he introduced through a 1942 Christmas-season radio broadcast and the movie Holiday Inn. Crosby's recording hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and rose to #1 on October 31, where it stayed for 11 weeks. In the following years, his recording hit the Top 30 pop charts another 16 times, topping the charts again in 1945 and January 1947. The song remains Crosby's best-selling recording, and the best-selling single and best-selling song of all time. In 1998, after a long absence, his 1947 version hit the charts in Britain, and as of 2006 remains the North American holiday-season standard. According to Guinness World Records, Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" has "sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles."
According to ticket sales, Crosby is, at 1,077,900,000 tickets sold, the third most popular actor of all time, behind Clark Gable and John Wayne. Crosby is, according to Quigley Publishing Company's International Motion Picture Almanac, tied for second on the "All Time Number One Stars List" with Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, and Burt Reynolds. Crosby's most popular film, White Christmas, grossed $30 million in 1954 ($243 million in current value).Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Going My Way in 1944, a role he reprised in the 1945 sequel The Bells of Saint Mary's, for which he was nominated for another Academy Award for Best Actor. He received critical acclaim for his performance as an alcoholic entertainer in The Country Girl, receiving his third Academy Award nomination.
The Fireside Theater (1950) was Crosby's first television production. The series of 26-minute shows was filmed at Hal Roach Studios rather than performed live on the air. The "telefilms" were syndicated to individual television stations.
Crosby was one of the most frequent guests on the musical variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s.
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