Saturday, October 26, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bing Crosby

Artist:Bing Crosby
Song:Swinging On A Star
Album:Bing's Gold Records

For the first part of the 20th century, Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. was the first multimedia star. He started out as a band singer and parlayed his popular radio show into film stardom. Most of his big hits were from his films. Swinging On A Star was from the 1944 film Going My Way and was a number one hit and an Oscar winner. Crosby also won a Best Actor Oscar. He was born May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, WA. Bing was a childhood nickname. Al Jolson was his favourite singer. His big break came in 1925. He had a vocal duo with Al Rinker. Rinker's sister was famed singer Mildred Bailey. She introduced them to bandleader Paul Whiteman and along with Harry Barris, they became The Rhythm Boys. Crosby sang lead on Whiteman's 1928 hit Ol' Man River. They left Whiteman for Gus Anheim's orchestra. But by 1931, Crosby went solo and signed a record deal with Brunswick Records and started his radio show on CBS. Crosby soon became the leading singer in America and he moved to Decca Records in 1934. In 1936, he became host of NBC's Kraft Music Hall for the next ten years. Crosby's vocal style was different from most singers of the era. Rather then belting songs at the top of his lungs, Crosby's understated style was described as "crooning". It was a singing style well suited for radio as opposed to the Broadway stage. By the 40s, Crosby had become a big Hollywood star with ticket sales rivaling John Wayne and Clark Gable. The Irving Berlin song White Christmas was the biggest hit of his career. Crosby sang it in the 1942 film Holiday Inn. He also starred with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in the long running Road series of films. Swinging On A Star is from the 1944 film Going My Way. The film won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crosby and Best Song for Swinging On A Star. And it was a number one hit and a gold record. The song was written by the veteran team of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. Van Heusen was at Crosby's house for dinner. One of Crosby's children said he didn't want to go to school the next day. Crosby's response was "If you don't go to school, you might grow up to be a mule". Van Heusen took that to Burke and I guess the song wrote itself. The Williams Brothers including Andy Williams sang backup vocals on the record. You can get it on this budget comp. When Crosby's career faded a bit in the 50s, he turned to TV and I don't think anyone noticed that he faded. Crosby was also a pioneer of recording technology. All his radio shows were live. Some radio shows were recorded to disc. Crosby started the company Ampex and with 3M, audio tape recording technology was developed. In the 60s, Crosby got into TV production and produced series like Ben Casey and Hogan's Heroes. Crosby continued to perform in the 70s despite health problems. He broke his back while taping a 1977 TV special. He went on a European tour after he recovered and was in Spain when he died of a heart attack after playing golf on Oct. 14, 1977 at age 74. Crosby was a lifelong golf and horse racing fanatic. At least he was doing what he loved. Here's Bing Crosby with the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir performing Swinging On A Star from the 1944 film Going My Way.

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