Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE BIGGEST BING CROSBY FAN

Bing and Leslie Gaylor
I was an active member of the various Bing Crosby fan clubs from 1991-2011. I miss the old days of involvment in the clubs, when each fan member because a close friend. Fans would share music via cassettes and later CDs, and it was so much fun finding people that had a common interest. I remember the first cassette I got included Bing's last American made recording "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" from April of 1977. I don't have the cassette anymore, I can remember my first involvement in the Crosby club like it was yesterday. I made a lot of lasting friendships from the association in those clubs, and I cherish each and every one of the friends. It got me thinking to those golden years of club members - who was/is the biggest Bing Crosby fan?

I would nominate the late Leslie Gaylor as the biggest fan myself. He not only collected Bing, but he got to meet the legendary crooner during his lifetime. I have a few letters from Leslie, and I treasure them to this day. He was a humble man, and he never acted like he had a complete collection or boasted that he got to know Bing. Sadly, Gaylor would not live long enough to see the Bing Crosby centennial celebrations in 2003. He died in 2000 at the age of 78.

Here are some other choices:

(From Richard "Jarbie" Baker):
How does one measure greatness, (apart from girth)?

There are those who had notable collections of Bing related material, there are the long term, there are those who for other some reasons become prominent - the editors and compilers of magazines, the initiators and members of the various groups. All deserve a mention. Then there are those who badger radio DJs, record producers, radio and TV programmers and the like. Amongst other things, Leslie Gaylor was indeed active in that area.

But surely the Gold Medal should go to the likes of Lionel Pairpoint, Colin Pugh and Fred Reynolds for the extraordinary pure original research which they undertook in comparing and identifying origins and differences between takes, the origins of individual tracks in radio shows and the like. Ralph Harding, Bob Roberts and Derek Parkes are worthy companions in this list which must also include Malcolm MacFarlane, who not only edits "Bing" but also undertook the massive original research contained in "Bing Crosby - Day By Day".


(From Cathie Wilson):
I would have to submit Hobie Wilson's name in notable collectors of Bing Crosby music starting with his first78 rpm at age 15, His folks bought him a "wire" recorder (yes a wire recorder) where he recorded many of Bing's early radio show. He progressed to better equiptment as time went on using magnetic tape and God knows what else. - He had a local radio show here in Petaluma (KTOB) where he played Crosby and alternated with other elements of his collection such as big band, dixieland etc. - The Bing's Friends and Collectors Newsletter was made up of elements from his scrap books that he has kept over the years. Elements of that collection kept the publication up and running for 28 years.


(From Steve Fay):
Steven Lewis does have to be right up there near the top, considering how many other fans he helped!

STEVE LEWIS with Bing fan JANE FITZGERALD

There are so many dedicated Bing Crosby fans out there - ones of the past and ones just discovering the magic that was and is Bing Crosby - long may it continue...

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