Monday, March 3, 2014

BING AND THE BEATLES

This past month marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan show. Their music caused such a revolution, just as Bing's music did three decades before that. Bing and The Beatles never worked together, but The Beatles were admirers of Bing.

Bing's 1932 recording of Please, which contained the plaintive plea "Please, lend your little ear to my pleas" was part of the inspiration for the Beatles first chart-topping hit, "Please Please Me," written by John Lennon in 1962. Lennon recounts the development of the song in Ray Coleman's 1984 biography, Lennon:

"In my auntie's house on Menlove Avenue, I heard Roy Orbison doing 'Only the Lonely' on the radio. I was also intrigued by the double use of the word 'please' in a Bing Crosby song. Lennon was a long-time fan of Bing's music, especially the early Crosby. In a 1980 interview a few weeks before Lennon's death, Coleman asked Lennon what music he was currently listening to. He said, "Hank Williams, Carl Perkins, John Gielgud reading Shakespeare and anything that Bing Crosby had ever done."

George Harrison developed an interest in Bing in the 1980s. On a nationally-syndicated radio show, Breakfast with the Beatles, Harrison remarked, "Bing Crosby was someone I discovered in my gardening period. He had a lovely voice, a presence that sort of crackles. He always remained popular over here [i.e., England]. I like his stuff very much."

According to Harrison's son, Dhani, quoted in the October 2002 issue of "Beatles Monthly" magazine, an album of recordings by Bix Beiderbecke and Bing (Bix 'n' Bing) was his dad's favorite in his later years.

There is no evidence that Bing met any of the Beatles, but he did perform several of their songs ("Fool on the Hill," "Obladi Oblada" ...) on his television shows. His only commercial recording of a Lennon-McCartney song was "Hey Jude," the Beatles' biggest hit, on Nov. 21, 1968. It became the title song of his next album, Hey Jude, Hey Bing!. Bing's version of "Hey Jude" was released on CD in 1997 by Rhino Records under the title "Golden Throats IV -- Celebrities Butcher the Beatles."

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