Monday, April 18, 2022


When Bing Crosby came onto the scene in the 1920s he was an instant hit. The star released his first batch of singles starting in 1927, one of which hit number one in the USA (My Blue Heaven). By the 1930s he had become well known on the airways, but disaster struck once he booked his first-ever live radio performance.

Bing became incredibly sick and began suffering from laryngitis when he began to sing more often. He suffered a particularly bad bout of it just days before his debut radio show, meaning he was forced to push it back by two days. This continuous arrival of laryngitis in his talented throat started to become a problem for Bing when he started singing even more.

This strain is even evident in some of his records from the late 1920s and early 1930s. And further hoarseness can be heard during some extremely high notes in such songs as You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me.

Eventually, he figured out what was wrong.

In 1931 Bing went to his doctor to figure out why he kept suffering from laryngitis. After a few tests the doctor revealed to him the worst news imaginable for a singer: Bing had developed a vocal cord nodule.

A nodule – or node – is a hard blister that develops on the vocal cords in a similar way to a callus on a finger. These dampen the range of singers – and for Bing, that was a career-ending diagnosis.

After that, however, he resumed his busy schedule. Jazz critic Gary Giddins noted how, after this, Bing’s voice worsened in subtle ways.

Bing’s changing voice over the decades that followed forced him to alter how he performed certain songs.

For example, instead of being able to perform tracks such as June In January and With Every Breath I Take in the key of F, he had then transposed down a tone to E Flat.

Although by 1940 and beyond Bing’s illness had levelled out, it never went away. But he learned to live with it as his unique voice became the calling card of the star. And it served him well, considering he recorded more than 1,600 songs, made more than 70 feature films, and more than 100 albums...

Monday, April 4, 2022


Colleen Gray (1922-2015) starred with Bing in 1950's Riding High. Here is a story she had about Bing...

Bing was very relaxed, a little cool; not a gushy person. I noticed one day on the set, he was reading a book and I looked at the title. It was, 'NOTES TOWARD A DEFINITION OF CULTURE by T S Elliot. You know you don't think of Bing in those terms. The kindness and sweetness of this man was illustrated when we were to do the SUNSHINE CAKE routine, which was such a charming scene. It was a routine, involving a dance. I'm not a dancer. So I was coached by a man who shall remain nameless. He'd say 'You have to keep the arms down, the shoulders up, the fanny in, the bandy legs, and this and that, and now do it.' I'm working on this and that and get stuck, sort of. It didn't come naturally. So he says 'Oh, come on now damnit! You do it! You're making more money than I am, now do it!' Well I worked as hard as I could and, the day we shot the routine, I was still behind the scenes, trying to get this whole thing going, so, when it came time to do it, I became very apprehensive. I'm trying to smile and be funny and laugh and so forth, keeping my head up so that the tears would run down my nose rather than down my cheeks. Well, Bing saw this. He said 'Frank (Capra)? You know something, I don't feel quite relaxed in this. I think we need a little more rehearsal. Can we have some more rehearsal?' Capra said 'Of course' And so we rehearsed it some more, and that's all it took. I was so grateful to Bing for that and he made the routine such fun. You know, I hate to say it, but it was adorable'. (laughing)