Sunday, December 31, 2023


 Here's to 2024 and all the Bingfans out there!

Friday, December 22, 2023


 No one in the modern world meant more to Christmas than Bing Crosby. Here are som candid shots from his Christmas specials through the years...

with Frank Sinatra

Monday, December 18, 2023


 Here is the original review of the classic Holiday Inn. This appeared in the NY Times on August 5, 1942...

That man Irving Berlin has been whistling to himself again. Not content with turning out the most rousing Broadway show in years, he has scribbled no fewer than thirteen tunes for "Holiday Inn," the light-heartedly patriotic musical which opened last night at the Paramount in conjunction with a gala stage show for the benefit of the Navy Relief Society.

 Mr. Berlin may not know a great deal about notes, as he confesses, but he does know a lot about music. If there are no tunes in "Holiday Inn" that quite match those of his army show, Mr. Berlin still has created several of the most effortless melodies of the season—the sort that folks begin humming in the middle of a conversation for days afterward. At present Paramount prices Mr. Berlin's tunes are being sold dirt cheap.As it happily happens, the film has caught the same effortless moods of the music. Mark Sandrich, director and producer, has taken the inevitable melange of plot and production numbers and so deftly pulled them together that one hardly knows where the story ends and a song begins—a neat trick if you can do it. That it comes off, of course, is largely due to the casual performances of Bing Crosby, who can sell a blackface song like "Abraham" or turn an ordinary line into sly humor without seeming to try, and Fred Astaire, who still owns perhaps the most sophisticated pair of toes in Christendom. 

Mr. Astaire has rarely danced with more alert, carefree abandon than among the exploding torpedoes and red devils of "Say It With Firecrackers." And in Marjorie Reynolds, a very fetching blonde young lady, Mr. Astaire has a new partner who can hold her own at all speeds.Mainly "Holiday Inn" is a series of musical episodes, each of which takes an American holiday for cue. But they have been strung ever so neatly on the amorous rivalries of Mr. Astaire, who wins all the battles except the last, and Mr. Crosby, a musical lazybones who retires to a New England farm which he converts into a night club for holidays only—thus leaving him 300-odd days a year for pure loafing.

And while the pair desperately conspire against each other for the hand of Miss Reynolds, Mr. Berlin's music sets the moods from the romantic "Be Careful, It's My Heart," to nostalgic "Easter Parade," tender "White Christmas" and rollicking "Let's Start the New Year Right."Along the way the author and director have bobbed up with some engaging tricks such as the befuddled Thanksgiving turkey hopping from one Thursday to another or the Washington's Birthday Minuet, in which a bland Mr. Crosby continually breaks up Mr. Astaire's precise and dainty footwork with hot licks in the accompaniment. It is all very easy and graceful; it never tries too hard to dazzle; even in the rousing and topical Fourth of July number it never commits a breach of taste by violently waving the flag. Instead it has skipped back over the year in an affectionate and light-hearted spirit. In a month without a holiday, "Holiday Inn" offers a reason for celebration not printed in red ink on the calendar.

HOLIDAY INN, screen play by Claude Binyon; adaptation by Elmer Rice; based on an original idea by Irving Berlin; produced and directed by Mark Sandrich for Paramount; music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. At the Paramount.Jim Hardy . . . . . Bing CrosbyTed Hanover . . . . . Fred AstaireLinda Mason . . . . . Marjorie ReynoldsLillie Dixon . . . . . Virginia DaleDanny Reid . . . . . Walter AbelMamie . . . . . Louise BeaversCigarette Girl . . . . . Judith GibsonHat Check Girl . . . . . Katharine BoothGirls and Dancers . . . . . Barbara Slater, Aline Brandes, Louise La Planche, Laurie Douglas, Lynda Grey, Lora Lee

Monday, December 11, 2023


I thought Bing sang this underrated Christmas song on his radio show, but it looks like there is just the commercial recording. I recommend this great song. Frankie Laine also recorded a nice version of the song... 


11 May 1949 Rec. L 5009-A

The Ken Lane Singers, Victor Young and his Orchestra

Monday, December 4, 2023


The Voice of Christmas: The Complete Decca Christmas Songbook is a two-disc collection of Christmas music recorded by Bing Crosby for the Decca label between 1935 and 1956, released by Universal Music Group on October 6, 1998. Crosby was the first popular singer to record Christmas songs, and his 1942 recording of "White Christmas" for the movie Holiday Inn is the best-selling single of all time. The most prolific period for his Christmas recordings was between 1942 and 1955, including his Christmas songs recorded with The Andrews Sisters. Crosby continued to record Christmas titles for other labels later in his career.

Most of the tracks included were originally issued on 78 RPM records. This collection contains all of Crosby's Decca label Christmas recordings, including some duplications of titles recorded at different times. The 1947 recording of "White Christmas" is the most played and considered the "standard" version; this re-recording was made due to the acetate of the 1942 version, and its flip side "Silent Night," becoming too degraded in quality to reproduce further copies.

Tracks are presented in loose chronological order, with collaborations appearing in chronological order on disc two from tracks nine through twenty. Two tracks are previously unreleased songs: an alternate version of his original May 29, 1942, recording of "White Christmas"; and a February 21, 1935, recording of "Silent Night." The 1935 version of "Silent Night" was not released due to Crosby's feelings that a popular entertainer should not profit on such a religion-based song however, once the proceeds were arranged to be donated to charity, a second recording of the song was released as a single in 1935 and was later packaged as part of a 1940 album...

Saturday, November 25, 2023


 Jimmy Cagney and Bing Crosby never got to work together on film, but they knew each other and got to work together briefly during the war selling war bonds. Here is a story Jimmy had about that time...

"At our opening show in Soldier Field, Chicago, there was a crowd of 130,000 .... Bing walked out to a reception for which the adjective "triumphant" is inadequate. He stood there in that very humble, charming way of his .... After the audience explosion died down, Bing said, "Whadda yez wanna hear?" and they exploded again until the stadium walls nearly buckled. After they subsided, he said, "Ya wanna leave it to me?" and they blew up again. Finally, he said, "Hit me, Al," and our orchestra conductor, Al Newman, started his boys off on "Blues in the Night." They had played only the first two bars when the audience went into rapturous applause once more. Bing finished the song, and never in my life have I heard anything like it. I got the traditional goose pimples just standing there, listening. He did another, same thing .... When Bing came offstage, the perspiration on him was an absolute revelation to me. Here he had been to all appearances perfectly loose and relaxed, but not at all. He was giving everything he had in every note he sang, and the apparent effortlessness was a part of his very hard work."

with Carole Lombard

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


 I lost a dear friend this week with the passing of Nick Nardella of Chicago. He was a lifelong member of The International Club Crosby, and Bing Crosby was one of his favorite singers. I personally met him in 1999, and we started a taping correspondence. He was there in my life for all of the important points of my life like my marriage and birth of my children. I have known Nick longer than I have known my wife. He always had encouraging words for me, and he was a geniune and good person. His music collection was as big as his heart.

Nick passed away peacefully on November 19, 2023. Nick is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Laverne M. Nardella nee Peterson; caring brother of John Nardella and Geraldine Kruger; cherished brother-in-law to the late Jim (Kathy) Peterson, Marilyn (James Sr.) Nemecek, the late Eileen Tomazin; fond uncle to Michael and Richard (Kim) Kruger, James Jr. (Michelle) Nemecek, Tracy (Joseph) Buchholz, Eric Peterson, Julie (David) Westerman, TJ Tomazin; caring great-uncle to Brooke (Cody) Mudd, Seth and Emily Kruger, Justin, Jacob, Jared, and Makayla Buchholz, Charlie and Danny Westerman; devoted great-great-uncle to Amberleigh Mudd. He is preceded in death by his parents Henry and Antoinette Nardella.

Nick proudly served in the Army as an Administrator, stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War era. Upon returning from his time in the service he fondly worked at World Book, and several years later went on to meet the love of his life, Laverne. Music and sports were Nick’s second love, being a devout fan of artists from the 1940’s and all sports teams from Chicago. He also was a member of "The Browsers", a Chicago based record collector group that shared their knowledge on local radio. 

I am a better person because I had the honor of knowing Nick Nardella....

Sunday, November 12, 2023


Bing recorded some great standards during this early days at Decca. He recorded these songs on November 12, 1935 in Hollywood. Hard to believe these recordings are 88 years old...

Bing Crosby (voc), Victor Young and his Orchestra (orc)

a. DLA253-A Red Sails In The Sunset(Jimmy Kennedy, Hugh Williams) - 3:10
b. DLA253-B Red Sails In The Sunset(Jimmy Kennedy, Hugh Williams) - 3:10

c. DLA254-A Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle(Walter G Samuels, Teddy Powell, Leonard 
d. DLA254-B Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle(Walter G Samuels, Teddy Powell, Leonard Whitcup) - 2:41
e. DLA255-A On Treasure Island(Edgar Leslie, Joe Burke) - 2:59
f. DLA255-B On Treasure Island(Edgar Leslie, Joe Burke) - 2:57
g. DLA255-C On Treasure Island(Edgar Leslie, Joe Burke) - 2:58
h. DLA256-A Adeste Fideles(Canon Frederick Oakley, John Francis Wade) - 3:18
i. DLA256-B Adeste Fideles(Canon Frederick Oakley, John Francis Wade) - 3:16

Monday, October 30, 2023


Coming soon on CD and LP!

Introducing "Bing Crosby's Christmas Gems," a remarkable album release curated by the estate, bringing together rare and never-before-released Christmas masters from The Bing Crosby archives. This limited edition release presents 14 holiday classics, including 12 previously unreleased recordings. With it's diverse repertoire, rare tracks, and iconic collaborations, this album serves as the perfect seasonal gift for music enthusiasts, spreading joy and celebrating the spirit of Christmas...

1. Let It Snow!
2. Just What I Wanted For Christmas
3. O LIttle Town Of Bethlehem
4. How Lovely Is Christmas
5. Away In A Manger
6. Good King Wenceslas
7. The Night Before Christmas
8. Christmas Island (w. Kathryn Crosby)
9. Joy To The World
10. The Secret Of Christmas
11. White World Of Winter
12. A Marshmellow World (w. Ella Fitzgerald)
13. Christmas Star
14. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (w. David Bowie)

More info here...

Friday, October 20, 2023


Bing Crosby was, along with Louis Armstrong, one of the fathers of jazz-influenced singing. He was a crooner like Rudy Vallee and Russ Columbo but with the rhythmic panache of a jazzman. In the 1930s, "The Old Groaner," as Bing was affectionately known, was the biggest singing star in America. Like the rest of the country, a young Frank Sinatra was charmed by Crosby's many radio appearances and his ultra-relaxed way with a song. When he was nineteen, he finally saw Bing in person—and the brouhaha that accompanied being a pop music star—and Sinatra knew he was going to be a singer.

In his early years, he made particular efforts not to sound like Bing. "Every kid on the block was boo-boo-booing like Crosby," he said, with the result being that there were as many differences between the two singers as there were similarities. Although Sinatra soon achieved Crosby's warmth of tone—especially on his Columbia recordings of the 1940s -- he rarely matched Bing's relaxed style.

This is clear when you compare his 1941 recording of "You Lucky People, You" to Crosby's performance of the song from the soundtrack to the film Road To Zanzibar. Where Sinatra makes relatively heavy weather of Jimmy Van Heusen's elaborate little melody—pulling away from the beat to make sense of the phrasing—Crosby breezes through the line with insouciant swing, and it makes perfect sense.

Sinatra would learn later to relax on rhythmic lines, but even then his swing remained edgier than Crosby's. "I believed, because of his leisurely manner of working, that if he could do it, I could do it," Sinatra said in the mid-1950s. "The funny thing is that I've never been able to do it. It's just a trick he has, a wonderful relaxed feeling about performing."

Nelson Riddle had a slightly different take on the differences between the rhythms of the two men, "Sinatra digs into a song and tries to get into it," he noted. "Crosby has a calculated nonchalance. He tosses off a tune". This made for terrific rhythmic bounce and cheerful irony, but when contrasted with the vulnerability and poignancy that the volatile Sinatra could achieve with a song, there could be a certain emotional distance in Crosby's work, as there apparently was in his life. Crosby was the original cool singer; Sinatra was the opposite of cool, as a man and as an artist. And Crosby recognized the difference himself: "He creates a mood, which very few people are able to do," Bing once said of Frank. "I don't think I create a mood when I sing."

The two men had different voices, too, and different approaches to them. Crosby rarely ventured from his smooth baritone range to indulge in bravura finishes or extremity of tone. Sinatra not only learnt to make more than Crosby of the expressive "grain" in his voice but would also, at various times in his career, venture to extremes, bringing startling drama to the music, as he did with the high F of "All Or Nothing At All" in 1939 and the low E of "Ol' Man River" in 1963. "Sinatra's voice is more 'live' and vibrant and fraught with shadows and coloring than Crosby's voice," Riddle observed.

Sinatra was always quick to pay tribute to Crosby, saying in the 1940s, "Bing was my first singing idol, and still is." The Old Groaner, meanwhile, acknowledged the rise of the Voice with the oft-quoted quip, "Frank Sinatra is the kind of singer who comes along once in a lifetime. But why did it have to be my lifetime???" He even sent an open letter of advice to the young crooner that was published in Motion Picture: Hollywood Magazine in December 1943. "Keep riding that skyrocket you're on, Frankie! I'm all for you," it said. "Yes, when I heard the whispers about you and me being bitter rivals, I just smiled."

Though entirely different temperamentally and for much of their careers politically, the two singers remained friendly throughout their lives, with Sinatra even singing the old man to his Reprise label in 1962, casting him in the Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre projects and the movie Robin And The 7 Hoods. Their professional encounters, mostly on radio and then TV, were never less than amiable, and their "Well, Did You Evah" duet in the movie High Society was a magical glimpse of the singers' respective performance styles!

Friday, October 6, 2023


Holiday in Europe was a long-playing vinyl album recorded for Bing Crosby's own company, Project Records at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and issued by Decca Records (DL-4281) in 1962. The album consists of twelve European songs. The orchestral arrangements were by Bob Thompson and the orchestra was conducted by Malcolm Lockyer at Decca's West Hampstead, London studios in October 1960. Crosby had recorded four of the songs with Lockyer on October 15, 1960, in London but a decision was taken not to use these vocal tracks. Crosby subsequently over-dubbed his vocals on all of the orchestral tracks in May 1961. Malcolm Lockyer does not receive a credit on the album cover.

The album was issued on CD by MCA Victor, Inc., Japan (MVCM-294) in 1993. The album was also reissued as "Holiday In Europe (And Beyond!)" released in February 2019 by Sepia Records. The album included the original songs and along with other 14 songs.

Variety magazine reviewed the album saying “In an indie master deal with Project Records, Bing Crosby comes under the Decca banner once again. The package peg is a global song roundup which has Crosby working his way through such entries as “Under Paris Skies,” “Morgen,” “Never on Sunday” and “Domenica”. It's flavorsome and pleasing.”

Side one
1. "April in Portugal" 
2. "C'est si bon" 
3. "Never on Sunday" 
4. "More and More Amor" 
5. "Moment in Madrid" 
6. "Morgen" 

Side two
1. "Two Shadows on the Sand"
2. "Under Paris Skies" 
3. "Domenica" 
4. "Pigalle" 
5. "My Heart Still Hears the Music 
6. "Melancolie"

Monday, September 25, 2023


This time around I wanted to take a look now at a more obscure film. I think 1934’s Here Is My Heart fits the bill. I have a confession to make though. I have never watched the 1934 film. This makes for an exciting viewing experience seeing a “new” Bing film after all these years, but then again to do this article I needed to take very copious notes. Here is My Heart is based on the play La Grande-duchesse et le garcon d’etage by Alfred Savior. Translated the title is The Grand Duchess and The Steward. This 1934 Paramount film starred Bing, Kitty Carlisle, and Roland Young. Filmed in Hollywood at the end of August, it was completed in early November. The New York premiere was on December 21, 1934 and afterwards, Bing entertained at a Christmas basket party hosted by Joe E. Brown at the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel. Dick Powell and Al Jolson also perform before the audience of 800. The event was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills and was designed to provide Yule cheer for the needy of Beverly Hills.

The slight plot is about a happy go lucky millionaire (played by Bing), who has planned a sort of a bucket list once he made a million dollars. A million dollars in 1934 was a like a billion today. One of his silly things he wanted to accomplish was to catch a fish in the middle of the ocean. Other bucket list items included saving a damsel in distress, and also finding a second rare dueling pistol so he could donate them both to a naval academy. (Bing had already obtained one of the dueling pistols). The other pistol was in Monte Carlo, and owned by a Princess Alexandra (played by Kitty Carlisle). The Princess though had lost all her money, but Bing did not know that. To get closer to her, he pretended to be waiter. Bing was instantly attracted to the Princess. Bing also befriended a prince in Princess Alexandra’s entourage by the name of Prince Nicholas (played by Roland Young). Prince Nicholas told Bing that the Princess will only sell the gun to royalty. In order to keep up his charade and find out more info on the Princess, Bing bought the hotel. He saw all of the bills owed to the hotel and realized that the Princess and her entourage are completely broke. Bing had fallen in love with the Princess, and he snuck money into Prince Nicholas’s pocket to help them out. Nicholas, found the money, and he realized Bing is rich. The Prince offers to help Bing win over the Princess. Meanwhile, Prince Nicholas was arrested by the police for illegally selling cars. To obtain his release, the Princess agreed to sell the pistol, but it was discovered that her pistol was a fake and only worth a few hundred dollars. In the end Bing sells his pistol to obtain Prince Nicholas’ release. Princess Alexandra was initially upset at all the lies Bing had fabricated, but Bing convinced her they he is sincere and loves her. They kiss as they declare their love for each other. Bing’s bucket list was no complete!

Here Is My Heart was originally developed as a vehicle for Gary Cooper and Elissa Landi, but Cooper changed his mind after deciding that a love story about a duchess and a waiter wasn't for him and turned down the role. Bing worked well in the film even with the flimsy plot. This was his second movie with Kitty Carlisle. He starred with her earlier in the year in She Loves Me Lot. Bing and Kitty worked well together, and in later years Kitty also talked fondly about her times working with Bing. Roland Young stole the movie away in my opinion as a kind of a comic foil for Bing. This was the only movie that Roland made with Bing, and Young would have greater fame playing Cosmo Topper in 1937’s comedy Topper. William Frawley also appeared in the movie in a smaller role as Bing’s agent. William Frawley would go on to appear with Bing in numerous additional films like: Double Or Nothing (1937) and Going My Way (1944). Frawley and Crosby got along well because they shared a love of horse racing.

The critics liked the film, with The New York Times saying, "...the new Bing Crosby film at the Paramount is a witty, lyrical and debonair farce, and a first-rate addition to the holiday bounties... Mr. Crosby, who has already shown that his talents include a gift for light comedy, emerges this time as a celebrated songbird who, having made his way in the world, decides to take his million dollars and satisfy all the frustrated ambitions which he had brooded over as a boy. “Here Is My Heart” is a bright and funny entertainment, deftly produced and happily performed."

Variety praised it as well: "A setup for the Crosby fans and an excellent example of musical comedy picture making.”Here Is My Heart" should have an easy time of it most anywhere. Crosby is in fine voice, the songs he was handed are honies, and the story serves nicely as something to hang the singing and the songs on... To change the pace the director has him singing while doing anything but hanging from a chandelier. One well planned departure has Crosby in a duet with his own voice playing on a phonograph."

Only three songs were featured in the film, which is a shame. Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin wrote “June In January” and “With Every Breath I Take” for the film. However for the third song, “Love Is Just Around The Corner” Leo Robin wrote the song with Lewis Gensler. I am not sure why Lewis Gensler was used for one song and not Ralph Rainger. Bing recorded all three songs for Decca, and all three were hits for him especially “June In January”.

 An interesting side note to the score of the movie, is I recently discovered a record of a song called “Here Is My Heart” on the Brunswick label featuring the Dorsey Brothers with Bob Crosby on vocal, recorded on November 17, 1934. The song was written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, and the record states “dedicated to the film Here Is My Heart”. It is a cute song, and it would have been nice to have more than three songs in the film. It looks like Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra also recorded it on the Victor label on November 2, 1934. I much prefer the Dorsey Brothers version of this forgotten song. (By the way, Bing made a record of another song called “Here Is My Heart” for Brunswick in 1933 with the Dorsey Brothers, but it was a different song completely).

The cast worked well in the film, and the music was top notch. The plot is probably the weakest part of this movie, but in 1934 movie audiences were not going to the movies to see Bing Crosby in a production of “War & Peace”. People wanted to escape from the stress of the Great Depression, and that is what Bing’s early Paramount movies provided. Here Is My Heart was practically a “lost” Bing film until it was finally issued on DVD as part of Universal Home Videos Silver Screen Collection in 2014. The movie is also available on Blu Ray now. Even though I think Here Is My Heart is not one of Bing’s better movies of the 1930s, I am glad I finally sat down and watched the film from beginning to end. Bing is charming in the film, and the music is amazing!


Friday, September 8, 2023


 Coming soon by Phil Crosby Jr (grandson of Bing)...

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


 This blog has been in existance since 2010. Since that time, I have loved to share my love of  Bing Crosby. I often say I was born too late, but I love remembering the past era. To produce this blog takes a lot of time and money to do research, etc. At this point 13 years later, to help defray the cost of creating a continuing blog like this, I have to ask for some help.

Any donations will be glady accepted. You can venmo the funds to me. My venmo name is @David-Lobosco-2. To send the donation the classic Hollywood way, please send it to David Lobosco, 107 Wetzel Road, Glenshaw, PA 15116.

I appreciate your continued support through the years. Keep the comments and suggestions coming as we continue to remember the life and talent of Der Bingle...

Friday, August 25, 2023


 In this new feature, we will take a look at a particular song that Bing Crosby recorded and get a list of all the times he performed it. It will be interesting looking at the vast amount of recording Bing did throughout his career...

ABRAHAM (Irving Berlin)

Nov. 1941-Feb. 1942 Film "Holiday Inn"

Martha Mears (dubbing for Marjorie Reynolds), Louise Beavers, Joan Arnold, Shelby Bacon, Orchestra directed by Robert Emmett Dolan

29 May 1942 Rec. DLA 3010-A

The Ken Darby Singers, John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra

26 Aug. 1942 Rad. Holiday Inn Radio Preview (broadcast date, previously transcribed)

             Betty Jane Rhodes, Bobby Dolan and his Orchestra

4 Nov. 1942 Rad.  “Mail Call” # 11

            Betty Jane Rhodes, AFRS Orchestra

11 Jan1943 Rad. Screen Guild Players' "Holiday Inn"

Dinah Shore, Chorus, Orchestra

11 Feb1943 Rad. “Kraft Music Hall”.

The Charioteers, the Music Maids, John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra

13 Feb1943 Rad. “Command Performance” 52

The Music Maids & Phil and the Charioteers, unknown Orchestra

14 Dec1944 Rad. Med. “Kraft Music Hall”.

Charles Henderson and the Kraft Choir, John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra

See also: Medley from "Holiday Inn"

Friday, August 11, 2023



Bing and Peggy Lee had a great working relationship. She appeared on Bing's show in the late 1940s, and when they were both at Decca in the 1950s they made som great records together. In Peggy's autobiography she remembered some great moments with Bing:

"For dinner he took me to one of San Francisco's great restaurants, during which I told him about my emotional experience with his movies, especially "Mississippi" when he sang "Down By The River". We then cruised all over that wonderful city until we found a pianist who could play the song in Bing's key, and he actually sang it to me at our table. Once again, all those years later, the tears rolled. A whole river of them....

Bing was also so protective of me. Once he found me standing rigid outside the studio at NBC and asked what he could do to help me. He was so sensitive to my early days of nerves and self-consciousness. This was just before air time on one of Bing's many Kraft programs. I managed to say something like: "When you introduce me, would you please not leave me out there on the stage alone? Would you stand where I can see your feet?" He agreed and always sort of casually leaned on a speaker or piano to give me the support and time I needed to learn about being at ease onstage.

You have to love a man like that. He offered everything-money, cars, his own blood, and even volunteered to personally babysit with our little daughter, Nicki, while David was so sick in the hospital.

The last time I saw Bing, we were both doing a benefit performance. It was beautiful, if brief. He called to me, "Hello, baby! So good to see you."

Thursday, July 27, 2023


It is just amazing how many records Bing Crosby made. It is amazing to me because Bing was more than just a recording star. He made movies and radio shows - which take up a lot of time. Here is what Bing was recording for Decca on July 27, 1940...

Date: 7/27/40
Location: Los Angeles, Calif
Label: DECCA (US)

Bing Crosby (voc), John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra (orc)
a. DLA2072-A Legend Of Old California (Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren) - 3:03

b. DLA2073-A Please (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger) - 3:02
HMV (UK) CD5389522 — ALL TIME GREATS: BING CROSBY - Disc 2 (2019)
READER'S DIGEST CDRDCD 921 — THE VERY BEST OF BING CROSBY (CD1 - It's Easy to Remember) (1995)

c. DLA2074-A You Are The One (Carroll Carroll, John Scott Trotter) - 2:45

d. DLA2075-A Prairieland Lullaby (Frank Loesser, Victor Young) - 3:05

Friday, July 21, 2023


Here is a review of the latest Road trip at the time - The Road To Rio. This was published in the NY Times on February 19, 1948...

With Bing Crosby and Bob Hope on the tramp again in "Road to Rio," recklessly scattering jokes and rescuing perennial girl friend Dorothy Lamour from dangerous hypnotic trances, there's fun to be had at the Paramount. Maybe this is not the funniest picture ever made; maybe it is not even quite as rewarding as some of those earlier journeys, but there are patches in this crazy quilt that are as good and, perhaps, even better than anything the boys have done before. 

They are traversing more of a rollercoaster highway than usual this time and so there are some tedious uphill pulls when the huffing and puffing is excessive and the results negligible. However, when they reach the top "Road to Rio" is irresistible.Hope reluctantly doing a highwire bicycle act and wrecking a carnival in the process, or being unceremoniously hung up as a side of ham in a ship's refrigerator, or blowing musical bubbles out of a trumpet in a Rio de Janeiro night club may sound silly in cold print, but it's the kind of stuff that gets laughs on the screen. 

And, naturally, Crosby, the smoothest straight man in the business today, is in there all the time getting situations started and feeding jokes to his pal when he doesn't actually steal the play by adding a snapper to a snapper.This mad caper is climaxed by a wild round of excitement at an ultra-lavish wedding party, when the boys bravely move in to rescue the dazed Miss Lamour from being duped into marriage by swindlers posing as friends. If this synopsis sounds sketchy, it's only because the story doesn't matter anyway. For the script merely serves as a means for getting a pair of impecunious musicians driven out of one state after another by irate husbands and boy friends until they are cornered, forced to stowaway on a Rio bound steamer and meet up with a beautiful senorita and her problems. All that matters really is that "Road to Rio" is fairly well loaded with laughs...

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Friday, July 7, 2023


At My Time of Life is a 1976 vinyl album recorded by Bing  for United Artists, mostly at Chappells Studios in London in February 1975. He was accompanied by Pete Moore and his Orchestra.

The songs from the album were included on a 3-CD set called Bing Crosby – The Complete United Artists Sessions issued by EMI Records (7243 59808 2 4) in 1997. This included several previously unreleased alternate takes and studio chat.

In January 1974, Crosby was seriously ill and after two weeks of tests, he underwent three and a half hours of major surgery. Two-fifths of his left lung and an abscess the size of a small orange were removed. The tumor was a rare fungus called nocardia. There were concerns initially that he would not be able to sing again and his recuperation took many months. Record producer, Ken Barnes, later heard that Bing was thinking of recording again and he quickly presented his credentials and eventually met Crosby on September 9, 1974 at the singer’s home. Arrangements were soon made for two albums to be made in London. Bing flew to London on February 18, 1975 and that afternoon visited the Chappells recording studio. He was shown the vocal booth where he would be singing but said that he did not want to work in that way. He wanted to be with the band and said, “I didn’t come seven thousand miles to sing to a pane of glass.” This worried sound engineer John Timperley who was concerned about separation problems because of the large orchestra which was to be used. Crosby was adamant however and, in the event, he successfully overcame the problems of recording in front of a full orchestra.

Over a period of eight days, Crosby, in six sessions, recorded twenty five tracks. Eleven of the tracks were issued on an LP called That's What Life Is All About. Thirteen, with the addition of the title song to be recorded in 1976, were issued on this album and the final recording was included with eleven others made in 1976 and issued on an LP called Beautiful Memories.

The UK magazine The Gramophone reviewed the album saying: "The arrival for review of “At My Time of Life” by Bing Crosby coincided with his outstanding triumph at the London Palladium heading a bill shared by members of his family and Rosemary Clooney…Crosby brings his special brand of affable authority to all fourteen numbers, aided and embellished by Pete Moore’s arrangements and orchestrations which incorporate some deft modern touches without jeopardizing the essential nostalgia of much of this material. The sympathetic and totally aware production work of Ken Barnes also asserts itself in a practical but unobtrusive fashion, and this album is a genuine piece of popular music history of inestimable value...

Sunday, June 4, 2023


 Here is a letter that Bing wrote late in life. Throughout his career he made time to not only reach out to other Hollywood celebrities but to his fans as well. This letter Bing wrote late in his life on November 11, 1975...

Monday, May 22, 2023


The cast of Mr. Music was excellent. Bing Crosby and Charles Coburn had good chemistry together, and a decade earlier they had appeared together as father and son in 1940’s Road to Singapore. Character actor Tom Ewell was underused in this film. He played the role of Bing’s stressed-out butler and caddy Cupcake. I would say that the one item that was getting tough to believe at this point of Bing’s life that a young girl like Nancy Olson would fall in love with such a much more mature man as Bing Crosby. They worked well together, and he appeared later with Nancy in the made for television musical High Tor in 1956. Maybe it is just me, but by 1950 I feel that Bing was too old to be wooing college girls in his movies. In his next movies he would be wooing Jane Wyman, which to me was much more believable. Mr. Music, for the minor Paramount musical it was, boasted a great cast of special guests like Peggy Lee, Dorothy Kirsten, The Merry Macs, Marge and Gower Champion, and last but not least Groucho Marx. Bing and Groucho were long time friends, and they sang a version of “Life Is So Peculiar”. One of the funniest lines in the film was said by Groucho Marx, and I wonder if he ad-libbed it, but he was appearing in Bing’s new play at the college to try to raise awareness for a new producer, and Groucho says “I’m here to investigate the student body. I hope I don’t lose my faculties.” For some reason, I always laughed at that, even as a young teenager watching this movie and not fully knowing the humor that was Groucho Marx!

What baffles me about the movie were the songs that were written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. They were catchy and enjoyable, and Bing was in near perfect voice when sang them, but none of the songs became big hits. Two songs written in for the movie, Bing never recorded. There was a title song “Mr. Music” that was only sung by a chorus and a song called “Wasn’t I There”, which Bing only sung a few lines of that he never recorded. Bing did record six of the songs for Decca Records and there were issued on a 78rpm titled ”Songs from Mr. Music”. My personal favorite song from the film was “Accidents Will Happen”. Bing sings this alone and again with Dorothy Kirsten. He also recorded two versions of this song. One version was a more of a slow solo ballad. The other recording was a duet between Bing and Kirsten that was truly dramatic and enjoyable. The song “Life Is So Peculiar” was probably the most successful song from the film, and Louis Armstrong recorded a nice version of it. Again, I think all the songs in the film were good, and they deserve to be remembered more than they are.

I enjoyed the film but the reviews at the time were a mixed bag:

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times in his review of December 21, 1950 wrote: "To brighten the Christmas season, our old friend, Bing Crosby, is in town in a role (and an entertainment) that fits him—and he it—like a glove. In Paramount’s Mr. Music, which came to the Paramount yesterday ... Mr. Music may not stack up with the best of the Crosby films, but it is certainly a contemporary achievement that the master may lean happily upon."

Variety concluded: "Despite a contrived story, the ingredients are sufficiently well mixed to make Mr. Music a box office winner”

I remember this movie fondly from my youth. My dad had it recorded on an old VHS tape, and before I had the recordings in my collection, I literally stuck a microphone to the television speaker and recorded the songs to my little portable cassette player. It is amazing how far my collection has come, but it would be fun to have those old cassettes tapes again. Not only did those amateur recordings I made include the soundtrack from the film, but probably my late father yelling or coughing in the background! Back to the film, Mr. Music is not Bing’s best film by any stretch of the imagination, but I really wish this film was released on DVD or Blu-Ray. There is a certain charm about the film. Even though Bing himself did not like the title of the film, because he thought it was too pretentious, Bing was Mr. Music for decades, and he continues to be for millions of fans everywhere...

MY RATING: 10 out of 10