Bing Crosby, the number-one singing sensation of the western world in the first half of the 20th Century, led the life of a wandering minstrel. Always on the road to somewhere, Crosby sired four sons during his first marriage and left them on the side of the road. He sang many songs, each one having its own distinctive voice that sounded exactly alike. No slouch, Crosby was privately a grouch.
Crosby was apparently capable of some of the most ingenious feats the world of music has ever seen, or so proclaims Wikipedia, which has his page listed in the top ten most important musical articles on the site. Only Elvis Presley - a rural musician from Mississippi - ranks ahead of him as an individual singer. In fact, if Wikipedia is to be believed, Crosby is so now and so retro that he's "Who?" again.
Mr. Crosby, as those who knew him called him not behind his back, devotedly pulled himself up from his bootshiners to excel at his profession. Whether tirelessly providing quality entertainment to the entire English-hearing world for several decades - in the process controlling America's culture like a cow-wrangler vying for top honors in the world's biggest rodeo - or enjoyingly taking a well-swung metaphoricallly-pleasing nine-iron to the heads of his first wife and their four emotionally crippled sons, Bing Crosby was always there when you needed him elsewhere.
Oh, the humanity, he acted too? Bing Crosby made two famous movies during the Second World War, "Going My Way" and "The Bells of St. Mary's". In both he pretended to be a priest advising young boys and leading many of them in gay choir-type singalongs. You just knew that was going to end badly for the Catholic church someday.
Crosby also made a series of very well-known movies with comedian Bob Hope, who he actually treated like a human being most of the time. These films were called "Road" pictures. No, not the "Easy Rider" kind of road picture, or those zombie ones where they crash in Bill Murray's house. These were slap and tickle funfests which had the two buddies traveling to Morocco, popping up in Egypt, going down to Rio, flying over to Hong Kong, and several other places where two men walking down the street holding hands and singing joyful show-like tunes was encouraged.
Let's see them try that today in Saudi Arabia or Russia.
What his Wikipedia fanboy article says about him
Harry Chadwick "Bing" Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was quite the American singer and actor! Whew, we wish we'd been there to see him! Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the musically important 20th century. He sold over a half-a-billion records! In the late 1940s Crosby's recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated by radio to recorded music (wtf!).
An applause getter, straw-hat wearer, and oddly handsome in a lanky corn-pone way, Bing Crosby was a multimedia star for 21 years, from 1934 to 1955. He then topped it off in '55 (going out a winner, unlike Michael Jordan) by recording the biggest selling song in history: White Christmas. In those 21 years Crosby led everyone else, hands down, in record sales, radio ratings, motion picture grosses, and accepting things given to him by women.
How did all of this happen? Like Ricky Gervais, he didn't know. Well, here at Wikipedia, we can hazard a guess. Crosby's early career coincided with both technical recording innovations and legal marijuana, which allowed him to develop a laid-back, intimate singing style. This style later influenced Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Dean Martin, and dozens of other major recording stars. In the Second World War - the second war to end all wars - Crosby did more than anyone else to uphold G.I. morale, except for those leggy pin-up gals and cigs. During his peak years, polls continuously declared Bing Crosby the "most admired man alive" (he deservedly held the title well after his death).
He was a techno-freak too. While in Europe performing during the "Big One" Crosby was introduced to the magic of "tape recording", which his Foundation later stole and patented. The company also developed recording equipment and sound techniques, such as the annoying laugh track. Crosby became the first performer to pre-record his own radio shows as well as to master his recordings onto magnetic tape, a giant leap-frog mother-may-I kind of step in the recording industry. He gave one of the first Ampex recorders to his buddy, musician Les Paul, which led directly to Paul's invention of multitrack recording (wtf!).
Wikipedia thusly proclaims that Bing Crosby did as much for his society as Mozart did for his. Crosby's unsunny disposition, however, quickly gave his first four sons hives, drove them to the dark-brew side, and built-into them, with straps and heavy things, the character they needed to succeed in a bitter fatherless world.
We here at Wikipedia sometimes wonder what Bing's father did to him?
A section written in 2005 and edited only by internet vandals ever since
Bong Crossboy, fuKIN gay. Bing Crowsy was chuck Hitler, fuckwad he was+ Hitler puked in gay tennisclothes. Your gay mom dide Corsby, and your gay dad boffed him in his holes. lol. Did you know hee'se the most
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Bing Crosby was a mean mudda
The one thing that most people who really knew Bing, or had the utter misfortune to be involved in his first marriage during the good times, realized was that he was a mean old sourpuss with as much real cornpone as Joey the Juke. Bing Crosby was so full of his self-importance then, just as Wikipedia is full of his self-importance now, that anyone who came between Crosby and a mirror and/or his beating-down strap were viciously yelled at in a softly-crooning smooth bass-baritone voice. Whenever Crosby sang White Christmas he didn't mean it. He once asked his first four sons to make an on-the-road picture with him. Turned out he meant taking a picture of them on a road as he waved good-bye. When he'd perform before sold-out audiences he'd sell them out. They say Crosby never met the day with a smile, gave the paperboy a warm greeting or a quarter at Christmas, or had his eggs served sunny-side-up. His first wife, while living with the most admired man in the world, drank herself to death.
The first wife
"Let me roam Let me roam through the forest lanes at night, don't fence me in. Lots of stand Lots of stand in the strawy plans tonight, don't fence me in," Crosby would sing to his wife, who at those very moments was contemplating how to end it all. Poison? A good old fashioned drowning or hanging? Bing would care about appearances, so maybe a tend towards....but no. Just hit the bottle. Hit it hard.
It's worse than Wikipedia thought. Bing's first wife died of "cancer", which is maybe what they called alcoholism in those days. But get this. In 1947 a movie was made based on her life. Are you sitting down? In a chair or in some kind of yoga position? Because...
...the films name was Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman, also called A Woman Destroyed. It's a drama which tells the story of a nightclub singer who marries a rising singer who falls into alcoholism when she gives up her own career. A woman destroyed?
Bing avoided showing his face in public after that one, taking a few days off to play golf and light up some doobies. But lucky for him A Woman Destroyed, just like all the other movies of the era, played for a couple of weeks and then was totally lost from the public eye.
Long after Bing's death, two of his first four sons, Lindsay and Dennis, committed suicide via shotgun after bouts with alcoholism. Jesus, man, who was this abusing asshole?
A guy I know who sells hash loves Bing Crosby...
...and well he should! Bing Crosby's 1954 recording of White Christmas has sold over 50 million copies - the most copies sold of any song in history. And, to top that off with a warm hat and a pint of toddy, White Christmas has been recorded by over 500 different artists. It used to be heard so often at Christmastime that you'd think Jesus Christ, an elf, or even Santa himself had written it (it was actually the elf, Irving Berlin).
So what happened, the guy who sells hash told me, is that Bing Crosby jumped out of his mother's womb with this smooooooth as silk voice, and eventually lulled the people of the western world into an epic monolithic smooooooth trance from which they spent much of the Second World War and the late 1940s - when his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated by radio to recorded music - and throughout most of the 1950s. The kids didn't start waking up until Elvis moved his hips and seduced the chicks, in that order, starting in about '55. Up until then, Bing ruled with a soft smooth fist. Let's give those Wikipedia fanboys a brief utterance here: "Crosby's chart numbers remain astonishing: 383 chart singles, including 41 No. 1 hits, and major hits every year between 1931 and 1957. Crosby had 24 separate popular singles in 1939 alone. He was America's most successful recording act of the 1930s and 1940s."
"If I had a nickel for every time a song of his played", my friend who sells hash told me, "I'd build a ship to Mars and call it Jersey."
You sure did, Bing!
Americans listened and listlessly acted as Bing Crosby lulled them into entertainment slumber. He taught Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and dozens of other goombas HowTo:Lull the Public Asleep. All those guys then sold the marks cheap stuff as Crosby practically created the post-war culture by bringing people to a place where they could accept low-quality dazzle without questioning it.
He could do this because by the late 1940s - and no, this can't be said enough - his recordings filled more than half of the hours allocated by radio to recorded music.
Crosby not only received top-billing on every show, he was the show.
Yeah, then came the horses
Elvis is out the gate like a shot and gains fast on the inside, passing Crosby on the turn like Bing was a deer in the headlights of a new Lexus. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis run by Crosby backwards, waving dust in his face and rocking the ground beneath him like a white Christmas gone bad. And then George Martin, bless the heart of this geniusman, comes barreling down the stretch by perfecting Les Paul's multi-track recording device - courtesy of Bing Crosby himself, thank you very much sir - which give Martin and The Beatles the capability to produce albums which then create a quantum leap in music every... year... for... five... flocking... years... in... a... row!!!, leaving Elvis sore, overweight, and watching from the infield.
All of these and other musical delights changed everything, from those hillbilly hips knocking Crosby off his 21-year old throne to the changes brought about by all these other guys and two or three women lapping Bing Crosby at least eight or nine times in the next 14 years.
During this time Crosby did some TV specials, raised thoroughbred horses, watched his sons drink heavily (glug a glug glug, four men in the tub), and put on the Ritz on the road to all of the most exclusive golf clubs of the western world. In fact, Crosby loved putting a tiny ball into a hole so much that he literally died on a lush 18th green in Spain. Bing Crosby's last act was grabbing his scorecard and penciling in a hole-in-one. "I gotta go out a winner, fellas", he said, and so he did. Then his son Gary walked over and changed it to a double-bogey 7.
What is Bing doing with himself these days?