Bing Crosby vs. Frank Sinatra -- contemporary stature.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Garbanzo, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. Jason W

    Jason W Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mill Valley, CA
    you can get some idea of the recording dates in this discography:

    http://www.jazzdiscography.com/Artists/Crosby/crosby1bDecca.html
     
  2. Garbanzo

    Garbanzo New Member Thread Starter

    Could we describe late-period Sinatra (say, from 1968 on) as an attempt to come to terms with the dominance of rock?
     
  3. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

  4. tolkev

    tolkev Rain Dog

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    You should check out the Mosaic Box of Crosby radio broadcasts from the fifties. The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) Fortunately for us he was an early investor in recording technology and loved golf. Rather then do them live daily, he realized he could record several shows in one session and spend the week on the golf course while they were being broadcast in fifteen minute episodes. They were then put in storage and when recently uncovered Mosaic released them all in one handy package. These are all intimate small group (mostly quartet) performances and Bing sounds fantastic.

    http://www.mosaicrecords.com/prodinfo.asp?number=245-MD-CD
     
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  5. Vincent Terranova

    Vincent Terranova Active Member

    I dig it. We all walk to beat of a different drummer. It makes life more interesting.
     
  6. Jason W

    Jason W Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mill Valley, CA
    I'd also add his early period, late 1920s, was not sedate. Bing went solo away from the Rhythm Boys at the turn of the decade to do his own radio work, which is when he really embraced the softer ballad style for the airwaves. it's important to keep in mind his jazz roots (see my clips above), a style which he kept up in rotation with the many other forms he recorded through the 1930s and beyond. i also love the crooner material, but i wish the hot stuff was more well-known in the culture today. i tried to curate a compilation with a record company about ten years ago to address this material, but the licensing cost was too high.
     
  7. Jason W

    Jason W Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mill Valley, CA
  8. Dimus

    Dimus Member

    Location:
    Cary, IL
    The PBS doc was great (and overdue). Glad they highlighted Bing's contributions to the technological advancement of sound recording and the impact that had on the industry. This is something that is very often overlooked (or, probably, most people don't even think about it...).

    I think you can draw a clear line from Jolson to Crosby to Sinatra to Presley to The Beatles in terms of these cultural touchstones that seem to occupy and almost unbelievable space in the collective consciousness. As time goes on they all will fade in their impact and relevance (but not in historical significance). Compared to artists/celebrities of today, Bing's almost universal influence and popularity, during his peak years, is something a lot of folks that weren't there at the time can't even comprehend.

    I think there are two big reasons why Bing is less regarded today: 1) the recording technology in the era when he was at this peak was not of the same fidelity as the artists that came after. Listening to those earliest recordings today ... it's not everyone's cup of tea. Some of these recordings sound simply ancient to the ears - another place and time in history. As I mentioned earlier - the advancement of the technology is something Bing himself helped move forward. Artists that followed after him all benefited from this. Sadly, many of his finest performances were recorded in an era before high fidelity tape/multi-track/etc... It's so hard to even conceive of recording to wax or cylinder (!?!) nowadays...
    2) I think all the scandal around his relationship with his first family (and son Gary, in particular) dealt a huge blow to his reputation - and he has never recovered from it. Like most everyone, many of our musical heroes had their flaws and demons - I just think the revelations about Bing's personal life (as exaggerated or taken out of context as they may have been) were so shockingly at odds with his public persona and almost reverential status, cultivated over decades, that it turned a lot of people off from him.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  9. Vincent Terranova

    Vincent Terranova Active Member

    I always like the 1957 version of Ol' Man River by Bing. it just swings a long. You're right the Jazz Bing is not expose to today's listeners and that's a real shame. Some really great cuts out there with Bing and top musicians at their peak.
     
  10. Garbanzo

    Garbanzo New Member Thread Starter

    "Hey Jude" seems like really lazy song-picking. According to Bing Magazine, it was producer Jimmy Bowen's idea, simply because it was the biggest hit of 1968. I could think of a dozen Beatles songs better suited to being covered by Crosby (or any other crooner of his ilk): "Yesterday," "When I'm Sixty-Four," "Here, There and Everywhere," "For No One," "In My Life," "Michelle," "Honey Pie," etc. But they might have been better advised to stick to Broadway when looking for contemporary material. Sinatra did show that a crooner could do all right with soft-rock material -- people like his versions of "Mrs. Robinson" and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life."
     
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  11. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    I remember reading that there are three artists suspected of selling 1,000,000,000 records worldwide and they are Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Of course, hard data for the first two is incomplete, thus the "suspected."

    Regardless, it's an impressive statement about his popularity. I would think most American music fans would guess the Fabs, many would correctly name Elvis, but pressed for a third candidate most would probably offer Frank Sinatra, Abba, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin or "that Greek singer," Nana Mouskouri before Bing Crosby.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
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  12. Captain Groovy

    Captain Groovy Senior Member

    Location:
    Freedonia, USA
    Last night when jamming on the pinball machine with the FLAC player in the earbuds came on Bing and Satch's "Gone Fishin'" - Bing: "Hey, I've got a piece of Gary..."

    And I remember this thread popped up.

    As a HUGE Bob Hope fan, I love Bing's duets most. Whether with Dorothy Lamour or Bob ("Chicago Style", "Put it There, Pal", "The Road to Morocco" and more) I naturally listen to Bing more. His voice was killer, his voice flowed so professionally, yet he continued to take the piss out of his own work on screen and on radio in that great, loose fashion.

    I have plenty of Bing from the Decca box set on my mixes and plenty from the Bob Hope duet comps...

    I've never fully "gotten" Sinatra - Dean Martin I get. Bobby Darin I get. Bing, I get - the sense of humor with his "class act" vocal stylings that could flow into an off-handed joke mixed perfectly with almost everyone he dueted with.

    But about contemporary popularity? My friend in the music business said he noticed a "resurgence" of Bing in the air about two weeks ago...

    I think what he did with Bowie for Xmas will cement him in our continuing public conscious - of everything he's done, I think this one-off is what will keep him relevant.

    Bob Dylan doing Frank Sinatra I hear? Um... okay? Don't you usually tribute songwriters? Anyway, I know little of that project if it's real.

    BTW, I try to separate the art from the creators' personal lives as neither of these "gentlemen" have a clean "record" in my book...

    Jeff
     
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  13. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

    I think that just has the session info along with what LP or CD they can be found. I was curious to see a list of original singles. (to see if there were indeed 700 of them)
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Yarmouth, ME
    I think their respective movie careers also factor into how their respective legacies have endured. Both were (and continue to be) massively popular for their film roles. However, it seems to me that Crosby's film roles typically made a point of incorporating his singing, whereas Sinatra had a number of film roles where he was acclaimed strictly for his dramatic portrayals and not his singing (From Here To Eternity, The Man With The Golden Arm, and The Manchurian Candidate come to mind.)
     
  15. rockerreds

    rockerreds Forum Resident

    I love them both but prefer Jack Jones to either.
     
  16. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Location:
    Allentown,pa.
    No doubt due to the Crosby American Masters PBS special,which aired Dec.2.Shows like this get mentions with many a TV lisitng recommendation column in print or online.Special repeats on many PBS stations Dec.26th,in time for the 1/2 price Christmas clearances!
     
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  17. Vincent Terranova

    Vincent Terranova Active Member

    worldwide sales comparing Singers from the 20-40 years to today is impossible. With electronic downloading of masters, music is available everywhere today. Many negative or positive masters had to be shipped by sea years ago. The masters would sit in England for 50 years and never see the light of day. For Crosby to be consider as one of three, indicates that U.S. sales were enormous. He did have time on his side also. People must realize that recording was really secondary for income, it was live performances that Bing concentrated on then. That all changed in the mid fifties with rock and roll with unbreakable 45rpm disc. Abba is a major worldwide seller for a few years. It seems that everyone needed an ABBA greatest hits. Thriller was also on everyone buying list ,regardless of individual taste of music. Mathis greatest hits was on Billboard charts forever. Zeppelin Two another must for everyone. Frank Sinatra must have doesn't compare ( No dig here, Quality is not linear with sales ). Only since patent expire in Europe where people can buy Sinatra on one disc with RCA,Columbia, Capitol and Reprise cuts together, These plus Duets makes Sinatra a big seller but still never a top three in my opinion.
     
  18. Vincent Terranova

    Vincent Terranova Active Member

    Footnote. many singers record sales in the 40's were sold under another name , especially if the singer was Jewish or the band was led by a Jewish person. This just shows indirectly how popular some singers were, that a country would still issue their music but without credit. Foe diehard collectors, seek out German/Russian/Chinese records with phony names attached. Makes for rare and interesting collections.
     
  19. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, NY, USA
    After the early 30's Crosby while he was on the radio and in the movies did NOT sing live unless it was for charity or to entertain the troops until the mid 70's. Much is made of Crosby's wealth but while Vegas offered a fortune to perform there he declined feeling that while he himself was a gambler God did not give him a voice to be used as a lure to get people to gamble in a casino.

    Sinatra, on the other hand, always performed live somewhere in the world.
     
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  20. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic

    I thought Bing was even hesitant to sing Christmas religiously oriented music out of concern that it was inappropriate for a popular singer. Clearly he had views which were rather old fashioned even by his own time's standards.
     
  21. What's Dino "biographer" Nick Tosches got to do with the subject of the OP's thread?
     
  22. Ronald Sarbo

    Ronald Sarbo Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, NY, USA
    Tosches among others theorize that Bing was the primary influence on Dean. Dean greatly influenced Elvis Presley. Sinatra's style had no influence on Elvis. Therefore Crosby was more of an influence on Rock and Roll than Frank.
     
  23. Yeah, super cool. As well as a wife and child beater. Two of his sons committed suicide. Gotta love the guy!
     
  24. Vincent Terranova

    Vincent Terranova Active Member

    absolutely right. Like I said in an earlier post, Bing, Dean and Elvis never took singing too serious. They knew that had a natural talent and were modest. Early Dean definitely had Bing in it, and Elvis mentions Dean's influence on him..
     
  25. I know all of that. I'm a huge Dean Martin fan and has read three biographies on him; I just don't see what it's got to do with the OP's thread -- unless I'm misinterpreting it?
     

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