It can be fairly said that any singer today owes a debt to Bing Crosby. The late vocalist was among the first performers to conversationally and intimately sing as an extension of speech; he also pioneered the technique of the microphone so a singer wouldn’t have to belt to the rafters. In his lifetime, Crosby was at the vanguard of recording techniques. He left behind over 2,000 commercial recordings, and introduced countless standards including the yearly radio perennial “White Christmas,” still the best-selling single of all time. Arguably the most influential of all popular singers, Crosby is being fêted in the coming months with four new compact disc releases - two deluxe reissues of original albums and two new compilations, all with previously unissued material - coming on November 25 from Bing Crosby Enterprises and Universal Music (UMe), plus choice DVD and BD releases, as well.
The Bing banquet arrives one week before the airing of PBS’ American Masters special Bing Crosby: Rediscovered. The film by director Robert Trachtenberg (American Masters’ Mel Brooks: Make a Noise) is narrated by Stanley Tucci, and features material from the Crosby family archives as well as interviews with the crooner’s wife Kathryn, daughter Mary, and sons Harry and Nathaniel, along with Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein, record producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman. Accordingly, the first release in the Crosby CD series is a soundtrack to accompany Rediscovered. The 22-track soundtrack features duets with Judy Garland (Irving Berlin’s “You’re Just in Love”), Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (Guys and Dolls’ “The Oldest Established”), Les Paul (“It’s Been a Long, Long Time”), Maurice Chevalier (“I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore/I Wish I Were in Love Again”), Louis Armstrong (Cole Porter’s “Now You Has Jazz”) and Crosby’s Road co-star, Bob Hope (“Put It There, Pal”). It also promises to premiere previously unissued recordings.
Rediscovered is joined by a new anthology, Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook. This compilation follows past releases dedicated to The Great American Songbook as a whole, the songs of Johnny Mercer, and songs associated with Frank Sinatra, and is drawn from familiar classics recorded by Crosby at Decca alongside rare and previously unissued recordings. This album features the first ever CD release of the posthumous 2012 Crosby duet with Michael Bublé on “White Christmas” as well as other duets with Les Paul, Connee Boswell, Eugenie Baird, Dick Powell, Trudy Erwin and Gary Crosby.
Two deluxe, newly-remastered reissues of vintage Decca albums round out the series as part of the Bing Crosby Archive Collection. Some Fine Old Chestnuts was Crosby’s second album for Decca, released in 1954 as a 10-inch LP with eight songs; the label later expanded the title to twelve songs for a 12-inch reissue. This 60th Anniversary Edition adds eleven previously unreleased songs for a total of 23 tracks; to the original group of chestnuts including “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “After You’ve Gone” and “Somebody Loves Me,” this edition adds never-before-released Crosby versions of “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine,” “Bright Eyes” and “Sometimes I’m Happy” with Helen O’Connell plus alternates of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “After You’ve Gone.”
Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around was Crosby’s fourth album for Decca. The 1956 collection featured twelve standards such as “My Blue Heaven,” “April Showers,” “Memories are Made of This” and “Thanks for the Memory.” This reissue is bolstered with ten bonus tracks, nine of which are previously unreleased including never-before-released Crosby versions of “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “You’ll Never Know,” “’Deed I Do,” “A Kiss to Build a Dream On,” and a duet of “Heart of My Heart” with The Four Aces.
That's not all coming up from Bing! Hit the jump for much more, including track listings and pre-order links!
These four Crosby CDs join Real Gone Music’s recently-announced Rosemary Clooney: In Songs from the Paramount Pictures Production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Expanded Edition) with Clooney’s original Columbia album of the Irving Berlin score plus seven bonus tracks from the Bing Crosby Archive – including a previously unissued Crosby/Clooney duet on “Silver Bells.” The Real Gone release, due on November 4, is the perfect complement to Paramount’s White Christmas: Diamond Anniversary Blu-ray edition of the 1956 musical film; among its bonuses is a 12-song CD featuring Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, with guest appearances by Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. Eight of the songs on this exclusive bonus CD are previously unreleased.
White Christmas joins Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection, a 13-DVD set arriving on November 11 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. This box set brings together 24 Crosby films including Going My Way and Holiday Inn, as well as the new documentary Bing Crosby: Rediscovered. See below for a complete list of films included in the set.
Collectors won’t want to miss out on any of these key Bing Crosby releases. You can peruse the track listings below and also place pre-orders now!
Bing Crosby, American Masters - Bing Crosby Rediscovered: The Soundtrack (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- I've Got A Pocketful of Dreams (rehearsal)
- Star Dust
- A Fine Romance (with Dixie Lee)
- Medley: Mississippi Mud / I Left My Sugar Standing in the Rain (with Harry Barris and Al Rinker)
- Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (outtake)
- San Fernando Valley
- You're Just in Love (with Judy Garland)
- Moonlight Becomes You
- Sweet Leilani
- Swinging on a Star
- Put it There, Pal (with Bob Hope)
- White Christmas
- It's Been a Long, Long Time (featuring Les Paul)
- Just One More Chance
- The Second Time Around
- The Oldest Established (with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra)
- Now You Has Jazz (with Louis Armstrong)
- Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
- Medley: I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore / I Wish I Were In Love Again (with Maurice Chevalier)
- Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)
- I Surrender Dear
Bing Crosby, Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- Alexander's Ragtime Band (with Connee Boswell)
- Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon
- When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'
- When I Lost You
- Tell Me Little Gypsy
- All By Myself
- Always (with Eugenie Baird)
- Let's Start the New Year Right
- Kate (Have I Come Too Early, Too Late?)
- Blue Skies (featuring Les Paul)
- I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
- I Got the Sun in the Morning
- Easter Parade (with Trudy Erwin)
- Some Sunny Day
- Call of the South (with Gary Crosby)
- Play a Simple Melody (with Dick Powell)
- There's No Business Like Show Business (with the Andrews Sisters and Dick Haymes)
- Puttin' on the Ritz
- A Man Chases a Girl (Until She Catches Him)
- The Song is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On)
- White Christmas (with Michael Buble) (previously unissued)
Bing Crosby, Some Fine Old Chestnuts: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 5508, 1954/expanded as DL 8374 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- Do You Ever Think of Me
- I Never Knew (That Roses Grew)
- Somebody Loves Me
- After You've Gone
- Sleepy Time Gal
- I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody)
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love
- In A Little Spanish Town
- Honeysuckle Rose
- Ol' Man River
- Painting the Clouds with Sunshine - Previously unissued
- Bright Eyes - Previously unissued
- Avalon Town - Previously unissued
- Sometimes I'm Happy (with Helen O'Connell) - Previously unissued
- I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Previously unissued
- Hallelujah - Previously unissued
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Rehearsals) - Previously unissued and never broadcast
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Previously unissued
- I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody) (take 2) - Previously unissued
- I Never Knew (That Roses Grew) - Previously unissued and never broadcast
- After You've Gone (take 2) - Previously unissued and never broadcast
Bing Crosby, Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around: Deluxe Edition (Decca DL 8352, 1956 – reissued Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- April Showers
- When My Baby Smiles at Me
- My Blue Heaven
- A Little Kiss Each Morning
- Prisoner of Love
- Ain't Misbehavin'
- Paper Doll
- This Love of Mine
- Thanks for the Memory
- Blues in the Night
- Mona Lisa
- Memories Are Made of This
- Thank Heaven For Little Girls - Previously unissued
- You'll Never Know - Previously unissued
- At Sundown - Previously unissued
- Cocktails for Two
- Way Down Yonder in New Orleans - Previously unissued
- Mandy Make Up Your Mind - Previously unissued
- Deed I Do - Previously unissued
- Lady of Spain - Previously unissued
- Heart of My Heart (with The Four Aces) - Previously unissued
- A Kiss to Build a Dream On - Previously unissued
Bing Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection (Universal, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
Includes DVDs of:
- College Humor (1933)
- We’re Not Dressing (1934)
- Here is My Heart (1934)
- Mississippi (1935)
- Rhythm on the Range (1936)
- Waikiki Wedding (1937)
- Double or Nothing (1937)
- Sing You Sinners (1938)
- East Side of Heaven (1939)
- Road to Singapore (1940)
- If I Had My Way (1940)
- Rhythm on the River (1940)
- Road to Zanzibar (1941)
- Birth of the Blues (1941)
- Holiday Inn (1942)
- Road to Morocco (1942)
- Going My Way (1944)
- Here Come the Waves (1944)
- Road to Utopia (1946)
- Blue Skies (1946)
- Welcome Stranger (1947)
- Variety Girl (1947)
- The Emperor Waltz (1948)
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949)
It's been 13 years since Gary Giddins published his book covering Bing's early years. I had assumed he'd write a second volume covering the later years, but nothing has appeared. Does anyone know if he's been working on a second volume?
Herb P. says
I've read that the book is finished but since sales of the first volume weren't so hot the publisher of the first passed and no other company has yet wanted to take it.
Thanks for the response, Herb. That's a shame.
Paul M. Mock says
FYI, not mentioned in the press release (most likely because it was from another source) UMe has released "Merry Christmas, Bing" in it's original 33 1/3 LP Decca form on a 180gm platter. Reports are that the mono sound (albeit digitally remastered) is very good!
Long story, but pursuant to your earlier contribution on the Crosby fan forum, regarding Verve Records 'Bing Sings Whilst...' album, could you possibly point me in the direction of Billy May's comments on Buddy Bregman's arranging ?
With all thanks,
Michael Buble? No!