No entertainer is more associated with Christmas than Bing
Crosby, who introduced Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. His recording of the song
remains the best-selling single of all time which, along with constant showings
of the 1954 movie White Christmas, keeps
the star in the public eye (and ear). His rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look
a Lot Like Christmas” has even made its way onto Billboard’s Top 100 chart this
month, currently resting at #71. A recent installment of PBS’ American Masters has reinforced interest
in all things Bing.
There is no shortage of new Crosby product, including a new
DVD collection from Universal called Bing
Crosby: The Silver Screen Collection, featuring 24 vintage titles, a DVD of
the American Masters show with a host
of bonus material. Four new CDs are available as well: an expanded 60th anniversary
version of Some Fine Old Chestnuts, a
selection of standards with Crosby and his longtime accompanist Buddy Cole, and a similar refreshing of Songs I Wish I Had
Sung the First Time Around, another 1950s Decca album has liner notes from
Der Bingle himself, explaining his choices of tunes associated with such stars
as Al Jolson, Rudy Vallee, and even Bob Hope. There is a soundtrack CD from American Masters and a new compilation
of Bing Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook
The best part,
for Crosby fans like me, is that the material is being presented with such
great care. All the music has been remastered from original source material
(which Bing owned and preserved) and sounds like it was recorded this morning.
My longtime friend Robert S. Bader serves as executive producer on these
projects and his perfectionism is evident in each release.
The same is
true for a fine new 5-CD boxed set from Mosaic Records featuring Bing’s
frequent singing partner Rosemary Clooney. This library of vocal gems, recorded
between 1955 and 1961, was also nicely preserved in the Crosby archives. You
can hear a sample at www.mosaicrecords.com.
I never tire
of listening to Bing Crosby, and it’s a pleasure to know that his legacy
endures through Christmas and beyond.