Bing Crosby was the first true superstar of American multi-media. He was bigger than Elvis. Bigger than Sinatra. Bigger even than the Beatles. He sold millions and millions of records, had more #1 hits than anyone and his name was trusted over the President of the United States and the Pope.
And, oh yeah, he totally owned Christmas.
How is it possible that Bing Crosby could dominate one season of the year not only during his lifetime but also nearly 40 years since his passing? From the 1930’s — when he dominated radio, he performed on Christmas every year. Nearly every home had a radio.
In the 1940s he sang the #1 Christmas song of all time and performed it live on radio, with other artists and published on albums that were produced so many times he had to record a new master 3 years before the decade was over. Nearly every home had a record player.
In the 1940s and 1950s he took to acting — and won an Academy Award. Some of his films had Christmas themes. He also embraced the new medium of television. He host variety shows, appeared as a guest on hundreds of specials and hosted his own Christmas television special every year through the 1970s. By then every home had a television too.
For 50 years he was the voice everyone compared themselves to. And, like Santa Claus, he was there every Christmas.
Bing Crosby was much, much more than just a singer. He was an innovator. And believe it or not, he was one of the earliest sex symbols. He was every bit as edgy as Michael Jackson, just a showy as Elvis and more beloved than Madonna. And his talent reached across generations.
In this merry episode we explore the many Christmas contributions of the legendary Bing Crosby.
1 thought on “Bah, Bah, Bah Bing”
All true! If you grew up with his Christmas TV specials when you were little, you may find it hard to believe that he was a musical innovator and trendsetter, the most popular man in show business—and even a sex symbol! If you want to know more about Crosby, I highly recommend Gary Giddins’ excellent book, “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams,” which covers Bing’s life and career through 1940.