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date: 21 September 2019

Crosby, Bing [Harry Lillis ]locked

  • Todd Decker

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[Harry Lillis ]

(b Tacoma, WA, May 3, 1903; d Madrid, Spain, Oct 14, 1977). American popular singer and actor. He quit Gonzaga College during his senior year in the hope of starting of a career in music. After teaming up with the pianist Al Rinker as Two Boys with a Piano: Singing Songs their own Way, he moved with Rinker to Los Angeles in 1926 and was soon hired by the bandleader paul Whiteman . Whiteman added Harry Barris to create a trio called the Rhythm Boys, who performed and recorded with Whiteman’s band and toured vaudeville theaters on their own. From 1930 to 1932 Crosby rode the vogue for crooners to initial success as a solo singer on record, radio, and film: he recorded hits like “I Surrender Dear” and “When the Blue of the Night” (his eventual theme song), sang live for a weekly radio show with the guitarist Eddie Lang, and starred in musical film shorts directed by Mack Sennett that captured Crosby’s easygoing, masculine persona. The key ingredients of Crosby’s career were already in place at this early date: overlapping work in several mass media formats centered on popular songs delivered in an effortless, casual, welcoming manner in Crosby’s mellow baritone. With various adjustments, Crosby sustained this combination through the 1950s and beyond with his shift to television....

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W. Friedwald: A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers (New York, 2010)