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Der Bingle and the Rhythm Boys August 17, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jazz, Movies, Music, Swing.
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The Rhythm Boys

The Rhythm Boys — Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby (1903-1977), Harry Barris (1905-1962) and Al Rinker (1907-1982) — perform “So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds got together” from King Of Jazz (1930), an early Technicolor revue feature from Universal.

Would you have guessed that Crosby would become the star from these three performers — or that it would be Crosby’s drinking that broke up the group?


Some Rhythm Boys audio clips for which you’ll need RealPlayer:

  • The Rhythm Boys’s first hit, “Mississippi Mud“, with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and the great Bix Beiderbecke on cornet (political incorrectness alert …)

  • From 1930, the Rhythm Boys with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra perform the Kalmar & Ruby standard, “Three Little Words

  • The song originally written in 1929 for Maurice Chevalier by Leo Robin and Richard Whiting … “Louise

Did you know that Crosby was so popular among German soldiers in WWII, that he learned to speak enough of the language to make propaganda broadcasts? And so “der Bingle” was named.

So … whatever happened to Bing Crosby? Yeah, I know he died … but isn’t it funny how his reputation and fame seemed to evaporate with his passing? Crosby was the first true multi-media star — movies, records, radio, TV … and popular musicians of his own generation would have been more likely to cite him as an influence than, say, Frank Sinatra. Yet today Sinatra’s albums are best-sellers at Starbucks, but the only Crosby numbers that still sell records are “White Christmas” and his duet with David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy”. And I know about his son’s accusations of abuse, but a) noe of the other children have substantiated the charges, and b) even if it’s true, is it really that much worse than what Sinatra has been accused of?

The thing you have to understand about Bing Crosby is that he was the first hip white person born in the United States.

— Artie Shaw

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