Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sail Along Silv'ry Moon

Sail Along Silv'ry Moon
Key: F Major
Lyrics: Harry Tobias
Music: Percy Wenrich

If it weren't for Sammy Davis Jr. I might claim Bing Crosby as the most talented entertainer in history; he was definitely the most successful. At one point he led in record sales, movie grosses, television ratings, and radio ratings. He has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also the significant growth ring in the American pop music tree stump that delineates the beginning of the era of "crooning" with the end of the full throat belting that we witnessed in the Harry Von Tilzer era, the pitch perfect "performance" era where Opera and Theater and Pop music fused. Crosby is the original king crooner, his performance technique is casual but professional and for the first time a mainstream audience responded to the lazy approach that was accepted in western swing and cowboy songs. This was a style almost anyone could sing. Crosby sounds like your next door neighbor, except good. Until Crosby, a recording artist was required to be exceptionally good, there are no duds prior to 1930; everyone was a first class singer. Nobody in your neighborhood sounds like Charles Hart singing Harvest Moon, but many amateur singers sound like Bing Crosby, at least in their own minds while singing in the shower. And that's the important thing, Crosby is casual, he sings sitting down, stretched in a hammock, riding in a car. I imagine Charles Hart standing with perfect posture, his chest puffed out, his jaw open wide like he's on a ship that's sinking and he wants the world to hear him. But Bing Crosby could sing with a pipe in his mouth, his character's casual personality was recognizable, and that's something that hadn't yet been accepted. Ask anyone on the street to sing a song and they will probably try to sing like Bing Crosby. Among other things, Bing Crosby proved a singer could be casual and still get his point across. Eisenhower loyalists only have themselves to blame for the popularity of degenerates like Jack Kerouac and Miles Davis because Bing Crosby was cool before cool was cool and he soon became not cool enough.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.