16/1/2019 1:15 am  #1

Total newbie question here...

Okay, I am not new to listening to Bing - have done that for many years.  I have some of his LPs and some CDs too.  Hardly a comprehensive collection but I do have some important releases.  The newbie part of this question stems from the fact that I have only recently been seriously listening and collecting.  Prior to this, Bing was, to me, just a guy who occasionally hing around the Rat Pack such as in Robin and the Seven Hoods, or a guy I played a lot at Christmas.  Now I am seeing a whole, full world of Bing that is before me.

So here is my (2-part) question:

Is there much unreleased material by Bing Crosby that is known to be stashed away in vaults somewhere?  And.... are there 'bootlegs' of Bing in the way that there exists a very active bootleg culture such as with Frank Sinatra and some other artists? 


16/1/2019 2:31 am  #2

Re: Total newbie question here...

Great question Peter.  I'm interested to hear from the experts on this one as well.  I know there is a ton of radio stuff, especially from the Philco show.  Many songs were performed on radio that he never recorded in the studio.  Im sure that is still an untapped goldmine!


16/1/2019 7:44 am  #3

Re: Total newbie question here...

PeterC and Jack Cleveland, you both ask very interesting questions.

The answer is a little complicated. 
Much radio material survives - some from as far back as the early 30s, and a great deal from the late 40s.
All of the regular radio shows (Philco, Chesterfield, GE and CBS) from the commencement of the Philco radio shows in 1948 also survive in good quality audio. 

Much of this has been released in some form either officially or unofficially, with the Crosby family responsible for covering nearly all the CBS material over the last few years, together with individual song tracks from earlier years.
Many of the complete radio shows have circulated among collectors but have usually only been released as single song tracks (though some LPs were unofficially issued of complete shows in the '70s and '80s), but you will realise that much has not. The range is vast.

There is quite a lot of material, literally "in the vaults" some of which has been released by the Crosby family in recent years but the precise extent is not known, and the suggestion has been made that some might yet have to be identified. The range is potentially wide - private recordings - alternative takes, discarded items etc. Issues of "regular" material from this source have frequently included such "lost" items as bonus tracks. 

You will learn a lot by browsing through the discography here, which lists many known items and the issues on CD (and a few LPs).
Some very early material has been issued on CD by ICC and I believe remains available. 

However, with the issue of the CD mentioned by Archiefit "On the Sentimental Side" there is no known substantial body of commercial studio recordings that has not been issued in some form.  
There are some known individual tracks that have not been issued officially. 

And then there are quite a few items in the form of fluffs that have seeped out into the collecting community. 

And that is before we get onto the subject of video.


Last edited by Richard Baker (16/1/2019 10:18 am)


16/1/2019 10:04 pm  #4

Re: Total newbie question here...

Indeed -- THE STATISTICS are stupendous!

Bing is right up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, who are possibly the only 2 major artists with more recorded material.  I think these 2 have more than Bing, but I am not 100% certain.

Having skimmed through the discography, 2 questions come to mind...

When was the last time that Bing recorded a song in a studio in any setting such as for his own, collaboration with someone else (such as a duet) or anything at all?  Was it in 1977 for Seasons or are there later recordings that are just not released?

And... when and where was Bing's last public musical performance?


     Thread Starter

17/1/2019 12:32 am  #5

Re: Total newbie question here...

The last stage performance was on Monday October 10, 1977, at the Conference Centre in Brighton, Sussex, England.

The last recording date for radio (songs later released on LP "The Final Chapter") 11 October 1977.
BBC Studios, Maida Vale, London, England.

If you wish to distinguish between recordings made for radio and those made solely for record release then there were studio sessions on 14th September for "Seasons" (at which some readings were also recorded) and 4th October at which two tracks were recorded for dubbing into an LP otherwise made at a live performance in Norway "Joe Bushkin Celebrates 100 Years of Recorded Sound". Again take a look at the Discography.

I believe Frank Sinatra recorded over 1500 songs, but the figure could be up to 1800, Bing around 2300. Methodology for either could be challenged depending on how such items as medleys and alternate takes are counted.

These figures do not include radio material where Bing is streets ahead. 

My Ella discography is laid out in a way not easily conducive to arriving at any total but I don't believe her figures are quite as high, though in her case such statistics are difficult to get at because many of her live performances and radio performances were recorded with an eye on potential record release. Most were never released but are included in the discography I have as if they were studio recordings.

I would comment though that unheard of or totally forgotten singers of the early era of recording leave these figures in the shade. Those singers spent all their time singing anonymously or under varying pseudonyms and had phenomenal output, with Henry Burr sometimes mentioned as having made as many as 12,000 records. 
Many of the dance band singers of the pre 1940 era spent their time accompanying numerous bands (many of which used varying identities), racking up very large figures.


17/1/2019 12:50 am  #6

Re: Total newbie question here...

Actually, your numbers do sound right now that I think of it.  And if correct, I cannot think of anyone who surpasses Crosby.  There are longer careers in terms of time-span, such as that of Tony Bennett who beats them all, but in terms of sheer volume of recorded music I think Bing has it.

     Thread Starter

22/1/2019 8:06 am  #7

Re: Total newbie question here...

PeterC has noted that Bing's recording statistics are are stupendous. As an Aussie, I'll throw in another statistic. In the first part of the 20th century, the Australian baritone Peter Dawson devoted much of his career to performing and recording in the United Kingdom. He is estimated to have recorded close to 2000 titles, many using more than two dozen pseudonyms. He recorded onto Edison cylinders, 78s and long-playing records.


22/1/2019 10:08 am  #8

Re: Total newbie question here...

Graham I think I read once that Peter had recorded more than Bing.
I'm in Australia now.


22/1/2019 2:14 pm  #9

Re: Total newbie question here...

I had never heard of Peter Dawson before.  I am sure this is the Peter Dawson you refer to:


I am sure there are a few other artists who have recorded more than Bing, Frank, Ella, and the others.  But I doubt any who have done so are of their stature.  But wow!  This Peter Dawson had quite the career.

     Thread Starter

25/1/2019 8:48 am  #10

Re: Total newbie question here...

I think that PetervDawson may have recorded a wider variety of songs/tunes than Bing because of the time period.


31/1/2019 4:44 am  #11

Re: Total newbie question here...

Since my contribution on 22nd, I've looked again at the notes which accompany a Decca 5-CD set issued a couple of years ago titled FROM MELBA TO SUTHERLAND. AUSTRALIAN SINGERS ON RECORD which includes seven tracks by Peter Dawson. The notes state that it is estimated that he made some 3500 recordings and to have sold some 14 million records between 1904 and 1954, of material ranging from opera and oratorio to popular ballads and music hall songs. (Yes, Ron, a greater variety than Bing.)


27/3/2020 11:16 am  #12

Re: Total newbie question here...

What a great thread! Thanks everyone.


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