BOOKS, BIOGRAPHIES AND DISCOGRAPHIES

THIS IS PUBLISHED MATERIAL WHICH IS NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE

Over many years a great deal has been written about Bing, and the following is a very abbreviated listing covering some of the more important books. Few of those listed remain available, and it is obvious that in the case of reference material the older publications have been overtaken. 

DISCOGRAPHIES AND RELATED MATERIAL

"Alternate Bing Crosby" by Colin Pugh 1988 ICC. An analysis of the differences between the different takes of individual songs in a way which makes them (relatively) easy to identify. Regretfully other alternate takes have been discovered since Colin undertook his work so it can no longer be regarded as comprehensive. But he broke the ground and did much of the hard spadework. 

"Bing Crosby - A Discography, Radio Program List and Filmography" by Timothy A. Morgereth, published by McFarland & Company Inc 1987. Comprehensive listings of takes of the 78 rpm era, including discarded takes, personnel etc. and a listing of the main radio series to 1954, (though there are some errors), and of the films with personnel, plotlines and essential information

"Bing Crosby's Commercial Recordings", compiled by F. B. (Wig) Wiggins 2001. Updated and replaced by "The Definitive Bing Crosby Discography from 78s to CDs" 2014 by "Wig" Wiggins and Jim Reilly.  Both are comprehensive listings of all issued titles with performers and matrix numbers and including one CD on which each title may be found. Highly recommended as the most up to date paper based source for information as to the original recordings. Necessarily this format limits mention of alternative CD sources. The later version adds newly discovered alternate takes and takes account of a number of new issues on CD. Both were made available through International Club Crosby. 

"Bing - Just For The Record" compiled by Bert Bishop and John Bassett, 1980. ICC. A simplified chronological listing of all the commercial studio recordings known at the time (some alternates having been found since). (An ideal handy reference to take to record sales). 

"The Crosby Collection 1926-1977" by Fred Reynolds, published in five volumes, by the ICC, late 1990s. An excellent title by title commentary with clear critical analysis, and a breakdown - almost minute by minute - as to what can be heard, and which musicians are participating. Mr Reynolds does not pull his punches, and is ready to say when even the greatest make a mess of things. It is strongly recommended to anyone wanting to listen to Bing's recordings with an informed ear. The take references and the personnel listings are not as comprehensive as Morgereth, but more useful as the takes are limited to those actually circulated in some form and the key contributions of individual players are noted. In my view the most essential of all the
 reference
 works. 

"The Songs Of Bing Crosby On Compact Disc" compiled by Jim Reilly, 1996 
"The Songs Of Bing Crosby On Compact Disc Supplement 1" 1999. Alphabetical listing of songs plus the title of the compact disc upon which they have been issued. This has now become outdated but a number of the listed CDs remain available or appear on the used market and remains a useful though incomplete reference. 
 
"The Road to Bing Crosby" compiled by Derek Parkes, Fred Reynolds, Bob Roberts, Reg Davis, Geoff Milne, Charles Cowdry, Leslie Gaylor, Les Phythian and Ralph Harding
c 1957. 
To the best of my knowledge the first comprehensive attempt to list all Bing's recordings. A true discography, in four parts and in a limited and numbered edition.  

"The Road To Hollywood" by Fred Reynolds  John Joyce and Son, 
1971, 1973 and 1986
. (different editions). A detailed and comprehensive look at Bing's films, including unrealised projects.

"The Bing Crosby LP-Ography" by John Bassett, Colin Pugh, Ron Daniels, Ken Gray and Bert Bishop. ICC 1977.
Duplicated in A4 format, but a very comprehensive listing of LPs issued up to the time, showing song titles and many different label variants. Though the days of the LP were far from over, the bulk of the classic issues from Bing's peak activities are here.   

I here mention that during the 1980s there were several listings, in duplicated A4 format, of the various radio shows, compiled by Lionel Pairpoint and published by the ICC. As all of these have now been replicated on line at the "Bing" Magazine website, and updated there is no point in going into any detail here.

FILMS 

"Bing Crosby: An Illustrated History Of The Movies", by Barbara Bauer TBS, 1977. Many illustrations, though quite a slim paperback. One of a long series covering numerous film stars.

"The Films Of Bing Crosby" by Robert Bookbinder, Citadel Press 1977. A slightly more substantial hardback, many illustrations. Very good.


ANALYTICAL WORKS

"Going My Way" subtitled "Bing Crosby and American Culture" Edited by Ruth Prigozy and Walter Raubicheck, University of Rochester Press 2007. A series of essays contributed by many of the informed and knowledgeable and having it's origins a conference sponsored by Hofstra University in 2002. Contributors include Ken Barnes, Kathryn Crosby, Michael Feinstein, Gary Giddins, Malcolm Macfarlane,  F.W. Wiggins and many others to give a full, rounded, but serious analysis of Bing and his impact.

"Sinatra And The Great Song Stylists" by Ken Barnes,  Ian Allan, 1972. Essays on Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Doris Day and Tony Bennett and others as well as Bing, and their place and influence on American popular song.  

"Bing Crosby And The Bing Crosby Style" by J.T.H. Mize The Academy of American Music by Who Is Who in Music, 

1948. 

Included in my list because it is the earliest serious work known to me. Mize was at one time frequently quoted on matters of style, interpretation and the trends set in hand by Bing.


"The Rise Of The Crooners" by Michael R Pitts and Frank Hoffman, (Forward by Ian Whitcomb), 

Scarecrow Press, 2001. Deals with Gene Austin, Russ Columbo, Nick Lucas, Rudy Vallee and Johnny Marvin as well as Bing and deals with the  the historical trends and events that led to the emergence of the crooning style. It includes biographies of the subjects.


See also, as it partly resides in this section, "Bing Crosby - A Pocketful Of Dreams - The Early Years - 1903 - 1940" by Gary Giddins, otherwise below.
 

DIARY 
I place this book in a section of it's own. It might be regarded as a biography but it is something more, yet less, and certainly different. It's the facts without the anecdotes, the actions without the motivations. But what facts!  If the event or activity is not covered, Bing probably wasn't involved. 

"Bing Crosby, Day By Day" by Malcolm MacFarlane, 
The Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2001. This is precisely what it implies on the cover - a recital of Bing's daily public activities throughout his career - what he was recording. filming etc, where, and when, his trips, journeys, sporting activities, deal making and so on, very deeply researched. Material from this work appears to be relied on heavily by the Bing Crosby Facebook page on the internet. The work is also available on the internet at the "Bing" magazine website. Malcolm is the editor of "Bing" Magazine published three times a year by International Club Crosby and has jointly written distinguished biographies of Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney. 

BIOGRAPHIES

"Bing Crosby - A Pocketful Of Dreams - The Early Years - 1903-1940" by Gary Giddins, Little, Brown and Company, 2001. Giddins is a noted writer and commentator on jazz with a number of books to his credit. He has frequently participated in serious TV and radio documentaries on popular music and jazz oriented topics. His approach here combines informed musical analysis with classic biography.  A serious, deeply researched and analytical work, and in my estimation the essential one for the dedicated fan. The best work by some distance to combine the facts of Bing's life and career with comment and analysis from informed historical and musical perspectives. The next volume is anxiously awaited.  

"Call Me Lucky", by Bing himself, though apparently 'ghosted' by Pete Martin. 1950s and onwards in several editions and formats - hardback, paperback and Reader's Digest condensed versions. Reissued in 2001 by Da Capo Press.  A mostly light hearted series of anecdotes from Bing's life up to circa 1953.

"The Crosby Years" by Ken Barnes, St Martin's Press N.Y. 1980. Mr Barnes produced six of the last albums recorded by Bing during 1975-1977. He also produced the highly successful orchestral overdubbing of many titles that Bing had recorded for radio in the 1950s with a small instrumental group, and has been responsible for the digital restoration and issue on DVD or a number of Bing's films. This book contains a first hand account of those years plus a short biography with other interesting material from a professional with deep involvement in the music business.

"Bing Crosby: Crooner of The Century" by Richard Grudens. Celebrity Profiles Publishing, 2003. A straightforward account of Bing's life. Forward by Kathryn Crosby. 
 
"The One And Only Bing Crosby" by Bob Thomas Michael Joseph, 1977. A lightweight approach: a compendium of facts, numerous photos, and chapters on aspects of Bing's career.  Mr Thomas has written, compiled or collaborated on several like this, including one of Bob Hope. It is for the general reader to browse rather than the knowledgeable and dedicated fan, but it is a good example of it's type. 

Others I would mention and which follow a popularist style are -

"Bing" by Charles Thompson. W.H. Allen, 1975.

"Bing Crosby: The Illustrated Biography" by Michael Freedland, André Deutsch, 1998. 

"Bing Crosby" by Michael Freedland, Isis, 1999.  


FAMILY BIOGRAPHIES
I place these in a sub group of their own as they represent a more intimate portrait. 

"Bing And Other Things" by Kathryn Crosby. Meredith Press,1967. I have not seen this but feel it must be mentioned. Written of course some ten years before Bing's death.

"My Life With Bing" by Kathryn Crosby. Quartet Books, 1983.

"My First Years With Bing" by Kathryn Crosby. Collage Books, 2004.

"My Last Years With Bing" by Kathryn Crosby. Collage Books, 2002.

Kathryn gives an account of meeting, early courtship and family life with Bing. An intimate and homely portrait. 

"Bing Crosby: On The Road To Elko" by Carolyn Schneider.  Stephens Press, 2009Carolyn is a niece of Bing, (the daughter of Bing's sister Mary Rose) and here she writes on her memories and reports on interviews. "She journeys back to northern Nevada, meeting the local people who knew Bing, and picking up information at such places as the local diner and the Indian reservation". Bing was the honorary mayor of Elko.

"Me and Uncle Bing" by Carolyn Schneider Xlibris Corp, 2006. Carolyn's recount of her personal memories as a child and later of Bings' help in her career. Many photos.


Bing features in the biographies of many entertainment personalities, sometimes warranting extensive sections.

His role in advancing tape recordings and the use of pre - recorded radio shows has been covered extensively in the context of radio, electronics and recording. but usually in a much wider treatment.

A considerable number of magazine type specials were rushed out in the weeks following Bing's death but most concentrated on pictorial and anecdotal treatment.


There is one book that requires a place of it's own. 

"White Christmas - The Story Of A Song" by Jody Rosen, Fourth Estate an imprint of HarperCollins, 2002. Bing plays a part, but a large and important part, in this, the story of the conception, writing and popularisation of the biggest selling record and one so indelibly linked with his name.


I here mention, because they have achieved some notoriety, two other books which are not recommended, 

Elements within them have been shown to be untrue or distorted and Gary Crosby's assertions have been rebutted by members of his family. To a degree he disclaimed them before his own death but they have nevertheless achieved wide circulation and keep being resurrected. 

The books in question are: 

"Bing Crosby: The Hollow Man" by Donald Shepherd, Pinnacle Books, 1983 

"Going My Own Way" by Gary Crosby with Ross Firestone, Doubleday, 1983.