Crosby versus Sinatra

Vinny Terranova posted 06/21/05 07:50 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I always felt that Crosby could sing any type of music and any song regardless of how poor the song is. Sinatra couldn't and he felt uncomfortable, if the song was of low caliber. However Sinatra was able to get more out of a good song, than Crosby. What do you feel about my omment?
pat bonner posted 06/22/05 06:33 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
You're probably right, in my view, if you're talking sinatra's post 1960's years. However, Bing had it, hands down, in the 30's and 40's, good song or no.
Chuck K. posted 06/22/05 10:00 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In my opinion, Sinatra's best years, musically and vocally, with a few exceptions, were the 1950s. His tour of duty with Capitol records featuring first rate material (Cole Porter, etc) and arrangements by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Gordon Jenkins produced an extraordinarily high level of quality work. Frank focused his energies on concept albums which sold very well while Decca seemed to be largely content to re-issue compilations of Bing's 78s from the 30s and 50s.
Other than Le Bing and Some Fine Old Chestnuts (re-cycled radio tracks?) released in 1953, some new recordings for Bing- A Musical Autobiography in 1954, Songs I Wish I had Sung and Bings Sings Whilst Bregman Swings in 1956, and Bing With a Beat and New Tricks (more radio tracks?) in 1957. Bing's recording of new material on LP was really quite limited during this period. His most successful album was probably High Society - a sound track recording.
It wasn't until 1958 that Bing released one his best albums, Fancy Meeting You Here. Bing did some fine work in the 50s, but his output was more limited and it didn't seem to have the energy of his efforts in the 30s and 40s. By the time Bing started to really focus on the LP market in the early 60s, the public taste in music has started to change and Bing's efforts, some quite good ( Holiday in Europe, Bing and Satchmo, etc.) and some not so good (the sing along albums), did not find a large audience. The 1950s should have been one Bing's best decades, but his recording talents were were sadly under utilized during
this period. Sinatra, on the other hand, found his creative niche in the 1950s with the LP which allowed him to focus on a theme or mood rather than a single song. One can only wonder why Bing's musical efforts were allowed to drift during this period. It wasn't until the 1970s during the Ken Barnes period that Bing's real musical energies seemed to re-immerge producing a sustained quantity of high quality work.
BarryB posted 06/22/05 02:21 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Chuck K.
You're overlooking one of Bing's greatest albums, and very definitely a 'theme' album. I'm thinking of his "How the west was won" album. Sure, it's got Rosemary Clooney, some true western singers, Mormon choirs and a great book to go with it [in the original LP set], but it is Bing that ties it altogether and supplies some superb vocals - Shenandoah, Streets of Laredo, Hang me and many more, and was produced by his Project Records. An all-time favorite classic album to me.
Candace Scott posted 06/22/05 04:02 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I only discovered Sinatra in 1990. Before then I dismissed him and viewed him as grossly inferior to Bing, whom I had adored all my life. The problem was that I had only been exposed to Frank's Top 40 hits from the 60's and 70's; songs like "Strangers in the Night" (which he disliked), "Somethin' Stupid" and various other trifles.

Then I bought a three-disc compilation of Sinatra's Capitol Years and a four-disc sampling of Frank's Reprise years in 1990. I must say I was astounded at the quality of music and the man's ability to phrase a lyric. I became a Sinatra-convert and bought more than 50 of his CD's.

Comparisons between Bing and Frank are inevitable. In my view, Bing had the much better voice, hands down. But Sinatra is somehow the better singer because he infuses the song with such pathos, loneliness, longing or heartbreak. He was a genius with that, no doubt. I also much prefer his arrangements, orchestration and song selection. "I've Got You Under My Skin" is just a magical, perfect record.

Still, Bing remains my main man for all times and I prefer to listen to Crosby. For me he remains the most beautiful-sounding singer of the 20th century.
Joe McGrenra posted 06/22/05 07:30 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I just have to comment on this my two favorite singers. First of all, in my opinion no one today can touch either Bing or Frank. As others have said, I think Crosby had a greater range than Sinatra, but Sinatra'a range is not as limited as some think-he gets credit for the saloon, broken hearted songs, but he could also do other types like "New York, New York". Two of the last new songs he recorded ("The Girls I've Never Kissed" and "One To A Customer")show was he was still capable of as late as the 1980's are outstanding.
Mike O posted 06/23/05 01:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There have probably been many who were/are better singers than Bing, but I think Candace put her finger on it - he had the most wonderful voice, just the very model for what the voice of a male popular singer should be.
Chuck K. posted 06/23/05 04:52 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
BarryB, thanks for pointing out Bing's fine work on "How the West Was Won"- one of a just a couple albums by Bing that somehow have eluded me over the years. Released in 1959, it closed out a decade that I wish had produced more albums of similar quality by Bing.
I would like to echo Mike and Candace 's sentiments that Bing had a wonderful voice like no other. How fortunate we are to have the recorded works of his lifetime to savor and enjoy long after his passing.
Vinny Terranova posted 06/23/05 07:23 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
"Songs I wish I had sung" is one of my favorite Bing lps..I really enjoy Bing's version of This Love of Mine.

Crosby's "White Christmas" is better in Holiday inn than White Christmas movie, however I think Sinatra's reading (first capitol version) is a worthy contender to Bing and might surpass it for sheer beauty.

Overall Christmas cheer is best by Perry Como I.M.H.O.
Ronald Sarbo posted 06/23/05 09:11 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Personal opinions are one thing but factual error is another.

There is only ONE Capitol version of "White Christmas" by Sinatra which was arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.

There are 2 versions on Columbia as well as a V-Disc version.

Bing's recordings are like a panorama or an encylopedia of all types of popular songs prior to Rock and Roll.

Sinatra's body of work is more cohesive and for the most part unified by THEME.

Who had the more "beautiful" voice is a matter of opinion but Sinatra's "interpretive" style, which came about in response to Bing's "laid back" style, seems more MODERN to subsequent generations.

Glenn T. posted 06/23/05 10:16 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I have always maintained the difference between the styles of Bing and Frank can be heard when comparing the Crosby Album, Hey Jude, Hey Bing album with Sinatra's Cycles.They came out in the same time frame and unfortunately Bing's album just doesn't hold up.

And as much I like Bing I nearly fell of the chair laughing the first time I heard his version of Hey, Jude. (It later came out on one of those Celebrity compilations showing famous folks with bad versions of songs and I realized I wasn't alone in my assessment)

It's been well documented that Frank was able to reinvent himself over the years where as Bing stayed Bing. I don't think Bing felt he could make a change of style later on. Perhaps he didn't care. He was never driven to perform the way Frank was.

I think the other major difference between the two was that Sinatra was more outwardly emotional in both his private and public lives. Bing was not.

Let's face it both men had thier strengths and their weaknesses.

While I think of Bing as nostalgia I think of Frank as still being contemporary. I've been wondering how long I'll continue to feel that way about Sinatra.
Jon O. posted 06/23/05 11:55 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I can listen to The Newer Fella only when I'm in the right mood, and only for a finite amount of time. I can appreciate his body of work, but only enjoy his output from 1956-60 enough to own individual CDs from that epoch--a couple of compilations suffice for the rest. The earlier Columbia voice sounds too feminine and saccharine to my ears; the post-1960 Reprise voice too cocky and gruff and it gets on my nerves, what with the "ring-a-ding-ding" attitude and all. Millions love it, but it's just not for me. There are exceptions...September of My Years is, of course, a brilliant album. But I can honestly take or leave The Chairman's voice for the most part.

I can listen to Bing at any time, for any length of time. I listen to his music almost every day. He sounds comfortable in his voice and his voice makes me comfortable. You can sense his joy of singing for the sake of singing. When I was younger, emotional delivery was more important to me, but for many years now I've preferred the understated artfulness of Bing's delivery and the pureness of his voice, and it now seems right to me that he kept his emotions to himself. It's what men did. His voice is as adaptable to time of day, week, year, place, and situation as it is to the many musical genres he covered so convincingly and seemingly effortlessly. I like that in a voice.
Arne posted 06/24/05 03:28 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Glenn,...and you're saying Frank's "Cycles" album DOES hold up? SHEESH! it's the low point of Frank's record career, and I'm INCLUDING "Mama Will Bark". At least the "Hey Jude" album has some fun tracks on it, (sounding very much like Dino's Jimmy Bowen LPs, as I've noted elsewhere), and the only thing wrong with the title song is the "Pom Pom"s (VERY wrong, I must admit), and the tuned drums which follow, which are dated sounding now but actually sort of cutting edge at the time (I'd never heard anything like them before, and I listened to pop music and the radio constantly during those years).

"Cycles" features Sinatra in his "pandering" mode, trying to wedge his way into a culture and style and method of music-making that fit him like a Beatle haircut would have. I can barely listen to the songs from that album, and I'm a huge Sinatra fan. Frank had a nasty habit during these years of electing to record certain pop songs that he shouldn't have, then making fun of the material from within the recordings themselves: "Mrs. Robinson" and "Downtown", for example, and "Cycles'" track "Moody River" - If you don't have faith in the material, then for God's sake, DON'T RECORD IT, Frankie!

And might I suggest that part of the hilarity behind your first hearing of the "Hey Jude" track was due to the set-up: people were "prompted" to laugh at that which they are being told is a stupid record (by virtue of it's inclusion in one of these sanctimonious, snotty CD compilations). You know your own experience, of course, but I'm just suggesting the posibility that, had you heard the song in a different context, it might not have had the same effect (Then again, those "Pom Poms"...)
Ronald Sarbo posted 06/24/05 07:03 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
"Cycles" contains "The Chairman's" readings of "Little Green Apples", "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", "Wandering" as well as the title song. Yes; it holds up.

Sinatra and Crosby viewed themselves as "Popular" singers and recorded "contemporary" songs when possible.

They did not "retreat", like Ella or Mel Torme, into the realm of "Jazz Singing" when popular music changed.

They tried to stay in the game.

There was a time when all singers, including Sinatra, were judged relative to Bing.

Today they all judged, including Bing, relative to Sinatra.

BarryB posted 06/24/05 10:31 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I hope some of you remember the clever Hey Jude creation by Steven Lewis and featured a while ago as his audio selection; it was either The Beatles featuring Bing Crosby, or Bing Crosby acompanied by the Beatles. I have this on a CD-RW somewhere in my computer room; must get a proper index system set up so that I can pick these out quickly. Anyway, I thought it solved the "Pom, poms" part very nicely.
Vinny Terranova posted 06/24/05 04:38 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I enjoy Bing's movies (in total) more than Sinatra's movies. Although Sinatra had a few good pictures, Bing's movies were always a constant joy. Even in musicals, you didn't see it as a vehicle for Bing the singer. The Sinatra movies, seem to scream ,"Hey look at me ,I'm Sinatra" or they cast Sinatra as a brash know-it-all. The movie Pal Joey was I.M.H.O. , Sinatra's lowest point on screen and one of the most boring films of all time. Bing's acting didn't make you think of Bing, but of the story. Bing wins this round!
Auburn Sommer posted 06/24/05 06:05 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Is it unacceptable or somehow not enough, though to simply proclaim that both were very good at what they did. That both were true Giants in music, in film, and in many other mediums. Can we not be supportive of both? I wonder because often in this category it becomes simply a matter of opinion, no matter how many popularity statistics or facts are raised. It still comes down to your own personal opinion of who is better or who is better at what. It is true that Sinatra recognized Bing as a brilliant artist, and it is true that most of the public gives more recognition to Sinatra these days. And although I agree that oftentimes Bing gets overlooked, I don't begrudge the attention that's given to Sinatra. Both had a unique style and cannot be all things to all people. Someone somewhere probably doesn't even like either one.
Ronald Sarbo posted 06/24/05 06:46 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Auburn: I agree. It is human nature to compare but why do it?

Appreciate each for what gifts they "individually" brought to the table.

Vinny Terranova posted 06/24/05 07:10 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Auburn, this is the entertainment of discussion. The topic is Crosby vs Sinatra. It's only discussion and of course a person can enjoy many,many singers at the same time. They could also prefer one over another during their vast careers. The question is to stimulate the juices of internet discussion, whether it's a comparison or a detail synopsis of a recording. So, join in, and give your opinions. And Yes, it is acceptable to proclaim that both were very good at what they did. True it's opinion, but with a twist of fun!
Vinny Terranova posted 06/24/05 07:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sinatra's "Old Man River" is a gem and a favorite of mine! However ,I believe that at the time of it's release there was an outcry for a white person, dressed in a white suit ,to sing a song of slavery suffage.This could of affected sales or was it release on a 12" 78 instead of a 10 " 78 that affected sales..My father loved it, but he look at it as a great vocal from An Italian-american point of view.

We look at it as a "vocal", but I guess other people didn't see it that way.

I enjoy Bing's version with it's quick tempo pace, jazzy feel rendition. I often wondered if Bing caught any negative reviews about his version..
BarryB posted 06/24/05 08:50 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
White man, white suit, you forgot the part about standing on a pedestal. But that was all in the movie "'Til the clouds roll by" and all the whole verse to the song, which gives it its meaning [Here we all work... up to ..the stream that I long to cross], was left out. No, I was referring strictly to the 12-inch record in its totality; I listen to many hours of Bing every month, but I try to get to hear that song by FS a few times a year.
Bing did the song many times, and always differently, and always listenable, from his fast Whiteman recording [which hit number 1], through his slow versions in 1941, and again in 1945 [at the time of Sinatra's release], and his up-tempo radio version in 1954. That probably caused more surprise than criticism. I don't believe he sang it in a movie, but can you picture him singing it in a cardigan, with a pipe in his mouth? Would that be better or worse than a white suit for that song??
Glenn T. posted 06/25/05 11:55 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Arne, in regard to Hey Jude. I heard it first in album form not on the compilation album.

I saw a sealed copy of the album in a used bin and promptly bought it. At that time I had never heard of it and was happy to find something "new" of Bing's. So I was hearing it in the correct context. I'd like to know within context of the period how well the album did on it's release.

I like Bing (one of the reason's I visit this site) but not to the point of saintly adulation as some do here. He was a human being. He wasn't perfect. He had misjudgements like all of us. I think as a performer myself I am capable of seeing a miscue for what it is.

As to Mama Will Bark, perhaps Ron can correct me if I'm wrong, Sinatra was under contract at the time and had to record what was put in front of him. One of the reasons he finally had it with Columbia. When Bing made Hey Bing, Hey Jude, he was in a position to do what ever the heck he wanted to.

Judy - I realize your utter devotion to Bing is unshaking but this is an open forum is not? And therefore discussing the differences in style between Bing and anyone else should be welcome. I don't think anyone is being disrespectful.

The Crosby - Sinatra debate has been going on since the 30's and I'm sure and will continue to go on. I'm always curious to hear other's opinions and debate them. Doesn't mean I like Bing any less then I ever will. It's not a question of who's my favorite. I like them both equally but for different reasons.

BarryB - If comparisons are odious then what do you do when you shop? Just buy the first soap you come upon? Comparison's happen every day in big and small ways.
Arne posted 06/25/05 01:21 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Glenn, "Hey Jude - Hey Bing" broke into the Billboard top 200 pop album chart and stayed there for eight weeks. It was the most popular non-Christmas album Bing made during the 60s. I feel that this was due not necessarily to the quality of the album per se (although it was a well-produced, contemporary sounding album of a type that did well in those days), but more to the fact that Bing took the trouble to promote it on his TV shows of the time. It always used to gall me: When Frank did an album, he would plug it on his TV appearances. When Bing did an album with Count Basie in '72, you'd think he or his management would think to have Basie on his TV special to do a few of the tunes on the show..... Nope! No acknowledgement of the recording whatsoever, and this from the guy who virtually INVENTED mass-media cross-promotion in the 30s. The "Hey Jude" case was different, however, plenty of exposure on the "Hollywood Palace", and I think that's why the album did well.
Ronald Sarbo posted 06/25/05 03:10 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
"Mama Will Bark" was released at Mitch Miller's insistance.

In the late 40s Sinatra "covered" many of Bing's film songs like "Sunshine Cake", "Accident's Will Happen", "Life Is So Peculiar", and "If You Stub Your Toe On The Moon". These songs were "tailored" for Bing and his versions are superior.

"When Is Sometime" Is GREAT by Bing and Frank.
Sue Horn posted 06/26/05 07:58 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
BarryB -- So glad someone mentioned Steven's genious in remixing "Hey Jude". I love that new version of the song, and I'm glad I saved it to my hard drive.
BarryB posted 06/27/05 11:46 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sue, we all benefit from Steven's generous genius!
Dutch posted 07/11/05 07:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I have enjoyed reading all of these posts regarding "Sinatra-Bing." I absolutely love both singers and listen to their cd's from my collection often. IMHO, I think Bing's voice is more "soothing" than Sinatra's. For comparison' sake, I think Dean Martin's voice would have a closer resembelance (sp?) than Sinatra had in comparsion to Bing. Now re: the "Cycles" album from Frank, I have to admit I like that album very much. I agree with the earlier observations, that the 1950's is most certainly Frank's best decade but I tend to like better the 1960's/1970's Sinatra. Re: Movies. Again, while I certainly enjoy the works of both Sinatra and Bing, I have to say that I enjoy Bing's movies more than Sinatra's.
Donny Low posted 10/07/05 09:09 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
This seems to be one of those arguments we should all be thankful exists, two truly great talents in their own right. Rather than argue for one or the other let me ask this: Can anyone of todayís artists hold a candle to Bing and or Frank? Iíve got to admit Iím thinking of Michael Buble (keeping in mind he is still a very young man whoís potential is yet unknown), any thoughts?

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