Crosby or Sinatra? Who ruled in 1945?

Jon O. posted 05/27/05 11:45 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Glancing at the "'Last of the war classes' meets for 60th reunion" article in the "What's News" section, it seems the myth that Sinatra dominated the entertainment industry in the 1940s continues to be perpetuated. In the very first paragraph the author states that in 1945, "...Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, World War II was almost at an end, Frank Sinatra owned the radio airwaves, Detroit defeated the Chicago Cubs in the World Series..." At least she knows her Presidential and World Series history—but it's obvious she did absolutely no research before blindly repeating the Sinatra revisionist fantasy.

Need I even say here that it was Bing who not only "owned" the radio airwaves—drawing about one third of the U.S. population weekly—but virtually the entire entertainment industry as well in 1945? We all know about his chart success (a quick peek a Joel Whitburn's "Pop Memories, 1890-1954" reveals 16 chart hits and three #1's for Bing in '45; Sinatra was 12/0--that's right, zero #1 hits), his top box office status (Sinatra never reached #1, and didn’t regularly crack Quigley’s top ten until the mid-1950s), his ranking as the top morale-booster among GI's during WWII (according to a 1945 Yank Magazine poll). What else was there? What exactly did Sinatra dominate to garner the continuously misplaced accolade of The Entertainer of the Nineteen-Forties in the public’s collective unconscious of the last 30-odd years? Maybe the then-embryonic teenage market . . . but not much else.
Ronald Sarbo posted 05/27/05 12:51 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Of course Sinatra cannot match Bing's statistics in the 1940's.

But the "War Years" were also the years of Sinatra's RISE to fame just as the years of the "Great Depression" saw Bing's ascendancy.

The songs of loneliness and separation Sinatra sang during the war resonated with "young" people.

Sinatra was also "Top Male Vocalist" in Metronome and Downbeat during the war.

This is NOT Sinatra "Revisionist Fantasy".
Judy Schmid posted 05/27/05 01:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Ronald, with all due respect, he did NOT rule the airwaves in 1945. Jon was referencing that one comment.
Bob Handy posted 05/27/05 02:46 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jon, as one who lived through World War II, I agree with you one-hundred percent. For reasons that elude me completely, Bing Crosby has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the American entertainment world. (For those who don't live in the U.S. and may never have heard of Rodney Dangerfield, he was a comedian who built a reputation on complaining that he got no respect from anybody.)
Ronald Sarbo posted 05/27/05 04:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
That Bing was at "the top of his game" in the 1940s is indisputable.
Steve Carras posted 05/27/05 06:45 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
What's next? Sinatra the emblem of 9/11 America? Bing Crosby DESERVES repect. As Gary Giddins pointed out, he sang in more styles, pioneered magnetic tape and crooning; had hotties at his feet -- well, Rudy Vallee was the first -- made Irish popular, dominated movies, radio, recordings, etc.(see Jon O's post.)
Ronald Sarbo posted 05/27/05 07:32 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing in the 1940's was in his PRIME. He was #1 on radio, records and in the movies.

Bing had been relatively ALONE in the 1930's except for Russ Columbo until Russ died.

Sinatra's emergence in the early 40s started the "Battle Of The Baritones" and soon Dick Haymes and Perry Como entered the fray.

Fast forward to 1977 and Bing's passing.

From 1977-1998 Sinatra was ALONE.

Sinatra was alive to give concerts and make recordings.

He was more "visible" and was able to impress upon the public his contributions.

This was no "Plot" to revise history and obscure Bing's considerable contributions.

Ben Weaver posted 05/27/05 11:23 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I believe the so called "Battle Of The Baritones" was between Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo as set up by Paramount Theater publicists in the early 30's. Beside Russ Columbo I think Rudy Vallee also had a pretty good following in those early years.
I would have to differ with the idea that Sinatra was alone during the period after 1977. I would think Perry Como, Dean Martin, John Gary, Andy Williams, Barry Manilow, Ray Charles, Vic Damone, Jerry Vale,Paul Anka, Eddy Arnold,Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias, Al Martino, Glen Campbell,Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, and Roger Whittaker, to name just a few, who provided Frankie with some pretty good company.
Ronald Sarbo posted 05/28/05 08:18 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Rudy Vallee knew Bing would and did eclipse him.

When I say Sinatra was "alone" after 1977 I mean there was no one else left who could lay claim to being the "Greatest Singer Of The 20th Century".

Bing and Elvis were both gone.
Ben Weaver posted 05/28/05 10:45 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Ronald, if Sinatra became the "Greatest Singer Of The 20th Century" when Bing died who became the "Greatest Singer Of The 20th Century" when Sinatra died?
Ronald Sarbo posted 05/28/05 11:33 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I did not say that WHEN Bing died Sinatra ascended to the title.

A case can be made for Bing, Elvis, and Sinatra.

RCA/BMG have made their case for Elvis.

Capitol/EMI and Warner/Reprise have made their case for Sinatra.

Universal/MCA unfortunately have not yet made their case for Bing.

"Private" releases produced for "True Believers" do not make the case with the "General Public".

Jon O. posted 06/01/05 11:55 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
According to John McNicholas's excellent notes in The Chronological Bing Crosby (Jonzo), volume 38, Bing was named "Top Male Vocalist" in a Downbeat magazine poll in February of 1945.
eduardo posted 06/01/05 03:45 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I don't know if Downbeat poll it is good to this but Bing won in 39,40,44 and 45.
Sinatra won in 41,42,43,46,47,54,55,56,57,58,59,60,61,62,65 and 66.
Billy Eckstine won in 48,49,50,51 and 52.
Nat King Cole only in 53.
Ray Charles in 63,64,68 and 69.
SC posted 08/06/05 11:12 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
That Sinatra was "best vocalist" by the mags that Ronald Sarbo mentioned (DOWNBEAT and METRONAME) is not supririsng, given their snobbishness. Now if WOMAN's DAY or PARENST or BILLBOARD (or even better, the IRISH-CATHOLIC CHURCH magazine) had a poll, Bing would come up in 1945. Of course he made enough polls. Like Garth Brooks, Sinatra and these lesser lights, Bing WAS a young listener's idol.

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