Singing Styles, Singing Influences

George posted 08/16/05 08:02 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
If one considers singers that were direct products of each other - musical descendants - is there any duo that approaches Bing and Perry Como for combined popular success?

For example, Sinatra and Matt Monro (or Bobby Darin)

or perhaps Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima

I'm referring to singing styles that are inextricably interwined (not 'influences' - like Jolson or Armstrong on Bing).

Curious to hear your opinions.
Tom K posted 08/16/05 08:23 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I would say there are many examples down through the years.Like the bosewell sisters and andrew sisters.Elvis and Conway Twitty or Pat Boone.The Beatles and the Monkees.To name a few I think I get the jist of what you mean George.
John Walton posted 08/17/05 04:17 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There are countless examples of singers who have been influenced, overtly or subliminally, by other singers. Some, usually not too successful, have been copyists; others have gone on to create their own styles, but always with some similarity to the originals.
What do people think about the following as the only four successful 'originals'in the field of crooning?
Bing (admitting an early Jolson influence)
Frank Sinatra (admitting an early Bing influence)
Mel Tormé (admitting an early Sinatra influence)
Nat King Cole
Couldn't it be said that all others derive their styles from one or more of the above?
Ronald Sarbo posted 08/17/05 08:30 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I would say Mel Torme was part of the generation directly influenced by Bing and later on by Frank.

Torme cites both of them in his book "My Singing Teachers".

However Mel Torme is NOT Sinatra-like the way Bobby Darin/Matt Monro/Vic Damone/Buddy Greco/Steve Lawrence/and Jack Jones are.

Mel Torme also heavily influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Joe Williams and other jazz vocalists who scatted.

I would say that Nat King Cole was also influenced by Bing and Frank.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/17/05 06:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Dean Martin and Tony Bennett have similar styles. Periodically I cannot tell the difference.
Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble'sound similar as well.
As for others named, in my opinion they may have been influenced...but they had their own style. As far as success goes I don't think anyone have gone as far as Bing. I hope this is what you were asking.
George posted 08/17/05 08:56 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
The question was whether any duo whose styles were as close as Bing and Perry's can approach them in combined success-
witness Whitburn's listing of Bing and Perry's 'chart" hits.

I guess another tandem might be Elvis and Dino (assuming
one buys the fact that Elvis idolized/emulated him).
Carmela posted 08/17/05 09:17 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
The Beatles and the Monkees, Elton John and Billy Joel.
Candace Scott posted 08/17/05 09:20 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It's funny, I don't think Elvis sounds like Dean at all in style. To me Elvis sounds like a white boy imitating black blues and early rock records. Dino, however, tried to sound identical to Bing, with some excellent results. I don't think Dean had innate musical gift Bing had, but he did have quite a beautiful voice. He's missing that certain rhythm and ability Bing effortlessly produced.

As for Perry, I love him to death, but I can't help repeating the old joke from the 40's, "Perry Como has a great voice... too bad it's in Bing Crosby's throat."
Jon O. posted 08/17/05 09:28 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Listen to Elvis' "straight" ballads. They're very Dean-like. He acknowledged that he was a big fan.

As for the Monkees, they auditioned and were hand picked for a TV show that was conceived specifically to capitalize on the Beatles' success in "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help". Most of their hit songs were written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who consciously emulated Lennon and McCartney (listen to "Paperback Writer", then listen to "Last Train to Clarksville"). Not that there's anything wrong with that...but does such a blatantly manufactured entity "count"?

BTW, I used to loved that show!
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/17/05 10:28 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I find myself in continuous agreement with Candace. I don't think Elvis reminds me of Dino. Carmela, I think you are right about Elton and Billy. They both have had great success and have the same style.
Ronald Sarbo posted 08/18/05 07:35 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Elvis was very influenced by Dean Martin. He also loved Mario Lanza.
Ron Field posted 08/18/05 12:00 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There was the time that Bing heard "Summer Wind" on the wireless and thought it was FS, but Kathryn told him it was Johnny Mercer.
Ron Field
David Robbins posted 08/18/05 12:40 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Naturally, you're not likely to hear a similarity among Bing, Dean and Elvis while listening to "Jailhouse Rock", but listen to "Love Me Tender" or "Blue Hawaii" and the similarity is obvious. It all started with Bing. Bing was the guy who experimented with slurring notes. Dean took it to the nth power and Perry was more influenced by the Crosby head voice but didn't slur as much. I enjoyed the discussion the other day about Eddie Fisher. About all I remember about Eddie Fisher was the way he sold Coca Cola on his show. I was about six and and my folks didn't let me have coca cola very often so I was always impressed that Eddie Fisher had a big ice chest full of coca colas. I can't remember anything special about his voice. I wonder if he even really wrote either of his books. It's funny I remember when Gary Crosby's book, "Going My Own Way," came out, I heard Gary Crosby interviewed on the radio a few times. He really downplayed the sensational parts of his books almost like it was news to him. Interviewers would ask him, "Did your father really beat you with a belt until you bled?" Gary would answer to the affect "....Oh it wasn't really so bad as that. You know how it was with old guys from his generation. You ever try to get close to one of those old guys? He just raised us the way he was raised ... it was the only way he knew how. He probably did his best." Then later I read Gary Giddins say he interviewed Gary Crosby and Gary didn't seem to remember what he wrote in the book. I'm wondering if he signed off on something he didn't even read. It's almost like he said, "yeah, yeah, whatever, just give me the money and show me where to sign." He may have had deep regrets later but what could he do after the fact? I could be way off base on this but I've already gotten way off the topic of Bing vs. Perry vs. ? but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Gary Crosby not only didn't write the book but that he didn't even read it.
Jim Kukura posted 08/18/05 01:41 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Since Bing is (hands down) the most popular recording artist of all time, pairing Bing with almost anyone should be able to outdistance any other pairing of vocalists. But with Perry as his partner, I can't imagine any other pairing even remotely considered a challange.
Candace Scott posted 08/18/05 02:45 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I am thoroughly familiar with all of Elvis' ballads and have most of his work from 1956-1962 on CD. I still don't think he sounds like Dean. I'm not denying they share the same baritone, but in style they are dissimilar. Pat Boone's style is much more like Bing's than Elvis is like Dino. I am not saying Elvis didn't admire Dean but their styles are utterly dissimilar IMHO. I love them both and appreciate their music, but Elvis forged his own identity, separate from Dino. Again, just my .02 cents.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/18/05 03:26 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Elvis sounds more blues/rock to me. I heard that his greatest influences were blues bar singers from where he was brought up. Like Candace was saying, he may have been influenced or maybe a fan...but he was in a different catagory altogether than Dean. It just goes to show how people view things differently than others.
I still go along with the Elton and Billy comparison as the best one.
Elvis was King of rock and roll.
Bing was King of crooning. None have come close to either in their catagories as far as I am concerned.
Jon O. posted 08/18/05 03:44 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
No, Elvis doesn't SOUND like Dean, but you can certainly hear Dean-like elements Elvis borrowed from him in, say, "Young and Beautiful", from 1957. Of course Elvis developed his own syle, separate from Dean, just as Dean developed his own style, separate from Bing. Nevertheless, the influence is audibly there.

Elvis was influenced by many types of music, from the Gospel songs he sang in church as a kid, to the RandB and Blues, or "race", records (as they were then called) he heard on the Southern radio stations, to the Country and Western and Country Swing music he also heard growing up, to Dean Martin's crooning. Yes, he was in a different category than Dean...Rock and Roll, which many claim Elvis "invented" with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in 1954, was derived from ALL of the above.
Tom K posted 08/18/05 04:26 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I remember hearing old Matt Dennis records and remember how he supposedly influenced Sinatra. Matt im told coached a the very young Sinatra.This Pre Dated the Harry James tenure.So who started that brand of crooning?
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/18/05 06:47 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jon, I knew all of that as well, my parents grew up listening to Elvis and know all about him. My mom particularly likes the fact that he sang gospel. I like Dean, but I just can't hear the influence through Elvis' music.
I think Dean falls into the same rank as Perry and Tony. That's only my judgment though.
Jon O. posted 08/18/05 07:17 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I hope I didn't come across as though I were talking down to you, Cheryl. That certainly wasn't my intention. Just wanted to point out that Elvis (not unlike Bing) absorbed aspects of many varied forms of music, one of which was Dino's brand of crooning.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/18/05 08:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Not at all Jon! You were just stating what you know, how were you to know what information I have. No worries!
I was thinking earlier...what about Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis or Nat King Cole. Do you think they rank together?
Arne posted 08/19/05 11:39 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I don't know how anyone can listen to an Elvis ballad such as, say, "Puppet On A String" and NOT hear the Martin influence. Especially when, as Jon and a few others have stated heareabouts, Presley's acknowledged admiration for Martin has become fairly common knowledge by now.
- the mike technique, vibrato, phrasing, etc.
...Emphasising: This is NOT in regards to Elvis' rock, RandB, belt-out up-tempo stylings, JUST his pop ballads.
John Walton posted 08/19/05 04:29 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In my earlier posting when I named my four 'originals', I missed out Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis jnr because I don't think I've ever classified them as 'crooners'. Certainly, they were great musicians. In my view, Sammy Davis incorporated jazz and blues into a style bordering on the operatic, while Louis Armstrong was a sublime horn player who, when he sang, capitalised on his jazz phrasing and exquisite feel for a song. But crooners? Maybe. Depends on your parameters, I suppose. One thing is certain - they undoubtedly brought shoals of originality to their work.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/19/05 04:36 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Arne, the best explanation that I could give you is that I enjoy Dean's music, but I am not partial to Elvis. If I had heard even a little bit of Dean in Elvis I may have taken a liking to his music.
My 58 year old father agrees with me that he cannot hear any of Dean's influence through Elvis. We just do not hear it coming through any of his songs like you can Arne. Rock-Blues-Southern influences...Yes.
Harley posted 08/20/05 04:06 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Wow, I've always heard a STRONG Martin influence on Presley's singing. Whilst I'm not a huge fan of either, and more partial to Martin, to me, the similarities are obvious. I'm not talking about what KIND of singer each is (rock, pop, whatever) but rather how each singer deals with his respective approach to vocalizing.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/20/05 08:48 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I always thought Elvis took a bit of all and made his own sound. To me he did what Hank Williams JR. did for country and western music. That's what made him an icon. What I am trying to say is that Elvis had his own uniqueness about him in creating his OWN sound.
Jon O. posted 08/22/05 09:35 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

I'll try one more time. No one is saying Elvis didn't create his own sound....but it was based on many different "sounds", one of which was Dean Martin's.

Peter Guralnick, who is to Elvis what Gary Giddins is to Bing, has this to say in volume one of his Elvis bio, "Last Train to Memphis":
"With (Elvis' recording of) 'I Don't Care If the Sun don't Shine', an even more unlikely transformation took place . . . (I)t was popularized in 1950 by Patti Page and by Dean Martin in conjunction with Paul Weston and his Dixie Eight. The rhythmic approach couldn't have been more different, but it was Martin's version on which Elvis' is clearly based . . . it is Martin's lazily insouciant spirit that comes through . . . 'That's what (Elvis) heard in Dean', said (producer of the session, Sam) Phillips, who was well aware of Martin's influence, 'that little bit of mischievousness that he had in his soul when he cut up a little bit--[that's why] he loved Dean Martin's singing.'"
(pp. 132-133)
Ronald Sarbo posted 08/23/05 10:00 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Let us not forget Bing's great influence on Elvis. Especially on songs like "Blue Hawaii" and "Harbor Lights".
Lee posted 08/23/05 02:55 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
For an obvious Dean Martin influence on swivel hips, just listen to Presley's version of "It's Now Or Never" a song Dean recorded earlier in almost the same way.
Arne posted 08/23/05 05:44 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
....Except when Dean cut it, it was titled "There's No Tomorrow", originally a hit for Tony Martin. Originally it was called "O Solo Mio", and Bing recorded it under that title for one of his "sing-along" LPs.
Candace Scott posted 08/25/05 07:16 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In my view, Dean Martin's singing is blatantly a copy of Bing's singing. His phrasing, intonations, "ad libs" and everything about his singing is extremely derivative of Bing. This doesn't diminish Dino to me. He had a great voice, charisma, he was darling and he was unique even though he copied Bing's style lock, stock and barrel. Perry did the same thing, but Perry just wasn't born with the type of voice Dean had which just innately sounded more like Bing's voice.

Elvis and Dean sounded similar, sure. But I can't imagine listening to an Elvis record and thinking of Dean. Elvis entire influence was predominately black R and B singers, as he's stated over and over. His rhythm, his cadence, his entire persona was totally not like Dean Martin. Though his ballads may have sounded like Dean, his style was always radically different. However, his style was extremely similar to Bing, thus my contention Dean sounded like Crosby and its unmistakable. Elvis sounded like no one before or since-- he forged his own unique style based not on Dino but on black performers.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/26/05 12:31 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Jon O., Elvis was better at making his own sound from more influences mixed together than I thought. When all of you had insisted upon Dean Martin's influence I thought to myself, a fan sure... but sound? I read up on this just to be sure because this has not come to my attention before you all have claimed and I have not heard anyone talk about it on television or elsewhere. I read an article in a web site that said that Dean's influence on Elvis had not been credited when it should have. Elvis had admired him so much that he apparently sung a tribute song to him in Vegas.
I listened to Elvis's rendition of 'It's Now or Never' after what you have told me and now I can hear it. I would have never pieced that together before. I would never have thought of Dean Martin as being a part of his style. You have proven me wrong and I retract all I have wrote before.
Carmela, I have to agree with Bing's influence on Martin and think that he may have been an influence on Tony Bennett as well (correct me if I am wrong). When it comes to the crooner type of style the first person that comes to my mind is Bing, who I think started it all or at least turned up the heat for all who may have came before him and a standard to live up to by those who came after. In my mind Bing was what they all tried to replicate and couldn't.
Jon O. posted 08/26/05 01:49 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly

I was caught off-balance when I first read about Dean's influence on Elvis too, and like you I was suspicious of what seemed to me at the time to be the farfetched claim that Elvis, the rebel who put Rock and Roll on the map, could have admired—much less emulated—the smooth, devil-may-care troubadour Dean. So don't feel bad. But now when I listen to Elvis' ballads I can't help but hear echoes of Dean—they're definitely there. Now if we can just get Candace to come around!

As for Bing's influence on Dino, that's a given. Martin acknowledged it on a number of occasions . . . and one of his first recordings was a song called, "If I Could Sing Like Bing". How's that for a tribute? Nick Tosches, in his biography of Dean Martin, wrote that "every singer who walks up to a microphone has to pass through Bing Crosby’s shadow to get there". Tony Bennett has also acknowledged his own debt to Bing, even though his style seems more directly derived from Sinatra's.
Lee posted 08/26/05 08:06 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly No E-mail no email address given
I hate to keep having to put credit where credit's due, but I was the one who brought up the song, "It's Now or Never" and it's obvious tip of the hat to Dean's "There's No Tomorrow". But I can not agree that Dean's singing was a total copy of Bing's. Sure Dean had Bing's basic attitude, but Dean carried it a couple steps forward, sometimes you got the feeling Dean really didn't care whether the song sounded good or not, he was just having a good time singing it. Where Bing was relaxed in his singing style, you still knew that if the song didn't sound good, he'd do it again. If Dean may have not done it perfectly, I think it was good enough for him. I have 3 favorite all time singers, Bing, Dean, and Al Jolson. I love listening to Dean, so my comments here are not meant to be a put-down of Dean, I really like him and his style. And I'm sure Dean, down deep, did really care about the music.
Cheryl Davenport posted 08/26/05 08:30 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Lee, I didn't say that you were not the first to bring the song up, I just said that I listened to it again because it was mentioned and I was listening for the influence this time around because I was not listening for it prior. Pat on the back to you for bringing it forward. Also I did not say that Dean was not great because he is my second favourite (after Bing) as far as singers go, but Bing's influence on him and others is unmistakable. He set the calibor high which made it very hard for others to top.
Lee posted 08/26/05 09:43 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sounds like we have here a failure to communicate. You had thanked someone else for bringing up the song, and I was pointing out it was I who mentioned the song. Though, of course, it was all others who contributed everything else. Mine was just the song suggestion. Our second, communication failure comes when you think I was referring to your comment on Dean, actually I was responding to what Candace said about Dean being a "blatant" copy of Bing. That is what I disagree with, not your comments. Third, I'm glad anytime to talk Bing and Dean and I hope there's no offense taken, after all, it's just opinions here, no rights and wrongs.
Jon O. posted 08/26/05 10:33 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Sorry Lee, I meant to point out in my earlier response that you were the one who brought up "It's Now Or Never", but once I got rolling I guess it slipped my mind. Probably because I was up way past my bedtime.
Arne posted 08/26/05 02:56 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Lee, your mention of Jolson brings up one important point in the Bing-Dean debate.... his tremendous influence on Dino. Martin's style is essentially composed of: A: The Crosby influence...... B:The neopolitan-folk influence..... C: The Jolson influence! - There are times when Dean sounds more Jolie than Bing to me. While the Crosby influence is, at all times, pervasive, Dean appears to be actually doing an IMPRESSION of Jolie during some songs. In addition to the three influences I've mentioned above, there are, of course, other strains flowing through the Martin style.... He obviously listened to Buddy Clark (also a Crosby sound-alike, but with certain unique mannerisms that crept into Dean's style as well), and Dean also internalized a touch of the RandB stylings of some of the late-40s, early 50s singers as well (Kay Starr, Frainkie Laine, etc). In addition to all of this, Greg Garrison, Dean's producer of many years, stated that Dean credited Harry Mills (Mills Bros.) with being a huge influence as well. I must admit that, try as I might, I don't hear this. But, if Dean said it, it must be so!

RE: Dean, Elvis: I mentioned "Puppet On A String" in a previous post. When I first heard this Presley hit in '65, I was struck by how much like Dean Martin it sounded. It wasn't until many years later I read of Elvis' interest in Dean. By that time, I'd heard the similarities between the two in many other records.

Candace, Although you are still officially "holding out" for some reason, it seems as though you've somewhat accepted the notion put forth here regarding Dean and Elvis. In your recent post you've admitted that "Elvis and Dean sounded similar, sure".... and that "his ballads may have sounded like Dean..." - That's all we're talking about! Welcome to the club! - of such things as those you've lightly mentioned, a theory of "influence" is formed.

The line of influence is apparent in the ballads, as you've said, not the rockers, of course.

Incidentally, it's a huge, glaring error of history to say that a performer like Elvis was influenced solely by black RandB artists. For every Arthur Crudup who fired Presley's soul, there were several white country artists who came before, in a world where that was the essential music that Elvis grew up with. As Jon O. has stated elsewhere in this thread, it wasn't till Sam Phillips thought to emphasize Presley's country and white gospel roots with a RandB approach that the "Big Bang" occured. In the meantime, Dean is someone who would've been inescapable in Presley's world in the early 50s. He was on TV, he was in the movies, he was on radio. As one half of the team of Martin and Lewis, Dean Martin was one of the biggest stars in the world in the late 40s and early 50s. Surely it's not hard to understand how this musical youngster despite his interest in country and western music and growing interest in RandB, could also have begun a worshipful interest in the handsome, successful Hollywood singer, who then provided a fantasy-role model?
John Walton posted 08/26/05 03:32 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I think it was Jerry Lee Lewis who accused Elvis of sounding like Bing Crosby - as an illustration of how he was deserting his rock and country roots. But has anyone mentioned the influence on Elvis of Jim Nabbie (or the earlier tenor, Bill Kenny) of ‘Ink Spots’ fame? This influence is very noticeable on 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?'
Jon O. posted 08/26/05 04:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Wasn't "Puppet on a String" featured in the movie "Girl Happy", with Gary Crosby as a member of Elvis' "group"?
Lee posted 08/26/05 04:44 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Another influence on Dean was Amos and Andy's Kingfish. Dean will often go into his Kingfish talk. Very funny, and so was the TV show Dean was imitating from. As for Elvis, his influences were many and far and wide. To claim, as the liberally bent history revisionists do that only black artists influenced Elvis is taking political correctness to it's only too natural lunatic conclusion. That's the trouble with being overly sensitive and trying not to offend, you give ALL the credit to a group that had nothing to do with whatever the subject is they're being credited for inventing, be it the wheel or electricity.
David Robbins posted 08/29/05 12:42 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
This post could almost have its own category. I can recall hearing Dean Martin interviewed shortly after BC's death and he basically said that it was because of BC that he became a singer. He went on to say he wanted to look like him, sound like him and be him. But we've pretty much beat that horse to death. I can recall hearing a 1950 recording of Tony Bennett and he sounded pretty much like Tony Bennett. Sinatra didn't really sound like Sinatra until 1953. Just because Sinatra came first doesn't mean he wasn't more influenced by Bennett than Bennett he. Sinatra was pretty much a boy baritone until that last year (1952-53)at Columbia when he started to evolve into the singer he became. This is what occurs to my ears anyway.

||| Bing Crosby Internet Museum Home Page ||| Bing FAQS