The Movies - Crosby & Sinatra

By 1929 the Tin Pan Alley industry was ailing, was free music on the Radio contributing to the demise? Or was it the movies?

The Hollywood studios were buying up the publishing houses ... they wanted 'content'. Warner Bros purchased Witmark, Harms and Remick. MGM bought out Leo Feist and Robbins Music. Paramount had the Spear and Coslow catalogue.

Into the 1940s and the musicians were under attack as their artistry income was eroded as technology moved - printing, recording, radio, sound movies, nickelodeons, juke boxes ... prohibition & the depression ...

ASCAP tried to help ... AFM and BMI ... ASCAP banned recordings and demanded royalties. ASCAP won as gigs declined and record sales rose ...

The money was in movies ... Hollywood always seemed to have a penchant for cowboy songs ... but Hollywood made lavious films of the original theatre shows ... and the were better ... new publications were mainly songs from the films not freelance pop.

Into the 1940s went Bing and the Andrew Sisters. But Bing was really a movie star?  

After the war the big bands didn't come back. Sure the schmaltz of the sweet big bands continued for dancing but not for  swing ... and for the vocalists.

In August 1942 Frank Sinatra went solo at the Paramount Theatre. The bobbysoxers swooned.

Buddy Bolden at Funky Butt Hall, ODJB at Reisenweber's, King Oliver at the Lincoln Gardens, Whiteman at Aeolian, Goodman at the Palomar and Sinatra at the Paramount were all significant events!

Jo Stafford followed in 1944

Fred Astaire (1899-1987)

Magical movies, magical songs, as Broadway musicals dried up in the desert of the depression -

1935 Top Hat - Irving Berlin - 'Top Hat White Tie & Tails', 'Cheek to Cheek', 'Isn't this a Lovely Day', 'No Strings', 'The Piccolino'.

Follow the Fleet - Irving Berlin - 'We Saw the Sea', 'But Where are You?', 'Let Yourself Go', 'Get Thee Behind Me Satan', 'I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket', 'I'd Rather Lead a Band', 'Let's Face the Music and Dance'.

1936 Swing Time - Jerome Kern with Dorothy Fields - 'The Way You Look Tonight', 'A Fine Romance', 'Bojangles of Harlem', 'Pick Yourself Up', 'Never Gonna Dance', 'Waltz in Swing Time'.

Shall We Dance - George & Ira Gershwin - 'They Can't Take that Away fromME', 'They All Laughed', 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off', 'I've got Beginners Luck', 'Slap that Bass'.

A Damsel in Distress - George & Ira Gershwin -

Carefree - Irving Berlin - 'Change Partners', 'I Used to be Colour Blind'.

Bing Crosby (1903-77) out of Paul Whiteman and The Rhythm Boys

Crosby sang with a rich utterly relaxed rhythmic baritone voice, immensely appealing.

Bing was a record, radio & movie star who sang the American Ballads.

Many followed but Perry Como was just another Crosby ...

Frank Sinatra (1915-98) out of Tommy Dorsey.

Sinatra started as a Tin Pan Alley songster and made his legacy the American Songbook. He sang everything from 1939 with Harry James and was still at it in the 1990s. Consistent & credible & clear.

Ol' Blue Eyes was the master of phrasing and timing superb dynamics gave his performance individual brilliance.

But by 1950 he was washed up by Ava Gardener and driven to the brink only to re-emerge in 1955 on Capitol Records ... the come back kid. Sinatra recorded albums ... audio wallpaper?

Meanwhile the kids who were at it bought R&B 78s and danced.

By the time the Rock 'n' Roll 78 rpms emerged Sinatra was available on LP ... the dynamics changed.


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