Bing Crosby : A Pocketful of Dreams - The Early Years, 1903 - 1940 (Paperback)

Author: Giddins, Gary

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Product Overview

In one of the most celebrated biographies of recent years, Giddens traces Bing Crosby's early ascent and reminds readers why Crosby dominated American popular culture as no one else ever has. of photos.


Publisher Little Brown & Co
Mfg Part# 9780316886451
SKU 31002788
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0316886459
Release Date 10/1/2002
Dimensions (in Inches) 9.25H x 6L x 1.25T
"In his data-packed, tirelessly adulatory biography of Bing Crosby, Gary Giddins often tells his readers more than they need to know. ....[F]or all the prodigious research that makes this an obvious labor of love and only half of a projected two- volume opus, there is something essential missing. In some fundamental way, it's Crosby himself; he is embedded in the book everywhere but never freed to be its vibrant subject. To the extent that a man most often described as easygoing was not knowable, perhaps that opacity was inevitable, but not necessarily. This biography is best read to the accompaniment of a Crosby soundtrack. And the suppleness of the music shames the turgidness of the book."
"Gary Giddins has performed a great service in tracking Crosby's life and career so scrupulously. He's not only superb on the music, but he has lovingly considered the films of the 30's--he's particularly perceptive about the vaudevillian 'Road' pictures (Crosby and Hope 'are anarchists with sweet souls'). Sometimes his prose gets a touch fancy or peculiar--a song treatment is 'supernally relaxed,' his work 'failed to sate Bing's energy,' Bing 'had haplessly incarnated the excesses of Prohibition'--and one can argue with certain judgments: Is Crosby really a 'far more important artist' than John McCormack? But these are hardly blemishes on a masterly performance. Some readers may feel that this book tells them too much. But those of us who have been waiting all these years to learn everything there is to know about Crosby can only be grateful for Giddins's depth of detail and soundness of judgment. Now, where is Volume 2?"
"Giddin's book is punctuated with lists that are often fascinating. Musicians with whom Bing hung out at the Sunset Cafe in Chicago after joining the Whiteman band: Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Trumbauer. People who showed up on the 1926 opening night of Paul Whiteman's band: Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Trumbauer. People who showed up on the 1926 opening night of Paul Whiteman's short lived Club Manhattan on Broadway and West 48th Street: Al Smith, Jimmy Walker, Jimmy Durante, Texas Guinan, Charlie Chaplin, Jeanne Eagels, Gloria Swanson, and Henry Warren. ("Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson dropped by a few days later.") Participants in Bing's 1932 roast at the Friars Club: Jack Benny, George Burns, Irving Berlin, Rudy Vallee, William Paley, George Jessel, Damon Runyon, and George M. Cohan, who presented Crosby with a lifetime membership card made of gold. Bing's guests (among many others) on the KRAFT MUSIC HALL in 1936: Spencer Tracy, Lotte Lehmann, Edward Everett Horton, Louis Armstrong, Fyodor Chaliapin, Alice Faye, Andres Segovia, Iona's Hawaiians, and Art Tatum. "
From the Publisher
Annotation In this comprehensive biography of Bing Crosby, Gary Giddens traces the star's life back to his wild childhood in Spokane, Washington, where Crosby--although an intelligent, popular boy--indulged in alcohol, women, and fist-fights. Eventually he realized his talent and secured a position in Paul Whiteman's orchestra, where he developed his own style and accumulated slews of fans. By the mid-1930s, Giddens points out that Crosby--between public appearances--was starring in three movies and recording around 40 albums per year. In addition to chronicling the legendary singer's rise to fame, Giddens offers keen insights into social and historical contexts. A New York Times Notable Book for 2001.
First Line Late in the spring of 1831, Bing Crosby's maternal great-grandfather, Dennis Harrigan, a fifty-one-year-old farmer and carpenter who lived in Schull parish, in the southwestern region of County Cork, Ireland, ushered his family aboard a timber ship bound for New Brunswick, Canada.
Excerpt Leading his wife, Catherine, and nine of their ten children onto the creaking deck, Dennis knew what to expect of the grueling voyage. Still, he counted himself lucky, for few members of his congregation were able to leave at all. Of the 65,000 emigrants who set sail in 1831, only ninety or so from tiny Schull could afford passage, not many of them Catholic. A brave, resolute lot, they gazed west-ward with tenacious faith as the ship cleared Ireland's southernmost point, the Mizen Head of southwest Cork's Mizen peninsula, once a haven for smugglers and pirates who sought refuge in its impregnable coves.
Editors Note The first volume of a major new entertainment biography focuses on the rise of Bing Crosby, from his early successes as a radio star to his initial foray into Hollywood.
Editors Note 4 From Bing Crosby's early days in college minstrel shows and vaudeville, to his first hit recordings, from his 11 year triumph as star of America's most popular radio show, to his first success in Hollywood, Gary Giddins provides a detailed study of the rise of this American star.
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0768
Publisher Back Bay Books

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