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April 8, 2009 - Leave a Response

Gene Austin

From: http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Gene_Austin_01.jpg/220px-Gene_Austin_01.jpg

Above: Gene Austin – Father of “Crooning”

The original crooners were male singers from the 1920s to the early 1960s who sang in an operatic, clear light tenor voice combined with intonations that reflect jazz and blues styling. Gene Austin, proclaimed as the singer who gave birth to the singing form of crooning, started the art form in the mid-1920s. The roots of crooning goes back to the Italian Opera, where orchestras played behind the booming voices of the opera singers. Crooning differs from the opera because of its jazz influence, resulting in much more subtle, smoother voices along with the orchestra or a big band as the instrumentals. Crooning became the most popular form of music up until the beginning of the “Rock and Roll” era, circa late 1950s, early 1960s. (Reference 1)

Classic Crooners

April 8, 2009 - Leave a Response

METHOD TO THE PLAYLIST MADNESS:

Order: The seven featured artists below are all organized by time period. For example, Gene Austin came before Bing Crosby and Crosby came before Nat King Cole.

Song Choice: Each song was either chosen based on popularity (top of the musical charts) or by how well it represents crooning as a musical art form.

There are no modern crooners on this list, only the “original crooners” from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Gene Austin

gene-austin-recordFrom: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3277/2627789985_c5d1969a45.jpg?v=0

1. Gene Austin – “Ain’t she sweet” – Original Release Date: 1927 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xpSeaxRpCc&feature=related – Album Title: The Voice of the Southland – Record Company: Living Era – Catalog Number: 5217 – Published – 1997

“Ain’t She Sweet” is a beautiful song that shows the innocence of  the 1920s. A song that is still played today, it has survived the test of time because of its universal appeal as a “feel good” song.

2. Gene Austin – “Aint misbehavin’” – Original Release Date:1929 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sVTXHMMYYw&feature=related – Album Title: The Voice of the Southland – Record Company: Living Era – Catalog Number: 5217 – Published – 1997

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a song that really influenced other songs that crooners after him wrote about love.  The orchestra behind him along with his smooth singing also is a base for other crooners to follow in successive generations.

3. Gene Austin – “Carolina Moon” – Original Release Date:1928 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqsImgh2th4 – Album Title: The Voice of the Southland – Record Company: Living Era – Catalog Number: 5217 – Published – 1997

4. Gene Austin – My Blue Heaven – Original Release Date:1927 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w-_xbBmXJ4 – Album Title: The Voice of the Southland – Record Company: Living Era – Catalog Number: 5217 – Published – 1997

Gene Austin revolutionized the music scene in the 1920s and for decades beyond. I chose to put his music in my play list because he was so influential to other musicians who came after him such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who attribute much of their work to him.

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby Singing

From: http://www.filmreference.com/images/sjff_03_img1026.jpg

5. Bing Crosby – Swinging on a star – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTUKHMlbYGA – Album: The Definitive Collection of Bing Crosby – Record Company: Geffen Records – Catalog Number: B000BYR9ZO – Published: 2006

I chose this song because it was a unique version of a crooner song. It includes a chorus of children for background music instead of an orchestra or a big band, which makes the song more appealing to different age ranges. The sway of the song and interval stoppage make it seem a little childish, however it is still a very catchy song and was listened to by many people.

6. Bing Crosby – Only Forever – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o42SOPbBINM&feature=PlayList&p=3612A0ACE22B28B8&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=45 – Album: It’s Easy to Remember – Record Company: Proper Box UK – Catalog Number: B00005TO17 – Published: 2001

This song is a classic crooner song, incorporating jazz, vibrato singing, and an orchestra. It has the characteristic culminating loud sound at the end, making it a very inspirational song about love. I chose it not only because it is a great representation of crooning music, but also because it is a song that is still danced to today, showing its immense influence.

7. Bing Crosby – Old Man River- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yTqSgCHy9c&feature=related – Album: The Definitive Collection of Bing Crosby – Record Company: Geffen Records – Catalog Number: B000BYR9ZO – Published: 2006

8. Bing Crosby – I’ll be seeing you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbU-q7R_uew – Album: – Record Company: Decca Records – Catalog Number: 18595 – Published: 1944

9. Bing Crosby – I’m dreaming of a white Christmas – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vPfOjAw5Z0 – Album: The Definitive Collection of Bing Crosby – Label: Geffen Records – Catalog Number: B000BYR9ZO – Published: 2006

A song constantly on the radio today during Christmas time, it oozes the innocence and purpose of Christmas through its lyrics as well as its soft tune. The soothing orchestra combined with the smooth crooning of Bing Crosby made this an easy choice for me to include on my play list. It was an instant classic, and is a staple of Christmas songs around the world.

10. Bing Crosby – Baby It’s Cold Outside – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25fUl3NpeBc – Album: The Greatest Christmas Shows – Record Company: American Perspectives – Catalog Number: B001DR2K5W – Published: 1949

This song combines Bing Crosby and Doris Day, singing about the beginning of a relationship. It also has the orchestra and sensual crooning of Bing Crosby, however this is a unique song because the crooning is used in the song to actually woo a woman. While many women were very attracted to crooners, this song shows how crooning became a popular form of suggested love and an onset of a relationship.

Nat King Cole

nat-king-cole

From: http://www.kalamu.com/bol/wp-content/content/images/nat%20king%20cole.jpg

10. Nat King Cole – Unforgettable – Top Music Chart:#1, Original Release Date:1952 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDN5rG3wLa4 – Album: Love Songs – Record Company: Capitol – Released: 2003 – Askin: B00007LTI5

The number one song in 1952, this could be Nat King Cole’s most famous song due to its ever lasting lyrics throughout the years. A classic love song, it incorporates every aspect of a crooning song, with an orchestra combined with a little jazz, smooth vibrato singing, and inspirational lyrics.

11. Nat King Cole – L-O-V-E – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JErVP6xLZwg – Album: L-O-V-E – Record Company: Capitol Records- Published 2004 – ASKIN: B000WE7UH0

I chose this song because not only is it one of his most famous songs, it also is a crooning song that incorporates a big band instead of an orchestra. It gives good perspective on the different types of songs that crooning can be used for because of its more swinging style.

12. Nat King Cole – Stardust – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFyKAUBkdOs&feature=related – Album: The Very Best of Nat King Cole – Record Company: Capitol – Published: 2006 – ASKIN: B000S57WE4

13. Nat King Cole – Fly me to the moon – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5EUcYw96us&feature=relate – Album: NAt King Cole Sings/ George Shearing Plays – Record Company:Blue Note Recordings – Released: 1961-ASKIN:B00004U9MQ


Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

From: http://www.poster.net/sinatra-frank/sinatra-frank-frank-sinatra-5000311.jpg

14. Frank Sinatra – Come Rain or Shine – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RZK7Nw1QE4 – Album: Sinatra and the Strings -

“Come Rain or Come Shine” is a one of my personal favorites of Sinatra. It incorporates one of his jazzier pieces from his earlier works, and his voice really “croons,” swaying throughout the song. The lyrics are very meaningful talking about how no matter what happens he will “love you come rain or come shine.” Most of his songs are similar throughout, however this song changes pace midway through the song into a much more upbeat melody, representing the ups and downs of real life through the music in the song.

15. Frank Sinatra – As time goes by – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIiAdHGi3AI&feature=related – Album: Unheard Frank Sinatra – Record Company: Vintage Jazz – ASKIN: B000006JEX – Produced 1990

“As time goes by” is one of Frank Sinatra’s most famous song, partly because he sang it in the famous movie “Casablanca.” I chose it because of its use of the orchestra instead of a big band. It shows the connection between him and Gene Austin because of the more traditional orchestra instrumentation, beautiful savory singing, and focus on love.

16. Frank Sinatra – I’ve got the world on a string – Top Music Chart:#6, Original Release Date:1953 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtKk8rdVWvk – Album: His Greatest Performances 1953-1960 – Recording Company: Capitol – Published: 2000-ASKIN:B0000479AV

“I’ve Got the World on a String” is a song with all of the aspects of a Frank Sinatra song that I described above; a big band sound, powerful sensual singing and brimming bright lyrics. This song not only makes me happy when I hear it but also made millions of American fans happy, as it was the sixth most popular song in 1953. I chose this particular song because of its obvious appeal to many people in 1953, which means that it must have been extremely influential due to its immense spread across the country.

17. Frank Sinatra – South of the Border – Top Music Chart:#9, Original Release Date:1953 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXEpJEnbhO4 – Album: The Capitol Years – Record Company: Capitol – ASKIN: B000002UWM – Published: 1990

“South of the Border” is another chart topper that Frank Sinatra produced, ranking in as the ninth most popular song in 1953. With a more Mexican, staccato flavor, I chose this song because it differs from many of the other more conventional crooning songs.

18. Frank Sinatra – Oh What it seemed to be – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHRIQS6Kk-Q – #2 1946 – Album: Essential Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years – Record Company: Sony – Released 2003 – UPC Code: 074646105924

19. Frank Sinatra – Five minutes more – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB-0SpJJB5w – #15 1946 – Album: Essential Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years – Record Company: Sony – Released 2003 – UPC Code: 074646105924

I chose Frank Sinatra for my play list because I believe that he is the epitome of what a crooner is defined as. He has  one of the smoothest vibrato voices ever, combining Jazz and crooning into his music to create a big band sound with powerful singing but meaningful loving lyrics. I not only chose him because I believe that he is the most influential crooner, I also chose him because he was one of the most popular musicians of his time. All of the songs that I chose were from his earlier years as a true crooner, before the 1960s.


Dean Martin

dean-martin

From: http://www.hillyjunction.co.uk/images/Hills/Dean%20Martin.jpg

20. Dean Martin – That’s Amore – Top Music Chart:#1, Original Release Date:1953 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS6-b7CONDI – Album: Dino: The Essential Dean Martin – Record Company: Capitol – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B000SXOKUA

Probably the most famous song played at Italian restaurants and always a staple on pizza commercials, this number one hit is extremely unique as a crooning song because of the Italian flavor. I included it because of its popularity, uniqueness, and combination of big band and orchestra. It switches in and out of big band and orchestra backgrounds, alternating between jazz and classic Italian music to represent the exciting and romantic sides of love.

21. Dean Martin – Memories are made of this – Top Music Chart:#9, Original Release Date:1956 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MWN_duZfIs – Album: Dino: The Essential Dean Martin – Record Company: Capitol – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B000SXOKUA

22. Dean Martin – Return to Me – Top Music Chart:#10, Original Release Date:1958 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baRqH3dBmBE – Album: Dino: The Essential Dean Martin – Record Company: Capitol – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B000SXOKUA

23. Dean Martin – Everybody Loves Somebody – Top Music Chart:#6, Original Release Date:1965 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMQFsjs21OQ – Album: Dino: The Essential Dean Martin – Record Company: Capitol – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B000SXOKUA

I chose this clip as well as this song because it shows Dean Martin’s comedic side that he incorporates into his concerts. It is incredible how he can combine the romantic crooning and intermittent comedy to keep his audience balking at his every word. This clip really shows the positive impact that a crooner can have on the population due to their role model personalities, combining romance with pizazz.

Tony Bennett

tony_bennett_50s

From: http://weblogs.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/blog/7295_0002.jpg

24. Tony Bennett – Because of you – Original Release Date:1951 – #6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CZtob2i978&feature=PlayList&p=A96F882413BBC0A7&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=22 – Album: The Ultimate Tony Bennett – Record Company: RPM Records/Columbia – Released: 2000 – ASKIN: B00138EWZM

“Because of You” is a classic Tony Bennett crooning song, combining the smooth jazz orchestra with the big band sound to creating an exiting and romantic feel, in a similar mold of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.” I chose this song because of its great representation as a crooner’s song and its timelessness. It’s also the song that got Bennett on the charts and famous.

25. Tony Bennett – I left my Heart in San Francisco – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryF9p-nqsWw&feature=PlayList&p=6DF850E3A3160003&index=1&playnext=2&playnext_from=PLAlbum: The Ultimate Tony Bennett – Record Company: RPM Records/Columbia – Released: 2000 – ASKIN: B00138EWZM


Bobby Darin

bobby-darin

From: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.javaans.com/images/Bobby%2520Darin.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.javaans.com/bobbie%2520vinton.html&usg=__g1KAsVUQj2waTgnIXRDREHV1CK4=&h=400&w=317&sz=15&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=mGB5P370CbuXEM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=98&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbobby%2Bdarin%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

26. Bobby Darin – Mack the Knife – Top Music Chart: #2 Original Release Date:1959 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dDs_N3kGQk - Album: The Ultimate Bobby Darin – Record Company: Rhino/Warner Bros. – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B001224QV4

A personal favorite of mine which I have been playing for years, “Mack the Knife” really incorporates the loud vibrato smooth voice of Bobby Darin, showing off the range of crooners as well as the big band accompaniment.

27. Bobby Darin – Beyond the Sea – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8OlDPqYBLw – Album: The Ultimate Bobby Darin – Record Company: Rhino/Warner Bros. – Released: 2004 – ASKIN: B001224QV4

Another example of the big band loud singing style of Bobby Darin, this song is my favorite song of all of the crooner’s because of it’s incredible use of horns and Darin’s great singing. He is crisp and really puts a lot of passion into the song, which is a major reason why I chose it.

Crooners popularity rise and fall due to War

April 7, 2009 - Leave a Response

wwi

From: http://www.gwpda.org/photos/bin06/imag0558.jpg

The first crooner, Gene Austin, burst onto the music scene after World War I. This was because of the recent victory that the United States experienced over Germany, and optimism throughout the nation was at an all time high. With victory came the smooth singing of the crooners, and their popularity rose as they breathed the meaning of love and virture into the hearts of Americans. Their pure singing style wooed millions, with their big bands and orchestras creating uplifting and sentimental feelings that hit deep into what patriotism really represents. In the Great American Songbook, crooners thrived. Their songs were America, and one major reason for that was because of the war. People wanted to latch onto anything that meant happiness, and the songs that the crooners sang oozed joy and a feel-good atmosphere.

iwojimaarchives

From: http://www.thedctraveler.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/iwo-jima-flag-raising-wwii.jpg

However, with the development of WWII also began the demise of the crooners popularity. People began to want something even more upbeat, something that represented breaking out of the mold that was so “proper and sophisticated.” Led by the newly coined term “teenagers,” Elvis, his swinging hips, and Rock and Roll replaced the crooners as the most popular form of music in the mid-1950s and began to eliminate the crooners from the music charts until they almost disappeared in the mid-1960s (Reference 2)

Crooners and the Musical Technology Revolution

April 6, 2009 - Leave a Response
Woman listening to the radio in the late 1920s

Woman listening to the radio in the late 1920s

From:http://www.vintageperiods.com/sites/Phenderson/_files/Image/5%20Radio(10).jpg

At the time that crooners were becoming popular in the 1920s to the 1950s, public radio and records were being developed and perfected. This resulted in the mass spread of music, creating an immense craze over the crooners and their savy songs. Crooners benefited greatly from their new found spread of music, recording many records, participating on radio shows, and broadcasting their music for millions to hear. (Reference 2)

Classic Crooners Influence on Music

March 28, 2009 - Leave a Response

The art of crooning is one of the only forms of music that relies almost solely on the talent of the lead singer. The beautiful booming voices that crooners had captivated audiences. Today, male crooners are far and few between, with Michael Buble being the most famous to Tony Bennett, who is still performing in front of live audiences. Even though the old style jazzy feeling of the classic crooners is fading, their influence on the modern musical world is not. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs are still being sung on stages such as the popular show “American Idol” who has produced modern crooners such as Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks. The evolution of “Rock’n Roll” music from crooning is evident, with vibrato singers such as Elvis Presley putting a more hip swing on the old crooning style to attract the modern audiences in the mid-1950s to 1960s. Crooning songs are still some of the most sensual and inspirational songs around, played at special occassions to make the mood feel unlike any other. Songs such as “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole are often played at weddings to enhance the romantic and ideal feel of the moment. The classic crooners are a testament to how music can survive through generations because of the common feelings that it brings to everyone listening.

References/Suggested Readings

March 27, 2009 - Leave a Response


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crooner

2. The Rise Of The Crooners, Michael Pitts and Frank Hoffman; Scarecrow Press, 2002

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