By the late 40's, the list was large. Here are a few of the most popular crooners by 1950: PERRY COMO, BING CROSBY, FRANK SINATRA, VIC DAMONE, JERRY VALE, etc.
The ladies who were popular were NOT called crooners...instead they were crowned as "Canaries". These included: DORIS DAY, JO STAFFORD, JONI JAMES, TERESA BREWER, PEGGY LEE, SARAH VAUGHAN and many others. The age of Crooners and Canaries was the bridge between Big Band and Rock and Roll.
Amen Mike. Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee were among the first and most popular to jump aboard the crooner bandwagon in the 1930s.
Meanwhile, Al Bowelly rose to prominence in Britain during the '30s, and was credited with being "Britain's First Pop Star" separating himself from the band; so much so, that the BBC gave him his own solo radio spot... never done before for a singer by the BBC. Sanguine, charming and charismatic, Al won the hearts of both the women... and the men.
Here's "The Big Swoon" captured on film working the microphone... with just piano accompaniment.
In 1934, Al found more success travelling to New York with Ray Noble's "US orchestra" hand-picked by Glenn Miller. He was given his own NBC radio series, and even co-starred in a performance with Bing Crosby in Hollywood. But in 1937, he began to have voice problems which required major throat surgery to remove a vocal wart. The surgery was successful, but he still had problems later in his career. Meanwhile, British audiences grew distant with his absence.
If you saw the move: "The Shining" then this song may sound familiar..."Here's Johnny!"
The Ray Noble Orchestra was offered a Hollywood contract, but unfortunately for crooner Al Bowlly, following throat surgery, it did not include him. Al returned to England and sang with several bands to make a living, but his success had diminished with his travels in the US. Out of sight, out of mind...
Meanwhile (1937) British bandleader Bert Ambrose was enjoying even greater success with a new young discovery... the voice of hope and courage... Vera Lynn; who would go on to be known as the "Sweetheart of the Armed Forces."
The Depression, food rationing, and storm clouds gathering only added bounce to the step of the dance bands swinging; as people knew times may be short... with war on the horizon.
On April 17, 1941, nicknamed by Londoners as "Big Thursday" because of the devastating air raids that day, Al Bowlly was killed by a German parachute bomb that exploded outside of his apartment. Al had performed that night and was tired; and decided to return to his flat in spite of warnings from residents to go to the bomb shelter... a decision that proved fatal, when a German parachute bomb (very destructive) hit the building across the street from Al's flat. The percussion from the blast blew his bedroom door off its hinges fatally striking Al in the head... while he was reading a book in bed.
"The Big Swoon," who endeared so many with his prolific, wistful and elegant crooning style, was buried in a mass grave with fellow bombing victims. His music and memory lives on.
We interrupt this program to bring you this Special Announcement: The Voyager I has picked up "Santa and his Reindeer" travelling in the next galaxy. He is expected to be here on time as usual. Thank you.
"Santa, I want one of these here organs (below)... please, please, with sugar on top. Or just a 88-key grand digital piano would be cool too... Thanks St. Nick."
I think of Dean Martin as sort of a grown-up Elvis... before Elvis. Love'em both, and I see similarities there... think about it. Maybe some Elvis after the New Year... but let us toast the New Year to the wonderful memories of the one and only Dino... doing a Doris Day song... with help from his friends! Isn't that what New Years Eve is all about... friends... love, warm and fuzzy feelings... letting go of painful memories, and new beginnings and hope?
Let us end 2014 on a happy note... Best Wishes for Happy New Year to all of you!
"La Paloma" - The motif of the song dates back to the Greco-Persian wars in 492 BC. La Paloma was written by a Spanish composer in 1861 after visiting Cuba. There are over a 1000 versions of the song, and it is one of the most recorded songs in the history of music. I am attempting to learn it... when the desire is there, the teacher appears.
The song is a dying soldier's message back to his love.