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Bing Crosby: An Illustrated Biography Hardcover – 24 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Andre Deutsch Ltd; !st. Edition : 1st Printing edition (24 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0233993525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0233993522
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 19.5 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,379,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

This is the story of how Harry Lillis Crosby called himself Bing and sold more records than any human being ever had before. "He revolutionised home entertainment and was single- handedly responsible for killing off the parlour piano", enthuses author Michael Freedland, only half joking, as he attempts to pin down this enigmatic man who became an entertainment phenomenon.

Crosby turned pop singing into big business in the middle years of the 20th century and this lushly illustrated book tells the story of a unique career. The impact of the easy-going voice is thoughtfully assessed and the hugely successful move into film is well documented. Freedland claims Crosby was the greatest ever screen priest, better even than Spencer Tracy, and the run through his dramatic, comic, and just plain excuses to sing a song parts is comprehensively delivered.

But while Bing was a hit with the public, at home things were different. Some of Crosby's own children have depicted him as a vicious martinet, a drunk, and a bully. To his credit Freedland doesn't dodge these allegations and ultimately this book provides a rounded and convincing picture of a remarkable entertainer and a complex man. --Nick Wroe


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By British bobby on 31 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My general experience of Bing is White Christmas, Road to... films and the brilliant voice. Now I find out he was a bit of a swine. I may never watch White Christmas again. I expected a more in-depth biography - it seemed lacking in substance sometimes and has been padded out with lots of photos.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
An error on most every page! 7 Mar. 2001
By Arnold L. Fogel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this book, we learn that, among other things, Bing's partner in the Rhythm Boys was named Harry "Berris"...... That Bing made "4000 different recordings"....... That Bing's famous singing rivalry known as the "Battle Of The Baritones" was with Rudy Vallee..... That another popular singer of the early days was Russ "Colombo"..... That Bing's mother was born in Canada..... That Bing's lung operation in 1974 was due to cancer..... That Bing's appearances on the "Hollywood Palace" TV show consisted of hosting "once a month, between 1968 and 1970 ...., sharing the role with George Burns, Martha Raye, and Judy Garland"........ That in 1962, Bing recorded "Let's Not Be Sensible" for a film soundtrack, "...but for reasons no one could adequately explain, the last word of the song, 'love', was mangled on tape...." and that Bing refused to re-record it because he was a "star", so .."Michael Holliday, a Crosby sound-alike, was brought in to finish the line for him......" This book further reveals that all of Al Jolson's legendary 1940s radio appearances with Bing were on Bing's series, "The Kraft Music Hall", and that Bing's very first TV appearance was "...as the guest of Jack Benny's first special in 1953...." WHEW!!!! What a bunch of junk! Folks, every single fact I've just related comes randomely from the pages of this half-baked un-researched hatchet-job, and is totally wrong!! What's more, These are just errors I picked at the last minute, thumbing through the book as I was composing this review: there are so many more! I've read hundreds of entertainment bios in my life (including others by Freedland), and NEVER have I encountered such a lame work with so many blatant errors of fact, chronology, and spelling (the spelling errors listed above for "Berris" and "Colombo", are not random typos, but are mis-spelled every time the names appear in the text!) How did this get published? Of course, the piece is also a hatchet-job, featuring alusions and conclusions re: Crosby's behavior that have absolutely no basis in fact. You want Crosby? Order Gary Giddins' new masterpiece "Bing Crosby- A Pocketful Of Dreams - The Early Years", and you'll get the REAL Bing, in a scholarly, analytical epic that makes this howler look like the misbegotten little essay that it is.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Slightly Illustrated and Sometimes Inaccurate Biography 24 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to an accurate biography of my favorite singer, Bing Crosby, and, as the title promises, this was supposed to be full of illustrations too. Sadly, I was disappointed on both accounts.
Upon reading Michael Freeland's version of Bing's life and career, I couldn't help but feel that Mr. Freeland gave The Old Groaner several digs along the way. I guess you don't have to be a fan of your subject to write a biography. There were several blatant errors in the text. Among these was a captioned picture of Gary Cooper presenting Bing with his Oscar while, on the same page, Mr. Freeland writes that Bing received that little statue from Bob Hope. Also, for some reason, the print is very large. Even though the book boasts 127 or so pages, it would have only been about 75 pages with regular print. I don't known if this was done because the author thought that older folks (with deteriorating eyesight?) would have more of an interest in this book. I am in my 30's so maybe I don't fit into the Mr. Freeland's concept of a typical Bing fan.
As for the illustrations, they were slightly spartan considering the title of the book. I was anxiously anticipated pages and pages of both color and black & white pictures depicting Bing in all stages of his life and career. Although there weren't enough pictures to suit me, I do have to say that the pictures included were of good quality ( althought none in color other than the one on the back cover) and many were ones that I had never seen before.
All in all, I did gleen some additional information concerning Mr. Bing Crosby but I would certainly take much of what was written here with a grain of salt. The 40+ black & white pictures will be a continual source of enjoyment for me.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Filled with mistakes; nice photos! 27 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is loaded with mistakes! Some are not even close to being accurate! Has some nice photos though, but not worth the money!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Same as the regular text - the worst! 9 Nov. 2004
By Arnold L. Fogel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the same review I gave the book in it's original edition. The larger type hasn't changed anything!..............

In this book, we learn that, among other things, Bing's partner in the Rhythm Boys was named Harry "Berris"...... That Bing made "4000 different recordings"....... That Bing's famous singing rivalry known as the "Battle Of The Baritones" was with Rudy Vallee..... That another popular singer of the early days was Russ "Colombo"..... That Bing's mother was born in Canada..... That Bing's lung operation in 1974 was due to cancer..... That Bing's appearances on the "Hollywood Palace" TV show consisted of hosting "once a month, between 1968 and 1970 ...., sharing the role with George Burns, Martha Raye, and Judy Garland"........ That in 1962, Bing recorded "Let's Not Be Sensible" for a film soundtrack, "...but for reasons no one could adequately explain, the last word of the song, 'love', was mangled on tape...." and that Bing refused to re-record it because he was a "star", so .."Michael Holliday, a Crosby sound-alike, was brought in to finish the line for him......" This book further reveals that all of Al Jolson's legendary 1940s radio appearances with Bing were on Bing's series, "The Kraft Music Hall", and that Bing's very first TV appearance was "...as the guest of Jack Benny's first special in 1953...." WHEW!!!! What a bunch of junk! Folks, every single fact I've just related comes randomely from the pages of this half-baked un-researched hatchet-job, and is totally wrong!! What's more, These are just errors I picked at the last minute, thumbing through the book as I was composing this review: there are so many more! I've read hundreds of entertainment bios in my life (including others by Freedland), and NEVER have I encountered such a lame work with so many blatant errors of fact, chronology, and spelling (the spelling errors listed above for "Berris" and "Colombo", are not random typos, but are mis-spelled every time the names appear in the text!) How did this get published? Of course, the piece is also a hatchet-job, featuring alusions and conclusions re: Crosby's behavior that have absolutely no basis in fact. You want Crosby? Order Gary Giddins' new masterpiece "Bing Crosby- A Pocketful Of Dreams - The Early Years", and you'll get the REAL Bing, in a scholarly, analytical epic that makes this howler look like the misbegotten little essay that it is.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Slightly Illustrated and Sometimes Inaccurate Biography 24 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to an accurate biography of my favorite singer, Bing Crosby, and, as the title promises, this was supposed to be full of illustrations too. Sadly, I was disappointed on both accounts.
Upon reading Michael Freeland's version of Bing's life and career, I couldn't help but feel that Mr. Freeland gave The Old Groaner several digs along the way. I guess you don't have to be a fan of your subject to write a biography. There were several blatant errors in the text. Among these was a captioned picture of Gary Cooper presenting Bing with his Oscar while, on the same page, Mr. Freeland writes that Bing received that little statue from Bob Hope. Also, for some reason, the print is very large. Even though the book boasts 127 or so pages, it would have only been about 75 pages with regular print. I don't known if this was done because the author thought that older folks (with deteriorating eyesight?) would have more of an interest in this book. I am in my 30's so maybe I don't fit into the Mr. Freeland's concept of a typical Bing fan.
As for the illustrations, they were slightly spartan considering the title of the book. I was anxiously anticipated pages and pages of both color and black & white pictures depicting Bing in all stages of his life and career. Although there weren't enough pictures to suit me, I do have to say that the pictures included were of good quality ( althought none in color other than the one on the back cover) and many were ones that I had never seen before.
All in all, I did gleen some additional information concerning Mr. Bing Crosby but I would certainly take much of what was written here with a grain of salt. The 40+ black & white pictures will be a continual source of enjoyment for me.
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