Finally finished Volume 2 of Gary Giddins’ masterful biography of Bing Crosby. To celebrate, here’s Bing singing It’s Been a Long, Long Time. Inspired by VE Day in 1945, Bing’s version, featuring Les Paul on guitar and not much else, hit #1 on the charts in December of that year. According to Giddins, “Bing saw immediately that the lyric worked equally well as the entreaty of Odysseus to Penelope or Penelope to Odysseus.”
We’re overdue for some Bing on this page. Crosby not only sings, he provides percussion for Rhythm on the River, from the 1940 film of the same name.
From the press release:
Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea, and then the sound, of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live.
The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture.
The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.
More details and photos at 1843 Magazine.