Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby's Greatest Hits

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According to chart researcher Joel Whitburn, Bing Crosby hit the singles charts 361 times between 1931 and 1965, including 40 number one hits -- by far the most successful recording career of all time. Most of those hits were recorded for Decca Records, subsequently owned by MCA Records. In 1977 (the year of Crosby's death), when MCA came to compile an album called Bing Crosby's Greatest Hits, it began by limiting its choices to the most successful decade of Crosby's career, from the late '30s to the late '40s. But even within that limitation, the label did not stick to the biggest hits. Some of them were here, to be sure: "Swinging on a Star" from the film Going My Way and the Andrews Sisters duet "Don't Fence Me In," both long-running chart-toppers and gold records; the 1947 re-recording of "White Christmas," which scored in the holiday season almost annually through 1962; and such big hits as "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" and "Pistol Packin' Mama" (both also featuring the Andrews Sisters). But beyond these, the selections become more idiosyncratic and seem intended to display Crosby's versatility and the breadth of his career, rather than actually compiling his greatest hits. These include a 1939 recording of "I Surrender, Dear"; a 1945 recording of "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day," which he used as his radio theme song; "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)," the gold-selling 1944 hit that showed off his Irish heritage; and "Deep in the Heart of Texas," which features accompaniment by Woody Herman and His Woodchoppers. It's a varied collection, but it does not by any reasonable measure contain his "greatest hits."

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