Bing Crosby

Golden Greats

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AllMusic Review by

The reason for the plethora of CD reissues of the recordings of vintage recordings artists like Bing Crosby since the 1990s is simple: International copyright lapses after 50 years, putting those artists' catalogs into the public domain, at least in Europe. Each year, more reissues come out on labels that don't have to pay for licensing, their only restriction being that the tracks have to be at least half-a-century old. Thus, this three-CD set, containing 75 Crosby recordings originally issued on Brunswick and Decca Records (and to which Sony and Universal claim ownership in the U.S.), cuts off strictly in 1951, its latest tracks being "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" and the Louis Armstrong duet "Gone Fishin'." Although arbitrary from a musical perspective, this limitation actually works from a commercial standpoint, since, after 20 years as a leading figure in pop music, Crosby faded as a record-seller after 1951, the last year he ranked among the 20 top singles artists in Billboard, managing only one more Top Ten hit, "True Love," in 1956. So, Golden Greats has the potential to contain his most popular work. It is, in fact, a grab bag of material dating back to 1931. Twenty of Crosby's 38 number one hits are included, along with many other popular recordings, and the singer is featured in duets with Bob Hope, the Andrews Sisters, Al Jolson, Connee Boswell, and Judy Garland, among others. The collection is very roughly chronological, so one gets to hear Crosby develop from his early crooning days to his familiar '40s material and on to the era when he was competing uncomfortably with the likes of Frankie Laine on "Mule Train." There are no annotations, however, and the album has a thrown-together feel, with some tracks sonically challenged.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:10
2 3:01
3 3:04
4 3:11
5 3:07
6 2:50
7 3:14
8 3:11
9 2:40
10 2:45
11 3:17
12 3:00
13 3:05
14 2:48
15 3:19
16 3:13
17 3:05
18 3:07
19 3:03
20 2:38
21 3:04
22 3:11
23 2:55
24 3:11
25 2:43

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:34
2 3:07
3 3:10
4 3:08
5 2:37
6 3:13
7 2:40
8 2:34
9 2:49
10 3:10
11 2:38
12 3:09
13 2:52
14 3:14
15 2:31
16 2:47
17 3:09
18 3:05
19 3:06
20 2:35
21 2:22
22 3:07
23 2:56
24 2:41
25 3:01

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:44
2 2:30
3 2:54
4 2:56
5 2:58
6 3:15
7 3:26
8 2:38
9 3:00
10 3:07
11 2:41
12 3:00
13 2:52
14 2:49
15 3:01
16 2:53
17 3:03
18 18:47
19 19:47
20 20:47
21 21:47
22 22:47
23 23:47
24 24:47
25 25:47
26
blue highlight denotes track pick