1942: Casablanca and White Christmas

THAT’S R and B?

Glenn MillerIn Joel Whitburn’s A Century of Pop Music, an interesting note. “The recording industry enjoyed booming success during the early 1940s until the era’s dominant big bands were stilled on August 1, 1942, when the American Federation of Musicians joined in a ban on recording due to a dispute over musicians’ royalties.

“By the time all the record companies entered into an agreement to end the ban in late 1944, vocalists had assumed predominance over bands in popularity.”

This is also the year of one of my favorite movies, Casablanca. I’ve mentioned it at least a dozen times in this blog. I saw this film, outdoors in a park, maybe in Rochester (?) with my friend Debi. I’ve lost track of the friend ever since. Nor have I seen the film again, and it was at least thirty years ago, so I should fix that. It’s certainly one of the oldest films that I’ve ever viewed, aside from The Wizard Of Oz and a handful of others.

White Christmas – Bing Crosby (Decca), 11 weeks at #1, gold record. In 2016, I wrote a whole post about the song here. I noted that the recording ALSO led the rhythm and blues tally for three weeks that year, and continued to appear on some charts for several years. It is the best-selling single worldwide with an estimated 50 million copies sold.

Bronze Star

Moonlight Cocktail– Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle and the Modernaires (Bluebird), 10 weeks at #1, gold record. From Wikipedia: “In 1942, Miller volunteered to join the U.S. military to entertain troops during World War II, ending up with the U.S. Army Air Forces. On December 15, 1944, while flying to Paris, Miller’s aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal.”

Jingle Jangle Jingle– Kay Kyser with Henry Babbitt and Julie Conway (Columbia), 8 weeks at #1, gold record.

(I’ve Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo – Glenn Miller with Tex Bereke, Marion Hutton, and the Modernaires (Victor), 7 weeks at #1, gold record. Apparently, Kalamazoo was a funny-sounding city name, like Walla Walla and Schenectady.

Tangerine – Jimmy Dorsey with Bob Eberle and Helen O’Connell (Decca), 6 weeks at #1. A familiar tune, though I don’t remember specifically why.

Sleepy Lagoon – Harry James (Columbia), 4 weeks at #1. Instrumental.

A String Of Pearls – Glenn Miller (Bluebird), 2 weeks at #1. Instrumental. All of the Miller cuts are well known to me.

Blues In The Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me) – Woody Herman (Decca)

Music Throwback Saturday: White Christmas

“The version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide.”

whitechristmas-decca18429aThere are, as far as I can ascertain, only two versions of perennial favorite White Christmas that charted on both the pop and the rhythm & blues charts.

One was the version by the Drifters, which got to #2 on the R&B charts in 1954 and returned to the top 12 the next two years. It also got up to #80 on the pop charts in 1955, and showed up on the lower parts of the pop charts the next few years. There were also special Christmas charts where the song showed up in the 1960s.

The other version was by an obscure crooner named Bing Crosby. In 1942, his version topped the pop charts a staggering 11 weeks and led the R&B charts for three weeks. The song hit the Top 10 in both charts in 1943. It re-entered the pop charts every year from then until 1951, and again from 1953 to 1962 before the Christmas carts were instituted in 1963 and dominated for many years.

There was a version recorded in 1947 by Crosby, which supplanted the iteration from Holiday Inn, the 1942 movie, because “the original masters had been worn out from all the pressings.”

From Wikipedia: Irving Berlin “often stayed up all night writing — he told his secretary, ‘Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!’

Here are movie facts from the 1954 movie White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

“The version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 100 million copies worldwide.”

Listen to
Bing Crosby 1942 here
Bing Crosby in the movie Holiday Inn (1942) here
Bing Crosby 1947 here
Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye, from the 1954 movie here

The Drifters here or here

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial