Bob Crosby

Born in Spokane in 1913, Bob Crosby was a famous singer, bandleader and actor. He was the brother of the infamous Bing Crosby.

Bob started performing in his early 20’s with the Rhythm Boys, a male singing group created in 1925 with Bing Crosby, Harry Barris, and Al Rinker. The band is known for launching Bing’s solo career to the worldwide audience.

Bob Crosby and Judy Garland photo
Bob Crosby together with Judy Garland

Bob had never achieved the same level of fame like his brother Bing did, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a famous jazz musician. He had taken his first job as a singer in 1931 from Anson Weeks, a popular pianist and leader of west coast dance band.

Bob and the Bob-Cats

But Bobs career hadn’t taken off until he started to lead his own band in 1935 called the Bob-Cats, a jazz dixieland type soloists whose members came far and wide from New Orleans. The band was more of an orchestra known as Bob Crosby Orchestra or Bob Crosby and the Bobcats.

Mid 30’s was a time of many changes and that eventually meant people’s taste in music changed as well. The new and popular “swing” style was more and more widespread and jazz was pushed a bit to the side. Crosby’s band manager managed to successfully combine both “Jazz” and “Swing” in a synchronous blend that few others were able to follow.

YouTube video

The Bob-Cats were hugely successful with their new management and ironically they came from the fallen apart Ben Pollack’s Orchestra. They needed a new leader and they chose Crosby because of his personality and famous last name, and this was Crosby’s big breakthrough. The band hired their first female singer in 1940 named Doris Day.

Bob Crosby Show

While the Second World War was raging, Bob Crosby went on tour and spent 18 months with the Marines touring the Pacific region. His radio show named “The Bob Crosby Show” went on air in 1943 and lasted until 1950 broadcasted through NBC and CBS, and was later succeeded by Club Fifteen that lasted from 1943 to 1953.

The radio show was a huge success and Bob Crosby got a shot at teaming up with the popular Andrews Sisters, singing and engaging in comedy acts which were hugely popular.

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