Bing Crosby was among the most popular early to mid century Americans of Irish descent, although he, like James Cagney, was only half Irish. He is partly forgotten now, but I can’t think of anyone who was more popular for as long or longer than Bing Crosby. He was active in show business right up until the end, from the early 1920’s to the late 1970’s. Toward the end of his life, the dark side of his private family life began to overshadow his accomplishments. Gary Giddens wrote in his Bing Crosby: Pocketful of Dreams, why we should again remember his accomplishments. This was the first of three volumes of his Bing Crosby biography. The second volume is rumored to be coming out this year.
So it’s appropriate to have Bing Crosby sing a song on St. Patricks’s Day. But, instead of playing the usual Irish songs, I’ll instead play my favorite Bing Crosby song: Now Is The Hour. It was supposedly a traditional Maori song of the natives of New Zealand. Others claim it was written during World War I. Whatever its origins it is a beautiful song sung by the best known Irish American. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks to Chuck Cecil and his Swingin’ Years for introducing me to this song. We’ll give our regular Fats Waller on Friday the night off to return next Friday.