The well remains deep for many late icons. Like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, there are still some unreleased tracks in the vault after Bing Crosby passed away nearly a half-century ago.
A number of never-heard Bing Crosby tracks are finally seeing the light of day. Thanks to the Estate of Bing Crosby, archival material is part of “Bing Crosby’s Christmas Gems.”
Crobsy’s presence has always loomed large during the Christmas season. “White Christmas” is the best-selling song of all time. The film of the same name, which Crosby starred in alongside Danny Kaye, remains popular whether on screen or adapted for the stage. His first compilation album of Christmas songs, simply titled “Merry Christmas,” has remained in print since its release in 1945.
It’s fascinating listening to the lovely rarity “Just What I Wanted for Christmas,” which sounds fresh 46 years after the Spokane-raised Crosby died.
“Our family loves hearing Bing Crosby music everywhere we go around the holidays,” said Mary Crosby, daughter of Bing and his second wife, Kathryn, in a statement. “This new collection is so much fun because it includes many of dad’s less familiar holiday recordings. I especially love hearing Mom sing ‘Christmas Island’ with dad. It was done for one of our family Christmas TV specials. It brings back wonderful memories and has never been on an album like this before.”
“Marshmallow World,” a duet with Ella Fitzgerald, and “Christmas Star” have resurfaced.
But it’s not just about the rarities that have been dusted off. A number of favorites are on “Christmas Gems,” such as Crosby and David Bowie’s beloved duet of “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy,” the holiday staple “Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow” and the enduring chestnut “Joy to the World.”
“ ‘Christmas Gems’ is a wonderful new collection of my father’s less familiar holiday recordings,” Harry Crosby said in a statement. “It’s very gratifying to see him remain the voice of Christmas all these years after he made these recordings. It’s been a joy to share these songs with my children, who have become great fans of their grandfather.”
The 14-track album of holiday classics is available in limited edition red and green vinyl. Each vinyl comes with a special glossy cardstock Bing Crosby ornament with a red ribbon.
“Bing Crosby’s Christmas Gems” is available locally at 4000 Holes, online at store.bingcrosby.com or streaming on services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify.
“When you think Christmas albums, you think Bing Crosby and Vince Guaraldi with his ‘Peanuts’ albums,” 4000 Holes owner Bob Gallagher said. “Bing Crosby has such great Christmas songs. ‘White Christmas’ is one of the greatest Christmas songs. Bing is the standard. And people forget how massive Bing was and he’s from here. Can you imagine going back in time and seeing Bing with his three-piece at Gonzaga? That would blow your mind. We can’t go back but we can revisit Bing, especially at this time of year with his Christmas album, which is a lot of fun.”