NEW YORK – Harry Crosby was 19 when his father, Bing, died in 1977. But when he goes to a mall or a party in December, there’s a good chance he will hear his father’s voice. sing “White Christmas”.
He and his family want to hear more of that voice over the next 11 months, a desire that led to the announcement of a deal on Monday to sell an equal stake in the rights of Bing Crosby’s estate to Primary Wave Music.
This is another example of how catalog rights selling has become a booming business, most involving rock artists writing their own music – Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks are among them. examples. The Crosby chord is the most significant involving a pre-rock artist who primarily performed songs written by others.
The transaction is estimated at more than $ 50 million.
A younger generation knows Crosby better through “White Christmas” and the duet with David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy” made for a TV special shortly before his death. Fewer people alive remember Crosby’s time as a major recording artist and movie star.
“There were things that were absolutely must-have hits in the 1930s and 1940s, for an extended period of time, and they just just disappeared,” said Harry Crosby. “People associate dad with Christmas, but in the 1940s and 1950s they didn’t associate him with Christmas. They’ve associated dad with tons of stuff, and that’s what I want to bring back.
Some of her hit songs include “Pennies From Heaven”, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time”, “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Accentuate the Positive”.
Crosby won the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing a priest in the 1945 movie “Going My Way” and has directed seven “road” films with his friend, comedian Bob Hope. His association with golf is also remembered as he created the first pro-am tournament and is said to have been a member of 75 golf clubs.
Crosby’s family, which includes his widow and two of Harry’s siblings, have taken an interest in a documentary series to tell the Bing story.
Primary Wave’s first priority is to increase Crosby’s digital footprint, strengthen her profile on Spotify and add her music to playlists for a generation that doesn’t know her, said Larry Mestel, Founder and CEO of the society.
“We want to be in business and partner with the greatest of the greatest, whatever the genre, whatever the era,” Mestel said. Primary Wave also works with the estates of Count Basie and Ray Charles.
The challenge is to infiltrate a new youth culture with the work of a mature artist, he said. Unlike many rock era artists involved in such deals, Crosby is obviously not around to perform or promote his work.
But while song-editing is at the heart of many such chords, Mestel said Primary Wave is looking more broadly at ways to get an artist’s name known and, of course, to earn money. money thanks to his likeness or his work. He sees huge potential in Crosby’s cinematic properties.
“The way I see daddy isn’t just through the lens of music and movies,” Crosby said. “He was a pioneer in all the different mediums and all the things that came from it – technology and music and golf, sportsmanship and hunting. There are a lot of different things that describe the human being.
The times he hears “White Christmas” while in public made Crosby smile.
“I miss him a lot,” he said. “It’s a time of reflection. It’s not painful, it’s inspiring. It’s reassuring that with all he has done and as hard as he has worked, he is recognized again and again.