Bing Crosby, Russ Colombo, Rudy Vallee Crooners – Phantom Dancer 18 June 2019


A crooner is a male singer of jazz standards singing in a soft, sentimental side using a microphone to carry the voice. The three most famous crooners of the early 30s, when the style was popular, were Russ Colombo, Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee. You’ll hear them on this week’s Phantom Dancer with Greg Poppleton from live 1930s radio broadcasts.

The three crooners were the subject of the 1932 Looney Tunes cartoon ‘Crosby, Columbo and Vallee’.

See the full Phantom Dancer play list of swing and jazz mixed by Greg Poppleton from live 1920s-60s radio below is ready for your perusal below.


This week’s Phantom Dancer will be online right after the 18 June 2SER live mix at
Hear the show live every Tuesday 12:04-2pm on 107.3 2SER Sydney

Russ Colombo


Russ Colombo began performing professionally as a violinist at age 13. He would later in his short life (he died in a gun accident at age 26) be a composer, actor, and most famously – crooner.

He wrote his own radio theme song ‘You Call It Madness but I Call It Love’ as well as the standards ‘Prisoner of Love’ and ‘Too Beautiful For Words’.

At the time of his death in 1934, Columbo had just completed work on the film ‘Wake Up and Dream’ and he was on his way to stardom. Other Columbo films were: ‘Woman to Woman’ (with Betty Compton), ‘Wolf Song’ (with Lupe Vélez), ‘The Texan’ (with Gary Cooper) and ‘Broadway Thru a Keyhole’.

The type of singing that was popularized by the likes of Columbo, Rudy Vallee, and Bing Crosby is crooning. Columbo disliked the label but it caught on with the general public. It gained popular credence, despite its initial use as a term of derision for the singers employing their low, soothing voices in romantic songs. Similarly, to reinforce his romantic appeal, Colombo was called ‘Radio’s Valentino’ and ‘The Romeo of Song’.

Columbo’s mother was hospitalized by a heart attack at the time of the Russ’ death. The news was withheld from her by his brothers and sisters for the remaining ten years of her life. Due to her heart condition, it was feared that the news would prove fatal to her (she died in 1944). They used all manner of subterfuges to give the impression that Columbo was still alive, including faked letters from him and records used to simulate his radio program.

Bing Crosby


Crosby was he first multimedia star and a leader in record sales, radio ratings and movie grosses from 1931 to 1954.

His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop the crooning style that influenced many male singers who followed him.

In 1948, American polls declared him the “most admired man alive”. That same year, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music.

Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Father Chuck O’Malley in the 1944 feature movie ‘Going My Way’ and was nominated for his reprise of the role in The ‘Bells of St. Mary’s’ opposite Ingrid Bergman the next year, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character.

In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award. He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of motion pictures, radio, and audio recording.

Crosby influenced the development of the postwar recording industry. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder brought to America by John T. Mullin, he invested $50,000 in a California electronics company called Ampex to build copies. He then convinced ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape. Through the medium of recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal, time shifting) used in motion picture production, a practice that became an industry standard.

In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped to finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses and co-owned a baseball team.

Rudy Vallee


His given first name was Hubert. He named himself Rudy after saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. After enlisting in WW1 then being discharged for only being 15, he continued high school where he played drums. He then took up clarinet and saxophone, playing in bands around New England.

From 1924 to 1925 he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London, where band members discouraged his attempts to become a vocalist.

He returned to the United States, attending the University of Maine for a degree in philosophy from Yale University.

After graduation he formed Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees. With this band of two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo and drums, he started singing. He had a thin, wavering tenor voice and seemed more at home singing sweet ballads than jazz songs. But his singing, suave manner, and boyish good looks attracted attention, especially from young women. Vallée was given a recording contract, and in 1928 he started performing on the radio.

He became one of the first crooners. Singers needed strong voices to fill theaters in the days before microphones. Crooners had soft voices that were suited to the intimacy of radio. Vallée’s trombone-like vocal phrasing on ‘Deep Night’ would inspire Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como to model their voices on jazz instruments.

Vallée was one of the first celebrity pop stars. Flappers pursued him wherever he went. His live appearances were usually sold out. Among screaming female fans, his voice failed to project in venues without microphones and amplification, so he often sang through a megaphone.

He was a fan of electronic instruments. He had a theremin in his band at one stage. He introduced the elctric banjo. He was instrumental in developing PA for singers.


This week’s Phantom Dancer video of the week is the very dated 1932 Looney Tunes cartoon Crosby, Colombo and Vallee’. Enjoy!


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #391

107.3 2SER Tuesday 18 June 2019
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
National Program:
Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
ArtSoundFM Canberra Sunday 7 – 8pm
and early morning on 23 other stations.

Set 1
Dance Bands on 1939 Radio
Open + Change Partners + Say It Isn’t So + Back to Back
Jerry Livingstone and his Young Men of Manhattan
Miami Room
New York City
via WJSV CBS Washington DC
21 Sep 1939
Strange Enchantment
Joan Edwards (voc) Paul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Chesterfield Show’
9 Aug 1939
Sweet and Lowdown + Close
Jimmy Walsh Orchestra
KQW San Franscisco
Set 2
1950s Jazz on Radio
My Sweet Baby (theme) + Land of the Sky Blue Waters
Billy May Orchestra
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Palladium Ballroom
21 Dec 1953
Open + Without a Word of Warning
Arnett Cobb Orchestra
‘Stars in Jazz’
3 Jul 1952
Bohemia After Dark + Close
Marian McPartland
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’
Composers’ Club
23 Apr 1956
Set 3
This is Jazz
Open + Everybody Loves My Baby
Wild Bill Davison
‘This is Jazz’
WOR Mutual NY
3 May 1947
Memphis Blues
George Brunies
‘This is Jazz’
WOR Mutual NY
17 May 1947
Tiger Rag + Close
Albert Nicholas
‘This is Jazz’
WOR Mutual NY
10 May 1947
Set 4
Your Time Is My Time (theme) + Sweet Music
Rudy Vallee
‘Fleischmann Yeast Hour’
13 Dec 1934
Kissable Baby + I Cried For You
Bing Crosby
7 Nov 1931
Rolling in Love + I’ve Had My Moments + I’m Dreaming
Russ Colombo
‘Hollywood on the Air’
KECA Los Angeles
15 Jul 1934
Set 5
Mod Women Singers on 1940s-50s Radio
Who Started Love?
Barbara Jane (voc) Boyd Raeburn Orchestra
Palace Hotel
San Francisco
7 Aug 1945
Patti Page (voc) Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
The Click
AFRS Re-broadcast
3 Jun 1948
I’m Glad There’s You
Jackie Cain
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Royal Roost
The Echo Said No
Rosalind Patton (voc) Eliot Lawrence Orchestra
Palladium Ballroom KNX CBS LA
5 Dec 1947
Set 6
Ben Selvin Orchestra
Open + This Is The Missus
Ben Selvin Orchestra
‘Davis Musical Moments’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Too Many Tears
Ben Selvin Orchestra
‘Davis Musical Moments’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Cheers Up
Ben Selvin Orchestra
‘Davis Musical Moments’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Somebody Loves You + Close
Ben Selvin Orchestra
‘Davis Musical Moments’
Radio Transcription
New York City
Set 7
1930s – 40s Sweet Band Radio Transcriptions
Doodle Doo Doo (theme) + Candy
Art Kassel Orchestra (voc) Gloria Hart
Radio Transcription
Heart and Soul
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Russ Carlisle
Radio Transcription
All I Do Is Wantcha
Art Kassel Orchestra (voc) Gloria Hart and Trio
Radio Transcription
You’re The Only Star in My Blue Heaven
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Russ Carlisle
Radio Transcription
Set 8
1956-57 Rock’n’Roll Radio
Let’s Face It
Sam the Man Taylor Orchestra
‘Rock’n’Roll Party’
AFRS Re-broadcast
Chuck Berry
‘Rock’n’Roll Party’
AFRS Re-broadcast
I Almost Lost My Mind
Ivory Joe Hunter
‘Rock’n’Roll Party’
AFRS Re-broadcast

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: