Bing Crosby, the “Toking Crooner” was born “Harry Lillis Crosby” 116 years ago in Tacoma, Washington on May 3, 1903. He was one of seven children in an extremely poor family that loved to sing, he was sent to vocal lessons early by his mother, until he grew tired of classical training.
Bing, the singer, the comedian, the actor and the first multimedia star, was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954. Bing, who dominated American pop-culture for most of the 20th Century, was already an avidToker by the time he teamed up with “Bob Hope”.
Ever wonder how music legend Bing crafted his cool persona as a crooner? The Oscar’s winner for playing a priest in “Going My Way”, loved his buds and according to his son Gary, his mellow demeanor might have been inspired by smokingWeed, he picked up his suave style from smokingMarijuana as a young jazz singer in the 1920s and 30s, beforeCannabis became federally prohibited.
The ganja-loving Armstrong eventually appeared in several movies with Bing, and on many of his radio and TV shows. They shared a hit single in 1951 “Gone Fishin” and teamed up for the classic album “Bing & Satchmo” in 1960.
A “A Pocketful of Dreams” also quotes Bing’s eldest son, Gary, describing how his father told him he should just smoke pot instead of over-drinking. Gary even claims that pot had an effect on his father’s casual musical and theatrical style, Gary said:
If you look at the way he sang and the way he walked and talked, you could make a pretty good case for somebody who was loaded. He’d get a smile on his face. He’d kind of think about it and there’d be that little smile.
If you believe that Gary and I are wrong, take a look at the below clip and be you the judge!
He looked me right in the eyes and rewarded me with a generous grin and a wink... I’ve had various musicians tell me that in fact he smoked a lot of pot, and that it did keep him mellow.
Bing said to his son Gary one time when he was really mad, ranting and raving about his son’s heavy drinking:
Oh, that fucking booze. It killed your mother [Dixie Lee]. Why don't you just smoke shit?
Although Bing was reluctant to publicly admit whether he continued to use cannabis, he wasn’t shy about telling the media he thought it should be legal. In numerous interviews during the 1960s and 70s, he forthrightly said the herb should be at least decriminalized.