Academy Award Winners & Nominees 1934-1960
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Working closely with the International Crosby Circle and particularly with its American representative F.B. (Wig) Wiggins, MCA Records has issued some excellent Bing Crosby compilations: Their Complete Recordings Together (Crosby and the Andrews Sisters), Bing's Gold Records, and The Voice of Christmas. Academy Award Winners & Nominees: 1934-1960 can be added to this list, compiled and annotated by Wiggins, who co-produced with MCA's Andy McKaie. The idea of compiling an album of Crosby's performances of Oscar-nominated songs is a good one, since he also doubled as a movie star and, as Wiggins points out, introduced more nominees and winners than any other singer. In all, 14 of the songs he sang in his movies earned nominations, and four — "Sweet Leilani," "White Christmas," "Swinging on a Star," and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" — won statuettes. The only one missing is "True Love," Crosby's duet with Grace Kelly from High Society and his last major hit, which was released by Capitol Records. Filling out the album are other nominees and winners that Crosby covered but did not sing in the films with which they were associated, and these are some of the most interesting performances on the disc. Of course, the bulk of the album consists of standards that Crosby owned; his intelligent, playful, and reassuring screen persona was underlined by songs custom-tailored for him. Some of the best of them are found here on a collection that also traces the history of Hollywood from just after the dawn of the sound era to the breakup of the studio system, a period when movies were family entertainment and Bing Crosby was the country's biggest musical star.