Rhythm Boys

Al Rinker and Bing Crosby had played together in a Jazz group in Spokane, Washington when they were in college. They were so popular, Rinker and Bailey dropped out of college to drive Rinker’s Model T from Spokane, Washington, where Rinker was working as a Jazz singer. They landed a job on the vaudeville circuit as vocal acts shortly after arriving in Los Angeles. Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra members saw their act and recommended them. Whiteman hired them in October 1926. While they waited to join Whiteman’s Orchestra, they recorded their first album “I’ve Got the Girl” at The Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles (506 South Grand Ave.). Bing and Al joined the Whiteman Orchestra, Chicago, where they recorded their first records together with Whiteman. Crosby and Rinker didn’t like the beginning. Whiteman’s audience did not like them and the manager of the theatre where they were performing at the time requested that they be dropped. But, rather than dropping them, Whiteman brought Harry Barris, a young singer/songwriter, to the act. The act was called the Rhythm Boys. The trio sang in three-part harmony, Rinker playing the piano and Barris playing the piano. Barris composed “Mississippi Mud”, which was a hit with Whiteman Orchesta. It featured Bix Beiderbecke playing cornet. After a while, Whiteman and Crosby began to get along. Bing was a heavy drinker and had been to jail several times. After being in an accident while drunk driving, he missed part of Whiteman’s film “King Of Jazz”. Whiteman pulled strings to get Bing out of jail. Crosby was handcuffed and taken to the studio by a cop whenever he was due to appear in the movie. Whiteman fired them after the 1930 movie was finished. The Rhythm Boys joined the Gus Arnheim Orchestra in Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove. Bing began to be more prominent as a soloist, and in 1931, Bing recorded I Surrender, Dear, his first solo hit, with Gus Arnheim’s Cocoanut Grove Orchestra. Bing was a radio star thanks to his broadcasts from Cocoanut Grove, but his wild ways led him to miss performances and Crosby was fired. The Rhythm Boys stopped playing at the club. However, the local musicians’ union prohibited them from playing. This caused the Rhythm Boys and their union to end their relationship. After the Rhythm Boys disbanded, Bing’s solo career soared. Crosby became one of the most popular stars of the 20th century. Crosby’s song “White Christmas”, which was his biggest-selling record, was eventually outsold by Elton John’s 1997 version “Candle In The Wind”. The Rhythm Boys performed only one more time, in 1943, on a radio broadcast called Paul Whiteman Presents from http://www.redhotjazz.com

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