Bing Crosby has sold more than one billion records, tapes, compact discs, and digital downloads around the world. And now he’s streaming. He may be the most listened-to recording artist of all time. Only the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson can rival Bing’s worldwide numbers. Most current lists of all-time bestsellers don’t factor in sales before 1960 because there was no official certification process, but Bing had sold over 200 million records by 1960 and the figure had doubled by 1980. His version of White Christmas remains the best-selling recording of all time with The Guinness Book Of World Records reporting worldwide sales of over 100 million. White Christmas has entered the American pop charts twenty separate times.
Bing Crosby is the most recorded performer in history, having made over 2000 commercial recordings and approximately 4000 radio programs in addition to an extensive list of film and television appearances.
He scored 38 number one records – more than The Beatles (24) and Elvis Presley (18). His recordings reached the charts 396 times, more than Frank Sinatra (209) and Elvis Presley (149) combined. Bing’s closest rival is Paul Whiteman (220) with whose orchestra he sang early in his career.
Bing appeared on the list of top ten highest-grossing movie stars of the year 15 times, topping the list five times. (Only Tom Cruise, who has done it seven times, has occupied the top spot more frequently than Bing.) Films starring Bing Crosby are estimated to have sold over one billion tickets. Bing’s films appeared in the annual top ten grossing films of the year list 29 times.
He won the Academy Award as Best Actor for his performance in Going My Way in 1944, received the recording industry’s first Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1962 and a Peabody Award for his contributions to the television industry in 1970, but he might have been most proud to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, an honor he received posthumously in 1978.
Bing was a brilliant and innovative businessman, playing critical roles in the development of the magnetic tape recording and frozen foods industries. His television production company was responsible for such hits as Hogan’s Heroes and Ben Casey. In the world of sports, he founded Del Mar Racetrack and the first Pro-Am Golf tournament and for many years was a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
He has three stars on Hollywood’s walk of fame – one for recordings, one for radio, and one for motion pictures.
Bing Crosby referred to himself as, “an average guy who could carry a tune.”