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Top 10 Crooners of All Time

These are the songs we shared as we fell in love, sung by the singers who created perfect backdrops for the most romantic times of our lives. Love sought, love won, love lost, and the cycle repeated until we found “that one”. Thirty years later, or forty or fifty, and the songs take the listeners right back to those days of courtship as if it was only yesterday. The music of these great crooners will never let you down; it is as beautiful today as it was 60 years ago. Here are the top 10 crooners of all time.

10. Roger Whittaker:
The only non-American on the list, Whittaker hails from England, and his songs have an English flavor, many of them about saying goodbye as a gentleman must go to sea or to war, leaving behind a lover frightened that they will never again be together. Born in 1936, Roger’s early years were spent in Kenya and South Africa, and it wasn’t until 1959 that he made his way to England. He began singing in 1962 and in 1971 recorded “The Last Farewell” which was to become one of his biggest hits. “Durham Town” and “I don’t Believe in ‘If’ Anymore” were also hits. Roger is still performing, and had quite an extensive tour of Germany in 2009.

9. Bobby Darin:
I knew of Bobby Darin because he set the standard for performing and recording “Mack the Knife”, an upbeat number about a serial killer. I didn’t appreciated Darin’s talent until I took time to listen to “Dream Lover” and especially “Beyond the Sea”. The later served as the track for a 2005 movie of the same name where Kevin Spacey plays Bobby and sings all the old Bobby Darin songs with great style. The movie is excellent, one of the top five musician-bio films along with Walk the Line, Ray, La Bomba, and The Buddy Holly Story.

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8. Dean Martin:
Born in Ohio in 1916, Martin dropped out of school at age 16 and worked at a variety of hard-knock jobs before taking up singing as a career. In 1943 he sang at the same club as Frank Sinatra, and in 1946 teamed up with Jerry Lewis to kick off the start of a successful movie and comedy collaboration. Dean didn’t hit his stride musically until the early 1950. One of his early hits was “That’s Amore” in 1952. In 1960, “You’re Nobody til Somebody Loves You” was a nice hit for Martin, but the real showstopper was yet to come. In 1964, at the height of Beatle mania and the British Invasion, Martin knocked “A Hard Day’s Night” off the number one chart spot with “Everybody Loves Somebody”, a ridiculously popular ballad in a traditional crooning style that had been considered out of fashion for at least ten years.

7. Tony Bennet:
In perhaps the most amazing twilight resurgence ever, Tony Bennet has become fantastically popular. He is likely the most prolific octogenarian to hit the stage since…. well, ever. In 2007, Bennet celebrated his eightieth birthday by recording Duets: An American Classic, which went multi-platinum, became the bestselling album of Bennet’s career so far, and won a Grammy. In 2009, this singer who performed with Bob Hope in 1949 and Count Basie in 1959, released a Christmas album that is guaranteed to be a top seller.

6. Nat King Cole:
Unforgettable is the perfect word to describe Nat King Cole. It is also the name of one of his biggest hits. After playing piano in a successful jazz trio from 1936-1948, Cole switched to soloist and continued his hit making parade. Other hits include “Mona Lisa” and “When I Fall in Love” (1957).

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5. Johnny Mathis:
In 1956, at the age of 21, Johnny Mathis was invited, at the same time, to the Olympic High Jump Trials (yes, he was that good), and to New York for his first recording sessions. He chose to go to record and his fans have been jumping up and down ever since. Turns out jumping high wasn’t Johnny’s only talent. On only his second day in the studio, he recorded “Wonderful Wonderful”, and “It’s Not For Me To Say”, two of his biggest songs. My personal favorite is “Chances Are”. On one of his albums that I owned, Johnny’s song’s were called make-out music, and I have to say that I can’t disagree.

4. Andy Williams:
A few years ago I was looking for the best YouTube version of “Danny Boy”, and I found a beautiful rendition by Andy Williams. A singer’s singer, Andy has it all. Can’t Take My Eyes off of You”, and “Moon River”(1962) are among his very best, but he may be most known for the title track from the 1970 movie Love Story, “Where Do I Begin. Williams still performs at his Moon River Theater in Branson Missouri.

3. Perry Como:
Perry Como is like bing Crosby on sedatives, which is a bit scary if you’ve seen Crosby on some of his lower energy projects. Perry could come out on stage in one of his trademark sweaters, sit on a stool barely moving a muscle, and sing as if he had given lessons to the angels. His popularity was greatest in the late 1930’s and early 40’s. With a style so relaxed it was described as “conversational”, Como became known for his interpretation of romantic ballads such as “And I Love You So”, “It’s Impossible”, and “‘Til The End Of Time”. Perry Como didn’t just sing about enduring love, he lived it. He married his high school sweetheart in 1933, and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 1998, two weeks before she died.

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2. Frank Sinatra:
Ole Blue Eyes was as big a hit with the girls as Elvis or the Beatles, in his day. But Frank turned out to be more than a heartthrob as the decades went by and he just kept getting better. With impeccable timing, creative phrasing and a general musicality that made him a favorite of band leaders everywhere, Sinatra built an entire repertoire of signature songs that he sang in his own unique style, that couldn’t be copied by anyone. “It had to be You” , “It happened in Monterey”, and “One for my Baby” are classic.

1.Bing Crosby:
The Michael Jordan of crooners, Bing is so far above everyone else that he’s really in a category all his own. Bing was made to croon, and crooning was made for Bing. “Moonlight Becomes You” and “Where the Blue of the Night ” practically define crooning.