A singer, typically a male one, who sings sentimental songs in a soft, low voice, is by dictionary definition, a crooner.
There can be many style variations; even some female vocalists are believed by many to fall into the crooner category. However, in this article we will showcase and pay tribute to that list of original crooners and those that follow them into modern day music in the 'true' crooning manner.
The first true crooner is widely believed to be Rudy Valée who came on the scene in the 1920's. The main advent that helped bring the crooning style of music to fruition is the invention of the microphone. Once this small but powerful amplification device was introduced, the scope of music changed forever.
The list of great crooners is long but some of the most well known crooners that are still widely celebrated today include:
Harry Connick Jr.
Nat King Cole
Sammy Davis Jr.
Decline and Resurgence
The crooner style of music dominated the music arena in the United States from the 1930's through the late 1950's. With the introduction of rock & roll music in the mid to late fifties, came a decline in the popularity of crooner music. Many 'crooners' looked at the new genre of music as the evil perpetrator that destroyed true American music.
Frank Sinatra was publicly vocal regarding his dislike for rock & roll, this was evident in a quote by 'ole blue eyes' when he said, "Rock 'n Roll: The most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear." He later recorded songs by the 'King of Rock and Roll," Elvis Presley as well as songs by the Beatles. Although many crooners faded from the music scene, some embraced the new music genres and incorporated them into their own music style.
The crooner era had hit its peak, and the style pretty much died out, with the exception of a few crooners still enjoying some moderate success in the sixties and seventies. In recent years, the original crooner style has been re-birthed by some talented newcomers who embrace the genre and introduce it to a new generation of song lovers. Artists such as Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Bublé are doing well to keep the crooner candle burning. They are hugely welcomed by all ages and derive much of their music from the Great American Songbook as well as producing their own chart-topping originals.
The sixties and seventies saw a reconstruction of the crooning style and the original sound was thought to have been a thing of the past. Not so with the new generation of crooners. The music of Crosby, Sinatra and Martin live on and their sweet sentimental sound is being embraced by a whole new generation.