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The Crosby Show

Photo: Thomas Struth 1978, Metropolitan Museum of Art NY

SoHo Broadway History: Merry Melodies for Happy Holidays

What’s in a name? For streets, these names sometimes take on reputations greater than themselves (Broadway being the obvious example), and sometimes the names just happen to coincide with people who are more famous and in no way associated with the streets themselves. In SoHo, this is the case for Crosby Street. 

Crosby Street skirts the eastern edge of the SoHo Broadway district. As explained in a prior post on street names in SoHo, Crosby Street was named for 19th century millionaire and philanthropist William Bedlow Crosby.

William Bedlow Crosby (MCNY)

“Crosby Street was named after the 19th century millionaire and philanthropist William Bedloe Crosby, a man who devoted a considerable amount of his time and money to charity and performed good deeds throughout the neighborhood. William Crosby did not own the land through which Crosby Street runs, but lived in the area.”

While the street was named for this forgotten fellow, the name Crosby has also been shared with some unforgettable figures in the history of music.  Though they have no relation to the street, these figures have brightened the lives of their listeners and lent their voices to their generations. Below is a little about two famous Crosbys—Bing Crosby and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young—along with some holiday music sung by each to really get in the Crosby spirit.

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Bing Crosby, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby was remembered as one of the most popular and successful musical acts of the 20th century.  A contemporary of Frank Sinatra, Crosby helped paved the way for the “Crooner” era of music—an American epithet given primarily to male singers of Jazz standards, mostly from the Great American Songbook. However, the biggest hit of Crosby’s career was his cover of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” which he introduced on a Christmas Day radio broadcast in 1941. Below you can listen to this and other Christmas songs recorded by Crosby over the years:

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) were a folk rock supergroup composed of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young.  They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies, often tumultuous interpersonal relationships, and political activism; their influence had a lasting impact on American music and culture. Over the years the group has disbanded and reunited, eventually without the return of Young and just going by Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN), the original trio before Young had been added to the band. CSN has not made a studio album since 1999 and as of 2020 are considered inactive. While not a band associated with the holidays, in 2014 CSN played a rendition of “Silent Night” at the National Christmas Tree Lighting, the last time the band ever played a live performance together:

The SoHo Broadway Initiative wishes you all a joyous and safe holiday season!

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