Did Bing Crosby Use Marijuana (Or 'Muggles') To Craft His Crooner Persona?

Ever wonder how music legend Bing Crosby - who was born 113 years ago today - crafted his cool persona as a crooner? His mellow demeanor might have been inspired by smoking marijuana, according to his son Gary. In an interview for the biography "Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams" (2002), Gary Crosby told author Gary Giddins that Bing picked up his suave style from smoking marijuana as a young jazz singer in the 1920s and 30s, before cannabis became federally prohibited.

"If you looked at the way he sang and the way he walked and talked," his son said, "you could make a pretty good case for somebody who was loaded. He said to me one time when he was really mad, ranting and raving about my heavy drinking, he said, 'Oh, that fucking booze. It killed your mother [actress Dixie Lee]. Why don't you just smoke shit?' That was all he said, but there were other times when marijuana was mentioned and he'd get a smile on his face. He'd kind of think about it and there'd be that little smile."

Giddins claims that Crosby started puffing cannabis after hanging out with Louis Armstrong.

"Louis's influence on Bing extended to his love of marijuana, which he alternately called mezz...gage, pot or muggles. Bing didn't develop the lifelong appetite for it that Louis did, but he enjoyed it in the early days...and surprised interviewers in the 1960s and 1970s by suggesting it be decriminalized."

But you be the judge. Take a look at this clip and let us know if you think Bing is channeling his inner Dude to get into character for singing "Now You Has Jazz" with Louis Armstrong in the movie "High Society" (1956).

banner image: wikipedia.org


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