Bing Crosby is the voice of Christmas still.
BING CROSBY: (Singing) I'm dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used to know.
SIMON: But those who hear him during the holidays might not appreciate that Harry Lillis Crosby was one of the most significant forces in 20th century entertainment. Bing Crosby - not Elvis, The Beatles or Frank Sinatra - is the most recorded performer in history. Forty-one number one records, more than those other guys too. But he was also a hugely popular movie star, jug ears and all, and a man who's weekly radio show had an audience of 50 million. No entertainment show gets anywhere near that kind of following today. He was also a skilled musician and a visionary investor. But Bing Crosby was also a talent who could be bedeviled by drink and grief for the loss of his sons. Next week, PBS presents "American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered." We're joined now from the studios of KQED in San Francisco by Kathryn Crosby, who was Bing Crosby's second wife. Thanks much for being with us.