Al Rinker

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Al Rinker
Born December 20, 1907
Tekoa, Washington
Died June 11, 1982
Burbank, California
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Vocalist, Composer
Instruments vocalist
Associated acts Bing Crosby, The Rhythm Boys, Paul Whiteman, Harry Barris

Al Rinker (December 20, 1907 – June 11, 1982) began performing as a partner with Bing Crosby in 1925 and the two singers formed the Rhythm Boys, which singer/songwriter/pianist Harry Barris later joined. Barris wrote the songs Mississippi Mud, I Surrender, Dear, and Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams among others. The singing trio worked with Paul Whiteman's Big Band for three years. They went out on their own for a year until Crosby effectively dissolved the group to go solo.

The Rhythm Boys were filmed for the Paul Whiteman movie The King of Jazz (1930) singing Mississippi Mud, So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together, A Bench in the Park, and Happy Feet. According to a filmed interview of Rinker, Crosby performed the first two weeks on his first film while on daytime work release from jail after crashing his car into a telephone pole while driving drunk. After the Rhythm Boys broke up, they reunited only once, to appear together on the "Paul Whiteman Presents" radio broadcast on July 4, 1943.

In 1952, a song for which Rinker wrote the lyrics, You Can't Do Wrong Doin' Right, appeared in the film Push-Button Kitty and in the television series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. He also wrote the song Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat with the Sherman Brothers for the Disney animated children's movie The AristoCats (1970).

Rinker's sister Mildred, under her married name of Mildred Bailey, became a well-known jazz singer after the Rhythm Boys arranged for Paul Whiteman to "discover" her singing at a party and hired her. She became the first woman to join a band as a full-time singer, as Crosby had been the first man to do so. Al's brother Charles was a lyricist who worked frequently with composer Gene de Paul.

See also[edit]


  • Donald Shepherd and Robert F. Slatzer, Bing Crosby: The Hollow Man (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981)

ISBN 978-0-523-42164-3