Music: Mr. B. Goes to Town

Three years ago, when nightspot managers around the U.S. were hiring a little-known Negro singer named Billy Eckstine, they tagged him with such labels as "The Sepia Sinatra" and "The Bronze Balladeer" to help lure customers in. Some were lured, and many of them began buying Billy's M-G-M records. By last year, after his Fool that I Am had sold around 200,000, Billy, a big, well-set-up (6 ft., 185 Ibs.) boy with flashing white teeth, had begun to look like a top crooner in his own right.

The mail was pouring in, and the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!