Les & Bing Crosby
After success in Chicago, Les Paul wanted to make it out to Hollywood, California to further his music career. He and a friend piano player, Joe Rann, headed out west in Les’ Buick in 1943. Les needed a new trio; and at this time he picked up Bob Meyer on bass and his travel buddy Joe Rann on piano. Les had his sights set on getting a job with NBC and meeting Bing Crosby and was already thinking of a way to make that happen. Bing Crosby had his hand in everything entertainment at the time: film, radio, and Bing had sold the most records. Bing Crosby was clearly the man to meet.

NBC was only a few blocks away from where Les was staying, so he and Joe Rann would hang out around the building and soon, they noticed that at 5 o’clock, the back door area was crowded with employees taking dinner breaks which gave Les an idea. So one day at 5 o’clock, Les Paul, Bob Meyer, and Joe Rann show up with their instruments and mix in with crowd. Les and Bob create a little commotion; Les asks Bob if he’s got the music and Bob says he left it inside the building. With confidence, they walk right into the NBC building, past the security guards. Once they got inside, they spotted an empty studio with a piano. The trio took it as a good sign and got right down to playing music. Soon after they start playing a man comes in and informs them that they are not on the schedule. Les admits they aren’t supposed to be there but asks him to give them a listen. He listens then gets Tom Pelouso, the music director, who in turn brings the VP of NBC, Sid Strotz. The Les Paul Trio is hired on the spot for NBC.

Despite his success with NBC, Les still had hopes to meet Bing Crosby and somehow play for him. Les noticed that there was a little studio with no windows that was built as an ‘Emergency’ room during wartime. Bing would often go to this room on breaks, Bing’s own little hideaway while at work. Les booked the room for his trio. He hadn’t told Joe Rann or Clint Nordquist, the bass player, his plans yet. Les just told them that if anyone came into the room, not to stop playing. Right on cue, Bing Crosby enters the room, waits a second and excuses himself from the room. The guys are amazed and almost stop playing but Les tells them to keep going. Bing walks right back in the little studio and hires them on the spot.