Austin soon gave birth to the "crooner" form (a clear light tenor) of singing of the 20's and 30's, taking over from the more sentimental style of tenor vocals popularized by such singers as Henry Burr and Billy Murray. Such later crooners as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Russ Columbo all credited Austin with creating the musical genre that began their careers. Gene Austin became enormously popular in the late 1920s. His recording of "My Blue Heaven" sold over 12 million records and until Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" replaced it as the largest selling record of all time.
Gene Austin was posthumously awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for his 1928 recording of Bye, Bye, Blackbird, which has long been considered recorded music's definitive rendition of that song.