Crooners and Their Songs

Il termine “crooner ” si riferisce ad artisti di musica pop celebri per aver interpretato i propri pezzi con uno stile romantico e quasi intimo, reso possibile dall'introduzione di microfoni ed amplificazione e spesso  affiancati da una grande orchestra, una band o da un pianoforte. Bastano pochi nomi – gli intramontabili ed inimitabili classici - per chiarire il concetto: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Frankie Avalon, Tony Bennet. Cosa hanno in comune, oltre allo stile, questi maestri dell’intrattenimento? Sono tutti di origine italiana!

In entertainment, Chicago was his “kind of town,” but Frank Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board, really loved, “New York, New York” – “Night and Day” – whether one was a “Stranger in the Night” or “The Lady was a Tramp.” Sinatra loved “All the Way” and to him “That was Life.”

One knows that Frank’s Rat-Pack buddy, Steubenville, OH-born Dino Crocetti, truly known as Dean Martin, recorded many Italian flavored songs. Comic actor Vito Scotti called “That’s Amore” the unofficial Italian American anthem. The “King of Cool’s” “Memories are Made of This” truly believed “Everybody Loves Somebody.”

Dino left the “Memories” to Pierino Ronald (Perry) Como who had “Magic Moments” “Till the End of Time.” He sang “Where Do I Begin” with “Temptation” and ended with “Goodbye Sue.” Nothing was “Impossible” for him. “For the Good Times,” Como easily “Could Catch a Falling Star.”

Another Pennsylvania pop-star was Jasper Cini, better known as Al Martino of South Philly. He didn’t top the charts like Old Blue Eyes, but he loved “Spanish Eyes” believing that was a “To Each His Own” choice. “Here in his Heart,” Martino was a master in the art of cooking one entrée at a time and “Shared the Wine” at meal times.

Another master in his own right was Gerry Vitaliano a.k.a Jerry Vale. He delivered Italian melodies like “Inamorata,” “Amore Scusami,” “Non Dimenticar,” “Mala Femmina,” and “Al Di La.” He was recognized as the background vocalist in “Good Fellas” with his rendition of “Pretend You Don’t See Her.”

It’s a good thing Walden Robert Cassotto decided not to go into politics. But again, “If he were a Carpenter” show biz would never have recognized his “Splendido” with “Mack the Knife” and “Beyond the Sea.” Bobby, better known as Bobby Darin, lived to be only 37 and was already a five-star headliner.

Francesco Paolo Lovecchio gazed skyward for success and he found it with “That Lucky Old Sun” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” But, he was earthbound with his “Mule Train” and that “Jezebel” was his naughty lady.
Anthony Dominick Benedetto soared from “Rags to Riches” “Because” he “Left his heart in San Francisco” and became  “A Stranger in Paradise.” In the pop world, he’s Tony Bennett and still performing at 90-years-old. 

Vito Rocco Farinola elevated himself from ushering at the Paramount Theater in New York and became a successful romantic balladeer with “On the Street Where He Lived” from “My Fair Lady” and peaked with “You’re Breaking My Heart.” In passing, Vito is Vic Damone.

Of more recent vintage, a couple of Frankies also did well. A one-time teen idol Frankie Avalon (Avallone) must have been a fan of Italian sculptor Botticelli because, like the artist, his “Venus” was also a masterpiece and for all “Four Seasons,” Francis Castelluccio (Frankie Valli) with his falsetto voice “Worked his Way Back to You” and that “You” must have been “Sherry.”