The Quintessential Italian Crooner   14 comments

I’ve written about crooners before, but I wanted to expand on something. Is it just me, or do most of the crooners who have entertained us through the years just happen to be of Italian descent? I’m not basing this conclusion on any type of scientific evidence, but it’s just one of those things that sounds right…you know, like being convinced that all politicians are worthless.

<Actually, there is at least one source of information, a book called The Italian Crooners Bedside Companion, but I haven’t read it and only mention it for those of you who might be interested in further research. (And no, I don’t know if there’s a hidden meaning in the title.) In my case, I’ve already made up my mind that there are in fact a LOT of Italian crooners, and have moved on to trying to determine which of them should be designated the quintessential one — not an easy task.

For obvious reasons, I’m going to pass over lesser stars like Jerry Vale (Gennaro Luigi Vitaliano), Al Martino (Alfred Cini), and Vic Damone pc(Vito Rocco Farinola). No offense to their devoted fans, but those guys – as good as they were – didn’t reach the high levels of fame necessary for consideration.

Continuing on through the parade of changed names, we move to the next tier up, where we have stars such as Perry (Pierino) Como, Frankie Laine (Francesco Paolo LoVecchio), and Tony Bennett (Anthony Dominick Benedetto), who were all very successful but over time seemed to drift away from the music of their heritage.fs

I’m also going to bypass Sinatra, who might come to mind by virtue of his long, celebrated career, but who really transcended Italian croonerhood by reaching legendary status as a singer’s singer. Ditto Bobby Darin (Walden Robert Cassotto), who seems the least Italian of all. And in case you wondered, I’m also not considering modern singers, such as Andrea Bocelli, because we’re discussing retro things here…not that there’s anything wrong with Bocelli.

dmMy choice would have to be Dean Martin (Dino Crocetti), who turned his mellow voice and suave style into a long and successful career, not only as a singer but also as a movie and TV star. (Not to mention his time spent as a member of a tremendously popular if short-lived comedy team.)

Although Dino generated a lot of his big hits from other genres he always knew that his fans appreciated his roots, and he reserved time for traditional Italian love songs. And when you listen to his smooth baritone on songs such as “An Evening In Roma”, it’s obvious that he’s the real thing…the quintessential Italian crooner.

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Posted January 28, 2007 by BG in Big Band, Boomers, Easy Listening, Music, Nostalgia, Retirement, Seniors

14 responses to “The Quintessential Italian Crooner

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  1. Hey pallie, you like speak the Dinotruth….no one ever was or ever will be as cool as our Dino….the greatest entertainer to ever live. Oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth.

    dino martin peters
  2. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, Dino, but thanks for the comment.

  3. Hmmmm, Al Martino has been singing and touring for the past 54 years. Way after jerry vale and Vic damon who retired before I was even born. Can you honestly name my anyone of this list who is still performing?? And of course anyone call tell the difference between him and singers you mentioned. Last year he performed concerts with Placido Domingo. Actually the audience was having trouble telling THEM apart. And I’m not just saying this because he’s my father…..but he is definitly in a class in his own…

    Alison Martino

  4. Oops – sorry, Alison. It’s great that your Dad is still singing and touring.

  5. no offence taken….a girl hs a right to defend her dad right? But Thanks for responding. Check the show out some time….you may change you mind…Happy trails…..\
    A.M.

  6. When it comes to Italian crooners (a/k/a “saloon singers”), how could you overlook none other than Buddy Greco?

    Norman Meyerson
  7. Your arbitrary definitions of what constitutes Italian crooners are inconsistent. First of all, what you are talking about is Italian-American crooners, not Italian crooners. Bocelli, obviously, is one of the latter. There are scores of Italian crooners who are or were popular in Italy that few Americans have ever heard of. Second, as for the IA group, you have left out Mario Lanza, Julius LaRosa, Lou Monte, Louis Prima, Connie Francis, Buddy Greco, Toni Arden, Joni James, The Gaylords, The Teardrops and tons of others.

  8. PS–And Jimmy Roselli.

  9. Guilty on all counts, Bob, but with a few mild protests. What constitutes a crooner is kind of subject to interpretation anyhow, but most of us would at least think male solo singers, which would eliminate all the females, groups, etc, you’ve named. As to the Italian VS Italian-American thing, the terms are often used interchangeably, as in the title of the book I mentioned in the first paragraph, although you are right that it’s not really the same thing. And finally, I wholeheartedly agree that I missed some good ones — and there are probably still more we haven’t mentioned. 😉

  10. PS about the Italian VS Italian-American thingy — there’s also how it helps to shorten an already-long title, as with my latest post.

  11. I happen to think all these guys were great and most were also, good to look at.

  12. He wasn’t italian but he was a great crooner, Andy Russel. Member him??

  13. Not only do I remember Andy Russell, he was the subject of a earlier post. (He was actually a Latino whose real name was Andrés Rabago Pérez.)

  14. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still
    new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

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