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  • Italian-American Crooners Speak the Language of Love
    Part 3 of 5: Martino, Bennett & Vale

    Continued from page 2
    Italian Memories

    by Cookie Curci

    Al Martino's beautiful voice, musical styling and matinee idol good looks earned him a place as one of America's most popular crooners. His recording of "Spanish Eyes" is among the worlds top 50 most requested songs. Born Alfred Cini, (1928) he worked by day in his family's construction company, but at night he sang in the local clubs.

    It was family friend Mario Lanza who suggested Martino pursue a musical career. His breakthrough recording of "Here In My Heart" was first given to Mario Lanza, but Lanza suggested his friend record the song. The song sold over a million copies, and Martino became the first American artist to hit number one on the British single charts, a fact recorded in the Guinness book of records. His portrayal of Johnny Fontaine, in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" and his million-seller version of the "The Love Theme From The Godfather", earned him a new legion of devoted fans who continue to flock to his concerts.

    Tony Bennett, (Anthony Dominick Benedetto) (1926) continues to be a driving force in today's pop music. He began performing in 1952, now at age 75, his singing style and talent are more popular than ever. With the true heart of a Renaissance man, Bennett, an accomplished painter, brings to his music the same passion he displays in his artistry. His classic recordings of "Rags To Riches", "Because Of You" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" are among his most requested songs.

    Jerry Vale was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano in 1932. Vale epitomizes the popularity of the Italian- American café performer. His musical mentors were Sinatra and Como; his hit songs include "Non Dimenticar" and "Pretend You Don't See Her".

    Part 1: Colombo, Sinatra and Martin
    Part 2: Perry Como & Mario Lanza
    Part 4: Other Popular Italian-American Singers
    Part 5: The Italian-American Singer

    Article Updated 10/20/10


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