Sunday, 12 June 2011

The best set of pipes in the business

Who knew that the consummate crooner (and heartthrob in the early 50s) Vic Damone was still alive?

The 83-year-old former Vito Rocco Farinola was discovered as a teenager by the classic comedian and entertainer Milton Berle, who pushed him in the direction of his first recording contract. In the 40s and 50s Mr Damone had numerous hits, including On the Street Where You Live, I Have But One Heart, Vagabond Shoes and An Affair To Remember, and was (briefly) considered a serious rival for Frank Sinatra.

As with so many crooners, the rock'n'roll era and the Swinging Sixties were not kind to Mr Damone's career and inevitably he ended up in debt and in Vegas, performing in casinos. But that turned out to be no bad thing in the MOR-dominated early 1970s, when a combination of touring and covers albums rejuvenated his career as a jobbing vocalist.

Facts about Vic Damone:
  • He has recorded over 2,000 songs in his seven-decade career, only retiring in 2002.
  • Frank Sinatra said that Damone had "the best set of pipes in the business".
  • Wife number four (of five) was the lovely Diahann Carroll (later the magnificent Dominique Devereaux in Dynasty).
  • In 1997, Damone received the "Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
And speaking of Sammy Cahn, here's one of his songs - a perfect piece of "Sunday Music" - beautifully sung by Vic Damone...

Wonder Why
Wonder why I'm not myself of late
Been feeling strangely great
I wonder why

I suppose some genius could explain
Why I walk in the rain
Just let him try

I guess there is a simple explanation
Unless I've come up with a new sensation
It could be that she's caught up with me
And all this mystery I'm speaking of
Is simply that I went and fell in love

Wonder why I haven't been the same
Since I first heard your name
I wonder why

And what's more, I do peculiar things
Like gaze at wedding rings
I wonder why

What makes a man with two left feet a dancer
It takes a wiser man, I guess, to answer
It could be that she's caught up with me
And all this mystery I'm speaking of
Is simply that I went and fell in love.

Many happy returns!

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