Vic Damone obituary

first_imgOrder by oldest Share on Facebook Since you’re here… Musicals Shares8585 recommendations Tue 13 Feb 2018 11.28 EST Share on Pinterest Pinterest Vito attended Lafayette high school in Brooklyn and also worked delivering groceries from the age of 12. On leaving school, he became an usher at the Paramount theatre in New York. When the up-and-coming Perry Como performed at the Paramount, Vito stopped the lift between floors and asked Como to hear his voice. Como told him to stick with it, so he took his mother’s maiden name to attempt a singing career as Vic Damone. With lessons, he expanded his range and became adept at singing the fashionable ballads of the day: “Sure, I copied Sinatra – who didn’t?”In 1946 Damone had success on a radio talent show hosted by Arthur Godfrey – the music magazine Metronome described him as a “brown-eyed, curly-topped 18-year-old, who even at this young age is a poised performer, a polished singer of popular songs and a name to be reckoned with”. He had his first US hit the following year, with I Have But One Heart, which he sang in Italian and English, and he followed it with Say Something Sweet to Your Sweetheart, a duet with Patti Page.It was thought that Vera Lynn would repeat the success of her 1949 British single Again in the US, but it was Damone’s version that became the hit and his first million-seller. He followed it later that year with another, You’re Breaking My Heart, based on the aria Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo.In 1951, Damone appeared in the film musicals Rich, Young and Pretty with Jane Powell and The Strip with Mickey Rooney and Louis Armstrong. He served for two years in the US army during the Korean war, entertaining the troops in Germany and appearing on the forces’ station AFN. In 1955 Damone co-starred in the lavish Hollywood musicals Hit the Deck and Kismet – in the latter he and Ann Blyth sang Stranger in Paradise.The next year he recorded On the Street Where You Live, a song from the new Broadway success, My Fair Lady. His beautifully controlled vocal resulted in a US Top 10 hit and he also released a successful album, That Towering Feeling!, inspired by the song. Because of copyright restrictions, the record could not be released in the UK until 1958, when My Fair Lady was staged in London. It was a UK No 1, beating off competition from a version by the British singer David Whitfield, and he followed it with a novelty song, The Only Man on the Island, his version of which was outsold by Tommy Steele’s.Damone’s career was affected by changing tastes: he did not have the charisma to ride over them like Sinatra and nor did he want to sing rock’n’roll. He concentrated on albums, but had only occasional success – You Were Only Fooling (1965) was a US Top 30 hit. His label, Warner Brothers, persuaded him to record Tom Jones’s It’s Not Unusual, but his heart was not in it.The Radio 2 presenter David Jacobs staunchly promoted his work in the UK, which led to chart placings for the albums Now (1981) and Vic Damone Sings the Great Songs (1983). Jacobs regarded The Pleasure of Her Company as Damone’s definitive performance.Damone had a stroke in 2000 but recovered sufficiently to undertake a farewell tour which included Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. He retired to Miami and his final performance was at West Palm Beach in 2011.He was divorced four times. His fifth wife, Rena Rowan, whom he married in 1998, died in 2016. His son, Perry (named after Como), from his first marriage, to the Italian actress Pier Angeli, died in 2014. Damone is survived by the three daughters, Victoria, Andrea and Daniella, from his second marriage, to Judy Rawlins.• Vic Damone (Vito Rocco Farinola), singer, born 12 June 1928; died 11 February 2018This article was amended on 17 February 2018. By way of clarification, Mattinata is now described as being an aria by Ruggero Leoncavallo rather than a classical aria. Comments 1 Vic Damone in the 1940s.Photograph: Library Of Congress/AFP/Getty Images Pop and rock obituaries Read more American singer who enjoyed UK chart success with On the Street Where You Live | Pick Twitter Close report comment form Vic Damone sings Gershwin Share on Twitter Last modified on Tue 1 May 2018 07.27 EDT … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. unthreaded Share on Facebook Email (optional) Loading comments… Trouble loading? Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment Mafia Share via Email Show 25 Reason (optional) Reply Twitter Report Topics Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp oldest 14 Feb 2018 23:58 100 New York Share on Messenger Facebook Share on WhatsApp 50 All Pop and rock Reuse this content,View all comments > Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other expanded Share on Twitter Algy Lacey newest Report Support The Guardian 25 Spencer Leigh Share on Facebook 1 2 Although Damone was offered the role of the singer Johnny Fontane, whose career is helped by the mafia, in the film The Godfather (1972), Sinatra persuaded him to turn it down, feeling that the film revealed too much about the mob’s practices. Al Martino took the role instead, and he sang Damone’s hit I Have But One Heart in the film.He was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn, New York, one of five children, and the only son, of Mamie (nee Damone) and Rocco Farinola, who lived in Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. When Mamie was hospitalised with pneumonia in 1931, Rocco taught his son to sing You’re Driving Me Crazy at her bedside. Although Rocco expected Vito to follow him in becoming an electrician, the young boy was more interested in his mother’s skills as a pianist. Vic Damone obituary Share on LinkedIn collapsed Share on Twitter Threads collapsed Share via Email Facebook Sixty years ago, the ballad singer Vic Damone topped the UK charts with On the Street Where You Live. It was an unlikely achievement in the middle of the rock’n’roll era, but it was a perfect song perfectly sung. Damone, who has died aged 89, was regarded as a singer’s singer. Frank Sinatra applauded his technique, saying that he had “the best pair of pipes in the business”.For all the straightforward faultlessness of his romantic singing, Damone led a complicated life, involving tax evasion, gambling debts and links to the mafia. On one occasion, when he broke off his engagement to a mobster’s daughter, he recalled, he was dangled from a hotel window. Not without irony, he titled his autobiography Singing Was the Easy Part (2009). On the Street Where You Live isn’t quite a perfect song – sung by an English character, it should be In the Street . . . comments (1)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. Share View more commentslast_img read more