Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jerry Vale R.I.P.

Crooner Jerry Vale, who had a string of hit songs in the Fifties, died on 18 May 2014 at the age of 83.

Jerry Vale was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano on 8 July 1930 in the Bronx, New York City. As a teenager he worked as an oiler alongside his father, who was an engineer. With his father he worked on excavations for such projects as a sewage plant in Oyster Bay, on Long Island. As a teenager he also started performing in supper clubs around New York City. He was eventually signed to Columbia Records. His first hit was "You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart", which went to #23 on the Billboard singles chart in 1953.

He would have several more hits in the Fifties, including "Two Purple Shadows", "You Don't Know Me", and "Pretend You Don't See Her". His first album was Girl Meets Boy (with Peggy King and Felicia Sanders) in 1955. He recorded three more albums in the Fifties. Ultimately Jerry Vale would record over 50 albums throughout his career.

Like many crooners Jerry Vale would see his career decline in the Sixties with the growing popularity of rock 'n' roll. While his singles no longer hit the Billboard Hot 100, however, they regularly hit the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. (originally known as "Easy Listening"). His biggest hit of the decade was "Have You Looked into Your Heart", which went to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. He also made the Adult Contemporary chart with the singles "For Mama", "Tears Keep On Falling", "Where Were You When I Needed You", "Deep in My Heart", "Less Than Tomorrow", "It'll Take a Little Time", "Dommage, Dommage (Too Bad, Too Bad)", and others.

Jerry Vale ceased having hit singles in the early Seventies and his final album was Free as the Wind in 1974. He continued to perform live for years. He also made cameos in the Matin Scorsese films Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).

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