Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Vic Damone Passes On

Crooner Vic Damone died on February 11 at the age of 89.

Vic Damone was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn on June 12 1928. Starting when he was 12 years old he had a job of delivering groceries. He attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn. When his father was unable to work due to injuries, he dropped out of school and took a job as an usher at the Paramount Theatre in New  York City.  It was there that he met Perry Como in an elevator and sang for him. Mr. Como encouraged him to continue singing and recommended him to a bandleader. It was then that he took the stage name of "Vic Damone".

It was in 1946 that he appeared on the popular radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He won on the competition on the show. It was in 1947 that he signed with Mercury Records. His first single, "I Have But One Heart", reached no. 7 on the Billboard singles chart. It would be followed by a string of hits that lasted from the late Forties into the late Fifties. He hit no. 1 on the Billboard chart with "You're Breaking My Heart"in 1949 and his cover of "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady reached no. 4 on the chart.

In the Fifties Vic Damone appeared in several movies, including Rich, Young and Pretty (1951), Mizar (1954), Athena (1954), Deep in my Heart (1954), Hit the Deck (1955), Kismet (1955), and Hell to Eternity (1960). While he only made a few movies, Vic Damone appeared frequently on television. He made his television debut on The Morey Amsterdam Show in 1949. He was the host of The Vic Damone Show from 1956 to 1957, The Lively Ones from 1962 to 1963, and The Dean Martin Summer Show Starring Your Host Vic Damone in 1967. Over the years he appeared on such variety shows, talk shows, and games shows as Four Star Revue, The Arthur Murray Party, Texaco Star Theatre Starring Milton Berle, The Perry Como Show, What's My Line?, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Steve Allen Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Judy Garland Show, The Hollywood Palace, The Andy Williams Show, Hollywood Squaresm, and The Mike Douglas Show. He also guest starred in acting roles on such shows as The Alcoa Hour, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, The Rebel, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Red Skelton Show, Jericho, and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.

While Vic Damone would have only a few hit singles following the advent of rock 'n' roll, his career continued strong. In addition to appearing often on television, he released several albums, moving from Mercury Records to Columbia Records in 1955, and then from Columbia Records to Capitol Records in 1961. In 1965 he moved to Warner Bros. Records and only a year later to RCA Victor. In the Seventies he began playing Las Vegas.

Vic Damone never achieved the fame of such fellow Italian crooners as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or even Perry Como, but he had a long career and a good deal of success. He also had one of the best voices in the business. Frank Sinatra himself once said, "If I had one wish, it would be for Vic Damone's tonsils. Vic has the best pipes in the business." Certainly no one else could sing a ballad quite like Vic Damone. His version of "On the Street Where You Live" remains one of the quintessential covers of the song.

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