60s Music

Biography of Vic Damone

Traditional pop singer Vic Damone

Vic Damone
Publicity photo of singer Vic Damone. (Source: Wikipedia)

Vic Damone (born in 1928) is an Italian-American traditional pop singer-songwriter and also a sometime television personality and actor. From the 40s  to the 50s music era Damone had several hits with Mercury including “I Have But One Heart,” “You Do,” “Again,” “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “My Bolero,” “My Heart Cries,” “My Truly, Truly Fair,” “Here In My Heart,” “April In Portugal,” “Ebb Tide.” Needless to say, his hits have become oldies music favorites. He then recorded for Columbia, Warner, and RCA, with a smattering of a few major hits and several minor ones. Damone has also acted in films and on TV occasionally. He then became one of the attractions around the Las Vegas circuit, and extended his popularity throughout the country and abroad as well. Since then he has been still active in recording and more especially on touring.

Traditional pop singer Vic Damone

Vic Damone (born in 1928) is an Italian-American traditional pop singer-songwriter and also a sometime television personality and actor. From 1947 to 1953 Damone had several hits with Mercury including “I Have But One Heart,” “You Do,” “Again,” “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “My Bolero,” “My Heart Cries,” “My Truly, Truly Fair,” “Here In My Heart,” “April In Portugal,” “Ebb Tide.” He then recorded for Columbia, Warner, and RCA, with a smattering of a few major hits and several minor ones. Damone has also acted in films and on TV occasionally. He then became one of the attractions around the Las Vegas circuit, and extended his popularity throughout the country and abroad as well. Since then he has been still active in recording and more especially on touring.

Early life and career

Vic Damone was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn, New York on June 12, 1928. He was the son of Italian immigrants. He took his last stage name “Damone” from his mother’s maiden name. One of his earliest and strongest influences is the iconic “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra, another Italian-American. Because of Sinatra, Damone became interested in music, and eventually began taking voice lessons.

Damone worked as an usher and elevator operator in Manahattan’s Paramount theater, where he also met star Perry Como, who recommended Damone to a local bandleader. Soon Damone won on the TV talent search show Arthur Godfrey Show and had his first recording contract with Mercury.

 


 

Steady stream of hits for Mercury Records

His debut single released on Mercury was “I Have But One Heart” sold well and peaked at #7 on the Billboard chart in 1947. Following singles remained steady and strong on the charts in the years 1947 to 1950: “You Do” (#7 pop), “It’s Magic” (#24 pop), “Again” (#6 pop), his first #1 hit “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “Four Winds and Seven Seas” (#16 pop), “My Bolero” (#10 pop) which is one of his most famous songs, “Why Was I Born?” (#20 pop), “Sitting by the Window” (#29 pop), “God’s Country” (#27 pop), “Vagabond Shoes” (#17 pop), “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena” (#7 pop) which was his cover of the Weavers’ rendering of an Israeli folk song, “Just Say I Love Her” (#13 pop), “Cincinnati Dancing” (#11 pop), “Can Anyone Explain (No! No! No!)” (#25 pop), “Music by the Angels” (#18 pop), “My Heart Cries for You” (#4 pop)

In 1951, Damone also inked a film contract with MGM with whom he made two films, The Srip and Rich, the latter being a musical. Damone returned to the charts with another bundle of hits: “Tell Me You Love Me” (#21 pop), “If” (#28 pop), “My Truly, Truly Fair” (#4 pop), “Longing for You” (#12 pop), “Wonder Why” (#21 pop) and “Calla Calla” (#13 pop). However, later that year Damone was drafted into the military and in 1953 he was serving his duties.

During Damone’s absence from the spotlight, Mercury made good on this by releasing previously recorded material. They include “Jump Through the Ring” (#22 pop), “Here in My Heart” (#8 pop), “Take My Heart” (#30 pop), and Rosanne (#23 pop).

Following Damone’s return to showbiz, he continued on his string of hits. Initially, he weathered pretty well in the budding rock and roll era. Hits include “Sugar” (#13 pop), “April in Portugal” (#10 pop), “Eternally (The Song from Limelight)” (#12 pop), and “Ebb Tide” (#10 pop).s He also appeared in more films Athena, Deep in My Heart, Kismet and Hit the Deck, and guested on Milton Berle’s TV show.

 

 

Damone’s move to Columbia, Capitol and Warner Bros.

However, Damone was running out of hit singles, which caused his Mercury to drop him. He signed to Columbia in 1956, and scored his first hit there, “On the Street Where You Live” which climbed to #4 on the US chart, and even hit the top spot on the UK singles chart. Also that same year, his LP That Towering Feelinginched its way into the Top 20 Billboard album chart. He even got to host his own show that lasted in 1956-1957.

Damone’s career came to a virtual halt when rock and roll soon dominated the airwaves. As a result, he was evetually forced to try to recreate his image as a “cover” artist, interpreting other artist’s songs geared for the adult audience. After Columbia, he moved to Capitol Records, who had just lost Frank Sinatra. His years in Capitol gave Damone one of his strongest albums, including Linger Awhile with Vic Damone and The Lively Ones. Although both chated on the Billboard’s Top 100 albums, Damone otherwise failed to win a new generation of audiences. Damone moved to Warner Bros., where he scored his final Top 40 hit pop single “You Were Only Fooling Me (While I was Falling in Love)” which reached #30 in 1965 (and #8 on the adult contemporary chart). After that, Damone’s days on the charts were practically over.

Damone’s performing career in Las Vegas and beyond

When his chart hits were behind him, another lucrative offer came in Damone’s way. In 1971, Damone made his first major apparance in Las Vegas and since then he had been making shows and appearances on the casino circuit. Initially a star in Las Vegas, soon he had been touring in many nightclubs around the country. This helped him greatly to straighten out his financial difficulties starting from his bankruptcy which he declared in the early 1970s.

Career revival

In the 1980s, Damone’s career even experienced a revival in the UK, and in order to capitalize this he embarked an extensive tour there. His final album was released in 2002. His other previous albums have also been repackaged and re-released. Not wanting to be left behind in this new technology, Damone reached out to his fans, old and young, through the launch of his own official website and Facebook page. He has recorded over two-thousand songs in his career.

Damone must be really honored when his idol Frank Sinatra commented that Damone had “the best set of pipes in the business.” Damone has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California.

 

 

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