Kenny Dino was an American singer who achieved short-term fame during the 60s music era. Born Kenneth Diono, singing had often been a part of his life, even as he was on a duty in Iceland as a US Navy officer. During those days Diono sang regularly, and even came out as a runner-up in a talent show where he performed an Elvis Presley song. Upon his return in the US he formed his own ensemble and together they played in Texas and Louisiana. About his own recording career, Dino encountered some struggle. Moving back to his birth place in New York, Diono signed with Dot record label, but his contract was quickly severed, and joined Columbia thereafter. He could have been big, if not for the missed golden opportunities: Diono (as Kenny Dino now) turned down an offer to duet with Paul Simon; he was then offered the song called “Suspicion” (which was sung by Presley in 1962, but became a bigger hit for Terry Stafford in 1964) but Columbia intervened. He later achieved his lone hit,”Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night” in 1961. In 1990 the song was later covered by Led Zeppelin lead vocalist Robert Plant on his solo album Manic Nirvana; it’s said that the song was a great influence for Plant. Dino died from a heart attack in 2009, aged 70.
Short career summary on Kenny Dino
American singer Kenny Dino was born Kenneth J. Diono on July 12, 1939 in Astoria, Queens, New York . Young Dino worked on a farm in Hicksville, Long Island where he and his family moved in 1955. Two years after, he was enlisted in the US Navy and was stationed in Iceland. While on duty in that country, he joined a talent show where he eventually won a runner-up place by performing his own version of a song by Elvis Presley. Returning to the US, he formed an ensemble and embarked on a tour mainly in Texas and Louisiana. Around that time, he was usually performing at the San Antonio Blues Club with Texan musician Doug Sahm.
In 1960, Dino returned to New York and signed a deal with Dot Records but he promptly left the company. Not long after he was signed to Columbia where he turned down the initial offer to do a duet with Paul Simon. Later that point, Dino was offered to perform a cover of Elvis Presley’s original, “Suspicion” but then again, he refused to do the offer. Eventually, “Suspicion” became a big hit for Terry Stafford. Dino also did some demo recordings for Presley, and one of these demos included “Good Luck Charm.”
“Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night” — Dino’s lone hit
In the summer of 1961, Dino released the single “Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night.” Recorded on Musicor imprint, the song peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100. The back-up singers were the three students at New York’s Syosset High School: Lois Green, Leslie Smith and the now theatrical producer, talent manager and press agent Alan Eichler.
Robert Plant of the British rock band Led Zeppelin recorded a cover of the song and he included it on his 1990 solo album Manic Nirvana.
Shortly after Dino’s second gig December 9, 2009, he was found unconscious by the construction workers inside his car after he pulling it over to the side of the road. Around 1 AM on December 10, 2009, Dino was pronounced dead by the Florida Highway Patrol and paramedics. He died from heart attack, aged 70.