One-hit wonder Paul Dino and his single “Ginnie Bell”

views

Short career summary

Paul Dino is a former American singer-songwriter and musician, who appeared fleetingly as a teen crooner in the early to mid-1960s. Dino was signed to Promo label, and his single “Ginnie Bell” debuted in January 1961, which eventually broke into the Top 40 that year. Dino took advantage of this success by appearing on shows such as Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Promo didn’t bother to follow up “Ginny Bell”s success however, and Dino would record for a number of labels until his days as a teen idol were over and a new status as a one-hit wonder would loom. Dino and his wife Justine Carrelli (a former regular dancer on American Bandstand) moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where they performed at lounge bookings before going into a successful real estate business.

Paul Dino’s short-lived singing career

One-hit wonder Paul Dino was born Paul Dino Bertuccini on March 2, 1939.

The aspiring barber who, while in high school, became proficient on the sax, piano and drums, soon changed career directions after getting a taste of the music business.

At the start of his career during the late 1950s he formed a band called The Nite Caps, and shortened his name as into professional-sounding Paul Dino. He also wrote his own songs and had several attempts to beckon various labels with his own material. Finally Addit/Promo label, owned by Bill Lasley, gave Dino a chance. He eventually worked and recorded the first three songs, but the big bosses at Promo asked for a fourth. So Dino wrote a song called “Ginnie Bell” – in a dash. Funnily enough, the big brasses liked the impromptu fourth song, and so picked it up for release.

Sometime in 1960, now attempting to break into the recording business as a solo vocalist using his own material, he got an audition with Bill Lasley of the tiny Addit/Promo Records operation where he cut three of his own compositions. And when it was relayed to him that they would like a fourth side in the event they decided to release any as singles, he quickly came up with a tune on site ultimately titled Ginnie Bell.

When he got back home to Philadelphia, he figured that would be it as the record was likely to go nowhere after its late 1960 release. But a funny thing happened on the way to the radio stations – the DJs liked it enough to give it sufficient play to the extent that, combined with record sales and jukebox play, it peaked at # 38 Billboard Pop Hot 100 in February-March 1961. It also got him on American Bandstand where he just so happened to meet his future wife, Bandstand dancer Justine Carrelli.

Paul Dino’s short-lived singing career

One-hit wonder Paul Dino was born Paul Dino Bertuccini on March 2, 1939.

At the start of his career during the late 1950s he formed a band called The Nite Caps, and shortened his name as into professional-sounding Paul Dino. He also wrote his own songs and had several attempts to beckon various labels with his own material. Finally Addit/Promo label, owned by Bill Lasley, gave Dino a chance. He eventually worked and recorded the first three songs, but the big bosses at Promo asked for a fourth. So Dino wrote a song called “Ginnie Bell” – in a dash. Funnily enough, the big brasses liked the impromptu fourth song, and so picked it up for release.

Dino’s only hit single “Ginnie Bell”

classic turntable image

“Ginnie Bell” was released as a single in December 1960, with another teenage-oriented song, “Bye-Bye” as the B-side. The label assiduously promoted the new song by running large ads on Billboard, where it was mistakenly prited as “Ginny Bell.” It left Dino in incredulity, because he thought why would the executives prefer “Ginny Bell,” in an off-the-cuff manner, over those three previous songs that he worked so hard to prepare? But the big bosses at Promo had smelled an imminent hit, and they would never be wrong. Besides, Promo knew the power of the teenage market, so they were going to bet on “Ginny Bell.”

“Ginny Bell” debuted on the Billboard charts on January 23, 1961. Eventually it climbed all the way to its peak position at #38 later that year.

On the strength of the song’s success, Dino performed on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, where he also met one of the show’s resident dancers Justine Carrelli, who was the 14 at that time. The blonde bombshell was also a model who had been featured on several magazines. She left the show afterward and married Dino, dampening the dreams of her male admirers.

There were no further hits for Paul Dino. Promo didn’t even bother to issue a follow-up. About a year later Phil Spector, getting ready to bolt from his A&R position with Liberty Records, came across a song Dino had written, “Na-Ne-No” (more nonsense syllables!), producing and arranging it for singer Troy Shondell (the “This Time” guy) as the singer’s third single (give this catchy song at least three listens and I guarantee you’ll be humming it all day). It showed up on the “Bubbling Under” chart for a couple of weeks in June ’62, a second appearance for Paul Dino somewhere on a national chart, at least.

By the time “Na-Ne-No” came out, Paul and Justine had moved to Las Vegas. The Paul Dino Group was a regular attraction at the Fremont Hotel (in those days the tallest building in Nevada) in its Carnival Room (where Wayne Newton had frequently appeared starting in 1959 while he was still in high school). Justine was a “featured performer,” serving as a backup singer, also doing the twist and other current dances while Dino and the band lit up the lounge. His recording and songwriting career hadn’t ended just yet, either; he hooked up with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced the summer ’62 single “That’s How I Miss You,” a pure teen ballad on United Artists, his only record released by a major record company. “Goin’ in Town” (actually ‘Goin’ TO Town’ in the song’s lyrics) came out on the mysterious Flame label and “I Like Your Style” appeared in 1963 on another small label, Entré.

Once the Vegas lounge bookings ran their course, Paul Dino and his longtime love Justine stayed in the Gambling Capital. She had remained good friends with Dick Clark, seeing him socially with his wife Kari Wigton when they visited Las Vegas during the ’70s and ’80s. “Ginnie Bell” was a distant memory, nonexistent on oldies stations and of interest only to diehard collectors and obsessive music fans like myself. The couple ventured into a new line of work: real estate. Nice timing, as the city’s population boom was on the horizon.

Later life

Despite the success of “Ginnie Bell” on the charts, Promo didn’t bother to follow it up with another single and Dino would record for a number of labels like United Artists (his only major label), Flame and Entree. One of his songs, “Na-Na-No”, was produced by Phil Spector and recorded by Troy Shondell in 1962. With his days as a teen singer coming to an end, the Dinos moved to Las Vegas where they sang and performed at luxury lounges and hotel before entering into real estate business, where they flourished. Dino’s wife Justine had remained friends with Clark and his wife, Kari Wigton.

Paul Dino passed away on October 14, 2022 at the age of 87. He is survived by his sons, Paul Bertuccini, John Bertuccini and Dino; his granddaughters, Christina Bertuccini and Ava Rose Bertuccini; and his wife Justine Carelli.

Share this
Tags

Must-read

Why Does Beer Taste Better When Ice Cold?

You've probably noticed that beer tastes much better when it's ice cold, but have you ever wondered why? The answer lies in the science of temperature and its effect on the perception of flavors. When beer is chilled the cold temperature numbs the taste buds slightly, which can make the beer taste crisper and less bitter. This cooling effect can also...

Chang Beer: Thailand’s Beloved Brew

Known for its unique blend and global acclaim, discover what makes Chang Beer Thailand's beloved brew since 1995.

Kozel: The Czech Republic’s Smooth and Flavorful Beer

Mix your ideal blend with Kozel, the Czech Republic's smooth and flavorful beer, and discover a new world of taste.

Recent articles

More like this