The Life and Music of Toni Arden


Introduction to Toni Arden

Toni Arden (born Antoinette Ardizzone) is a popular American singer who had many hit records during the late 40’s and 50’s music era.  Toni grew up in a musical family, her father being a singer with the New York Metropolitan Opera.  He gave Toni and her brother, Jan Arden, singing lessons by teaching them breathing and diaphragm lessons.  She learned well and at the tender age of 15 years old, began singing at nightclub’s with her mother as chaperone.  Not long after that, at age 16, she auditioned for Al Trace and His Silly Symphonists for the female singer job, she won out over a half dozen other girls.  With Al Trace’s group she began recording records and soon had her own solo recording contract with National Records.  She quickly moved on to the larger Columbia Records company and had her first big hit (#7 Billboard Pop Chart) “I Can Dream, Can’t I”, followed by “Kiss of Fire” (#14), “Too Young” (#15), “I’m Yours” (#24) and “Are You Satisfied?” (#78).  Toni’s biggest hit, however, came some time later with the 1958 Decca Records million selling single, “Padre” (#13).   Not much of Toni’s music had ever been released on record albums, but recently three compilation albums have been released putting many of her popular singles on compact disc for the first time.  They are the Jasmine Records, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?:  A Singer’s Singer” as well as the Sepia Records, “This Is Toni Arden” & “Besame! Toni Arden in Latin America.”  Years ago Vic Damone gave Toni the title of “A Singer’s Singer” which has most appropriately stuck with her through the years.  Other Toni Arden Hit Songs:  “Mother, Mother, Mother (Pin a Rose on Me),” “My Man”, They’re Playing Our Song,” “A Little Love, A Little Kiss,” “Rain,” “If You Turn Me Down,” “Invitation to a Broken Heart,” “Too Young,” “Too Late Now,” “Little Child,” “Come Back to Sorrento,” “Dark Is the Night,” “Wonder Why,” “Never,” “Once,” “Heart of Stone-Heart of Wood,” “There’s Always My Heart,”  “Blow Out the Candle,” “Where Did the Night Go? (with Jan Arden),” “Take My Heart,” “Tell Your Tale, Nightingale,” “Sweet Forgiveness,” “Take a Chance,” “Kiss,” “It’s Not Their Heartache (It’s Mine),” “Take Me Now,” “I Wish I Knew,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Where the Rolling Mountains Meet the Rolling Sea,” “In Paris and in Love,” “Cry, My Heart,” “I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” “Beware,” “I’ll Step Aside,” “Window,” “Desire Me,” “All at Once,” “You’re Not Losing a Daughter, Mama,” “Just for Once,” “If You’re Heart Doesn’t Dance, “Without Love (There Is Nothing)” & “Why, Why, Why.” 

Toni Arden in her early days

American traditional pop music singer Toni Arden was born Antoinette Ardizzone was born on February 15, 1925 in Manhattan, New York. She probably inherited her musical talents from her father Phillip Ardizzone who was also a singer who used to perform at the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala. She became a big band singer and sang with Al Trace, Joe Reichman, Ray Bloch and Shep Fields. During the late 1950’s, she would together with her brother Jan at local night clubs.

Arden entering the recording industry

In 1946, Arden was launched as a solo recording artist in the small recording company National Records. She was then signed to a major record label Columbia Records after being spotted on Doorway to Fame, a television talent series. Out of the 20, 000 amateurs who performed in Doorway to Fame’s two-year run, it was only Arden who made it to the music business and achieved fame.

Arden’s hit singles and later years

“I Can’t Dream, Can I?” was first released in 1937 and included in a flop musical Right This Way. In 1949, Arden did a version of the song that would become her debut single and first hit, charting at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also featured Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra and Choir. In 1951, Arden continued to achieve several hit records on the Billboard Hot 100 chart such as “”Kiss of Fire” (#14), “Too Young” (#15) and “I’m Yours” #24. By the mid-1950’s, she had her own show titled The Toni Arden Show which was broadcast on several local stations.

Leaving Columbia Records in the mid-1950’s, Arden moved to Decca Records. She achieved her biggest hit with her million-selling record “Padre” in 1958; it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Further LP’s were released on Decca wherein Arden sang in both English and Italian: “Miss Toni Arden,”  “Sing a Song of Italy” and “Italian God.”

On May 29, 2012, Arden, once called a “singer’s singer” by Frank Sinatra, died at her home in Lake Worth, Fla. She was 88 years old.

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