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Thread: Al Martino

  1. #1
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    Al Martino

    Al Martino, Godfather singer who had first British No 1, dies aged 82


    (Tommy Dixon/Times Newspapers Ltd)



    Al Martino: celebrated the first British No 1 with Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra






    div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited { color:#06c; } Al Martino, the singer who played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontanein the film The Godfather, has died at the age of 82.
    The Italian-American crooner was known for his hit songs Here in My Heart, Spanish Eyes, Canít Help Falling in Love and Volare, in a career that spanned more than five decades.
    He was No 1 in the first ever UK singles chart in 1952 with the song Here In My Heart, and kept the top spot for nine weeks.
    Besides acting opposite Marlon Brando in the classic 1972 Mafia movie, Martino sang the filmís title score, I Have but One Heart (O Marenariello), also known as The Love Theme from The Godfather. His Fontane character is a singer and actor who is the godson of Don Vito Corleone, Brandoís Mafia boss character.
    Martino was born in South Philadelphia as Alfred Cini, and worked as a bricklayer in his parents' masonry business as a young man. He served in the US Marines during the Second World War, and was wounded during the invasion of Iwo Jima.
    Alfredo Cocozza, who became an international opera star under the stage name Mario Lanza, was one of Martino's childhood friends and after the war inspired him to try to forge a career in singing.
    He moved to New York in 1948, and came to prominence after winning a television talent show, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, with a rendition of Perry Como's hit song If.
    Martino was on stage at the London Palladium when someone interrupted his set to tell him the news of his No 1. To celebrate he spent the evening at a party at the Dorchester Hotel, where he chatted to Winston Churchill, who told him the song was one of his favourites, and danced with Sinatra and Ava Gardner.
    The resulting popularity propelled him to a record deal with Capitol Records, but his career took a setback when his contract was taken over by a Mafia-connected management team, which ordered Martino to pay $75,000 as a safeguard for its investment.
    Martino made a down payment to ensure his family's safety, then fled to the UK where he continued to perform successfully for a time, headlining at the London Palladium.
    It was not until 1958 that, thanks to the intervention of a family friend, Martino was allowed to return home and resume his recording career. It was an uphill struggle until 1963 when his hit I Love You Because paved the way for a comeback. He recorded Spanish Eyes in 1965, and it still remains one of the 50 most-played songs worldwide.
    Jerry Blavat, a Philadelphia radio and television personality who dined with Martino and his wife on Monday night, said that his friend had appeared to be in fine shape and that he was shocked when he learnt of the singerís death.
    "He was the last of the show business legends," said Mr Blavat, who has played Martinoís songs on the radio for years. "There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice."
    A longtime resident of Beverly Hills, California, Martino died at his childhood home in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield, in Delaware County, according to Sandy Friedman, a spokesman. He did not mention the cause of death.

  2. #2
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    Al Martino as the singer Johhny Fontane in The Godfather in 1972. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Paramount

    The American singer and actor Al Martino, who had the UK's first No 1 record, has died at the age of 82.
    His song Here in My Heart took the top spot when the New Musical Express introduced its chart in November 1952, and stayed there for nine weeks.
    Though 50 years have passed, only six singles have stayed at No 1 for longer, most notably Everything I Do (I Do It for You) by Bryan Adams, which topped the charts for 16 weeks.
    Martino died at his childhood home in Philadelphia. A former bricklayer, he played Johnny Fontane, a role inspired by Frank Sinatra, in the 1972 film The Godfather and sang the title score, The Love Theme from the Godfather. His character in the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola classic, which starred Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, is a singer and occasional actor and the godson of Brando's mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone.
    Despite his brush with the acting profession, Martino was best known as a jazz crooner. His other hits included Spanish Eyes, Can't Help Falling in Love and Volare, but Here in My Heart remained his only UK No 1. His last rendezvous with the charts came in 1973, with a re-release of Spanish Eyes.
    Martino's chart career in the US was stalled by the growth of rock'n'roll in the late 1950s, but he returned during the 1960s with a run of Billboard hits.
    In the 1980s he left his record company and continued to perform on the club circuit.
    His most recent album, Style, was made nine years ago.
    The Italian-American crooner, born Alfred Cini, was one of a number of south Philadelphia-born singers, including Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Chubby Checker.

  3. #3
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    My Mom had the screaming hots for this man.

  4. #4
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    RIP Al.
    Do not knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run. He hates that.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16


  5. #5
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    RIP Al!
    I remember him being a frequent guest on the Mike Douglas show.
    Volare is one of my favorite songs!
    I think I might have been Italian in another life!
    Regards,
    Mary

  6. #6
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    As a boy, I remember all the albums my mother had by Al Martino (1960's). Both my parents liked his music.
    Heath nuts are going to feel stupid someday; lying in hospitals dying of nothing

  7. #7
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    C'mon! You all sing along with "Spanish eyes". Admit it..........

  8. #8
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    I know Elvis Presley covered some of his songs.
    I learned of "Mary in the morning' because Elvis covered it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KBB3T27huE

    was this song about Mary Jane?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nelliebean View Post
    C'mon! You all sing along with "Spanish eyes". Admit it..........
    How did you know??

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