If there was a book entitled Quintessential Crooners Dean Martins face would have to adorn the cover. Dean career covered the full gamut.. comedian, actor, singer and all round entertainer but it is his occupation as a vocalist that were concerned with here.
Dean (born Dino Crocetti) was born in 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio. In his early years Dean worked as a gas station attendant, a steel worker and, amongst other jobs, as a welterweight boxer. He also did a stint as a croupier which meant he spent a lot of time at casinos where he was first exposed to entertainers. Around August of 1934 his friends coaxed him up onto the stage to sing a tune and the rest, as they say, is history. A few years later Dino took on the stage name Dean Martin.
Dean spent about 10 years as the straight man in the comedy duo starring him and Jerry Lewis. In the 40s they were probably the most successful comedy team in the world. About 10 years later they had had enough of each other. Their last act was at the Copcabana in New York on July 24, 1956.
During those years Dean had an amazing career as a singer recording such hits as "I'll Always Love You", "If", "When You're Smiling", "Oh Marie", "I'd Cry Like a Baby", "Sway", " Memories Are Made of This", and the ever loving, "That's Amore." In the early sixties Dean became one of the Rat Pack along with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. , performing in various Vegas hot spots. His shows always sold out. If I had to choose the song that Dean was most identified with it would have to be Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes In August of 1964 Martin supplanted the Beatles at the top of the charts with this one. Youre Nobody till Somebody Loves you is also a well remembered Dean Martin standard.
It was in the sixties that Dean began his television show which was also tremendously successful. Dean didnt like to rehearse for the show preferring to golf while everyone else sweated out their lines. AND this is the interesting thing about Dean...He wasnt much of a party animal even though that is what his image projected. He preferred the company of people outside of show business during his leisure hours.
Dean lost his son, Dino Jr., in a plane crash in 1987. It was the loss of his son that many claim was the change in Dean's outlook. He was losing the desire to perform, and later retired from show business. Dean spent most of his time during retirement watching TV, golfing, and just loafing around. He could be seen quite often dining out, where anyone could approach him for an autograph or just shake his hand. He was always very happy to meet his fans, and was often amazed that people still remembered him.
Dean Martin passed away on Christmas morning, 1995 due to acute respiratory failure. The years of smoking, and singing in smoke filled nightclubs took it's toll on him.
I worked on a couple of Deans tunes but in the end I decided to record a version of Sway a rhythmic latin number that Michael Buble recently produced. It is the Buble version that I favored here but, of course I couldnt leave well enough alone so you will hear a few strains of Santana inspired guitar riffs here and there. Hope you enjoy it...feel free to get up and salsa on the table...
-Brian K. Forrest