High Fidelity Magazine
I don't know how Perry Como does it, how he hangs in. But he surely does, singing as calmly, easily, honestly as ever. In no way does he kowtow to the market; yet he makes it work for him.
"It's Impossible" definitely was. Everyone knew it couldn't possibly be a hit, except the public. Then there was another I forget the title. I don't say that Como sells as many singles as Neil Diamond, but both sell. Como's recent success is "And I Love You So" ( the title of this album ), written by Don McLean who also wrote "American Pie" and who is young enough to be Mr. Como's son and then some.
The first reason that Perry Como can sing contemporary songs in a timeless way and make them work is that he chooses extremely well and appears to like what he sings. Another reason is that Como has always been inordinately true to his material. This is precisely the reason that singers such as Steve Lawrence cannot sing contemporary songs convincingly. Lawrence became successful by putting style ahead of song, the how before the what. It worked beautifully until the public's sense of vocal style changed, at which point Lawrence stopped selling records. One cannot be stylish with today's songs. Como has no fixed style. That is his style.
He includes the exquisite "Aubrey" by David Gates of Bread; "Killing Me Softly with Her Song"; "For the Good Times". There are ten in all; you get less music for your money these days; so nu ? The orchestrations are vanilla models of original versions. Como is not trying for inventiveness. He leaves that to the younger, more restless guys.
Como is comfortable. He also sings in tune, with no wavers on the ends of notes. He looks fantastic.
One more thing. From Dennis Day to Elton John, all pop-music artists face the same dilemma; how to stay in business. As the pace of life speeds up, the task becomes even more difficult, so that almost no pop artist stays on top for more than three or four years now. Perry Como gets seven gold medals for sheer endurance.
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