Perry Como ~ early 50s studio portrait

Relaxing with Perry Como

RCA VICTOR LPM-1176
MONAURAL MATRIX NO. F2PP-7439/40
ASSEMBLED IN 1956
 
Perry Como
With Orchestra and Chorus

Not long ago a hardened Broadway talent agent said, "If I was the State Department, what would I do? I’d take this Perry Como guy and send him to every country in the world — as a sort of an Abe Lincoln of American pop singers. Twenty years ago, what was he doing? He was cutting hair — fifteen bucks a week! And now — one million, count ‘em, American dollars per year! A success that Horatio Alger could not have even dreamed of! The most popular singer in the world whose records have sold more copies than those of anyone else — the staggering total of 400,000,000 discs! Plus the highest rating ever achieved by any vocal artist in the history of TV! Plus an ideal marriage with a lovely wife and three kids. Plus the fact that everybody, from the president of the company down to the page who ushers his fans around, calls him ‘Perry.’ Is that is, I am asking you, or is that not American democracy at it’s best?"

And it would be hard to find anyone who would not agree with that evaluation, for the relaxed Mr. C. is not only the Number One interpreter of popular music but is also probably the nicest and unaffected guy in the entire vicious welter of show business.

When you consider its scope, the field of American popular music does have a surprisingly large number of very different interpreters. Amid all the trends of the times there stands out the honeyed baritone of Perry Como singing away hit after hit as eloquently, as beautifully and as effectively in 1956 as he was doing in 1946 — indeed, perhaps even more so.

His secret? Perhaps more than anything else it is his unique, and typical, relaxed presentation of songs. Other singers take vocal lessons and spend a great deal of time practicing. Perry, on the other hand, merely saunters into the studio, opens his mouth and there you have one best-selling record after the next, as smooth and rich, as mellow and effortless as the most fastidious aficionado could desire.

Pierino Ronald Como was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Although he always like to sing, his first great ambition was to be the best darned barber in all Canonsburg. After graduation from high school, he opened his own tonsorial establishment that featured the special Como haircuts plus some mighty pleasing Como singing in the background. In 1933 Perry joined Freddy Carlone’s band in Ohio and three years later moved up to Ted Weems’ Orchestra and his first record dates.

In 1942 Weems dissolved his band and Perry went on to CBS where he sang for a couple of years without any conspicuous success. By this time the erstwhile barber had definitely decided to return to Canonsburg, his family and his barbering. Just as Perry was about to abandon his singing career once and for all, Fate in the person of two NBC producers felicitously stepped in and wheedled him back into show business — specifically for the NBC "Supper Club," followed by very successful theatre and night club engagements.

Came 1945 and Como’s practically perfect reading of the Buddy Kaye-Ted Mossman pop ballad, ‘Till the End of Time (based of course on Chopin’s "Polonaise"), and the rest is not only recording but also TV history: Perry is the only artist who has ever had "ten" records to go over the magic million-copies mark (including, incidentally, ‘Till the End of Time, Prisoner of Love, Because, When You Were Sweet Sixteen and Temptation — all in this album) and, although he is "just a singer," as he puts it, his television show has achieved a much higher rating than that of any other vocalist so far. Can any other barber equal that record? !

 
Duncan MacDougald, Jr.
Copyright 1956, Radio Corporation of America

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Relaxing With Perry Como ~ 1956Supper Club Favorites ~ 1953TV Favorites ~ Original Album 1952

| Relaxing With Perry Como | Supper Club Favorites | TV Favorites | Large View |

| 1940s | Early 50s | Late 50s | Early 60s | Late 60s | Early 70s | Late 70s | 1980s |

Composer Index
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First Edition Summer 1992
Second Edition Christmas 1993
Web Page Edition Christmas 1997
Revision Christmas 2011
 
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Friday, December 09, 2011