Perry Como ~ Mr. Saturday Night!
the essential \
Perry Como 
The Essential Perry Como - UK 2003

He was the essence of cool, literally and metaphorically. When Perry Como's honeyed tones filled the room over several decades of indelible hit recordings, it was as if he'd called at your house to deliver a personal performance, and never even broken sweat in the process.

The apparently effortless but masterfully measured intimacy of Perry's vocal style is long overdue the career reappraisal you are now perusing. Como
commands a place in the VIP lounge of swinging singers, his prodigious catalogue of theme tunes inviting us back into a world that was romantic, unhurried and unselfconsciously high-class.

This collection embraces a massive résumé of hits that began in a mercurial rise to stardom in the war years, blossomed further in the pre-rock 'n' roll era of the early 1950s and extended all the way into the '70s, when Como often outrageously outsold the glam-pop scene-makers of the day. You'll also hear his unique interpretative touch on classics from I've Got You Under My Skin to Close To You, underscoring the full impact of one of America's most beloved and enduring entertainers of the 20th century.

He was born Pierino Como, into a huge family to Italian immigrant parents, in the mining town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on May 18, 1912. And what more appropriate beginnings for a young singer than being apprenticed into barbering at the age of 10 and owning his own barbershop at the age of 14? Perry then branched out to sing with Freddie Carlone's band in his early 20s, and was noticed in 1936 by Chicago bandleader Ted Weems, who gave him a national platform as the singer on a number of wartime favourites for the Decca label.

When Weems' group split in 1942, Perry landed a radio spot as the host of the local CBS show Supper Club, leading to a contract with RCA. When he began recording for them the following year, the impact was immediate and immense. He first appeared on a Billboard chart in August 1943 on RCA's Victor label, for whom, incredibly, he would continue to record for the next 45 years.

With his quixotic baritone complemented by heartthrob looks, Hollywood soon beckoned, too. In 1944, Perry appeared on screen with Carmen Miranda and Phil Silvers in the Cole Porter-scored Something For The Boys. Numerous US chart-toppers followed, including Some Enchanted Evening, and when the UK joined in with its first singles sales charts in the early 1950s, Como's international impact became easier to appreciate. In 1953, he topped the British charts for five weeks with Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes, the gateway to numerous other hits such as Wanted, Papa Loves Mambo and Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom), all included here.

Unlike so many idols of the day, Perry's dreamy vocals would demonstrate a deceptive resilience, even when rock 'n' roll came calling. Some of his biggest, most imperishable singles were created as Elvis mobilized his hips and Jerry Lee stomped on his piano, and Magic Moments, Catch A Falling Star and the coolly-word playing Delaware all became Como signatures.

He recorded and performed far more sporadically in the 1960s, but 1970 brought his first live show for more than two decades, and the beginning of an extraordinary new chapter. As Como approached his 59th birthday, the ballad It's Impossible became one of the surprise hits of 1971, followed by two more interpretations that turned back the clock to charming effect, And I Love You So and For The Good Times.

Como appeared in many TV specials and on disc through the '70s and was still recording for RCA in 1987, at the age of 75. It seemed gently appropriate when this unmatched master of relaxed virtuosity passed away in his sleep, a few days before he'd have turned 89, on May 12, 2001. As you're hearing, his cool romance and unmatched class live on, and always will.

Zomba Records UK Ltd
Zomba House
165-167 High Road
London NW10 2SG
Telephone: +44 20 8459 8899
Fax: +44 20 8451 3900

Album Notes by 
Paul Sexton, Summer 2003

Composer Index
A Perry Como Discography 
& Digital Companion

RCA Victor Memorial| Site Links | All Albums All Songs | The Recording Sessions | Digital Companion |

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Monday, January 18, 2021

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