Martin, the Maestro ... in English and Italian; Dean Martin (Left) and Frank Sinatra (Right) with Sammy Davis Jr

Daily Mail (London), January 2, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Martin, the Maestro ... in English and Italian; Dean Martin (Left) and Frank Sinatra (Right) with Sammy Davis Jr


Byline: Charles Legge

Martin, the maestro ... in English and Italian

QUESTION

Did legendary Italian-American singers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin record anysongs in the Italian language?

DINO Paul Crocetti, born the son of an immigrant barber on June 7, 1917, inSteubenville, Ohio, spoke only Italian until the age of five, and was bulliedat school for his broken English.

At 16, he went to work in the steel mills. As a boxer, under the name KidCrochet, he fought a few amateur bouts and delivered bootleg liquor. Landing ajob as a croupier in a speakeasy, he made his first connections with theunderworld, bringing him into contact with club owners all over the Midwest.

He had a nose job and set out to become a crooner, initially calling himselfDean Martini, modelled on his acknowledged idol, Bing Crosby.

Hired by bandleader Sammy Watkins, he dropped the second 'i' from his stagename and eventually enjoyed success on the New York club circuit, winning overaudiences with his loose, mellow vocal style, singing in both Italian andEnglish.

When he hit the big time and secured his own TV show he would often get intotrouble as the show's loose format encouraged quickwitted improvisation fromthe cast.

He occasionally made remarks in Italian, some of them obscenities, whichbrought angry mail from offended Italian-speaking viewers.

Some of his songs feature both Italian and American lyrics, the best knownexample being Volare: Volare, oh oh E contare, oh oh oh oh No wonder my happyheart sings Your love has given me wings Penso che un sogno cosi non ritornimai piu Mi dipingevo le mani e la faccia di blu Poi d'improvviso venivo dalvento rapito E incominciavo a volare nel cielo infinito But he didn't recordmany purely Italian songs. The album Dean Martin's Italian Love Songs includesa number of standards such as Volare and Luna Mezzo Mare, but also Englishtranslations.

Jean Dandy, Milton Keynes, Bucks.

FRANCIS Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey,the only child of Sicilian- American boxer Anthony Martin Sinatra (1894)1969)and Natalie Dolly Garaventa (1896-1977).

Hoboken was mostly Irish at the time and Italians were generally looked downon. Consequently when his mother bought a bar they named it O'Brien's and hisfather took the name of Marty O'Brien so they would fit in better. Franktherefore never learned Italian.

There were, however, a few occasions when he was asked to sing in Italian,which he attempted to do using phonics.

In 1962 he was invited to produce an album of Italian songs, with Don Costaproviding the arrangements.

Among the songs Sinatra tried were Anema E Core, Torna A Surriento (which hehad done as Come Back To Sorrento for Columbia), Al Di L-, O Sole Mio andMamma..Sinatra shelved the project as he struggled with the phonetical learning.However, the sessions led to the idea of the Sinatra Sings Great Songs FromGreat Britain LP which materialised in the June 1962 London sessions.

Also in 1962 he made a series of TV ads for Perugina Chocolate Candy. Though hesang some of his standards for these ads, such as Come Fly With Me, Night AndDay and Witchcraft, after each song he said: 'Grazie a tutti voi, e tantibaci.' (Thank you to everyone, and lots of kisses.) However, even this waslip-synched by an Italian for authenticity.

Dan Reeves-Browne, Bristol.

QUESTION

In the film Working Girl, with Melanie Griffith, the closing shot is of her inan office block which, as the camera pans out, looks very close to the WorldTrade Centre.

Was this office block one of those destroyed on 9/11?

THIS building was 7 World Trade Centre, across from the World Trade Centre sitein Lower Manhattan. The original 7 WTC was a 610ft 47-storey building, designedby Emery Roth & Sons, with a red granite facade.

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