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Thread: Al Martino RIP

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England Maurice's Avatar
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    ceefax



    US singer Al Martino, who scored the UK's first number one record, has died at the age of 82.



    His song HERE IN MY HEART took top spot when the New Musical Express introduced its chart in November 1952 and stayed there for nine weeks.



    Martino, who also played Johnny Fontane in 1972 film THE GODFATHER, died at his childhood home in Philadelphia.



    The former bricklayer's other hits included SPANISH EYES, CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE and VOLARE.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    First chart-topper Al Martino dies

    BBC News

    BBC NEWS | Entertainment | First chart-topper Martino dies










    US singer Al Martino, who scored the UK's first number one record, has died at the age of 82.



    His song, Here In My Heart, took top spot when the New Musical Express introduced its chart in November 1952 and stayed there for nine weeks.



    Martino, who also played Johnny Fontane in 1972 film The Godfather, died at his childhood home in Philadelphia.



    The former bricklayer's other hits included Spanish Eyes, Can't Help Falling in Love and Volare.



    He also recorded the title tune to The Godfather and reprised his role as the singer godson of Don Vito Corleone - played by Marlon Brando - in the 1974 sequel The Godfather Part II.



    Martino - who was born Alfred Cini - also performed the track featured in the first film's wedding scene.





    Martino is credited as one of the great Italian-American crooners



    In 1952, the singer performed at the London Palladium and was planning a return for the 50th anniversary of his landmark hit, according to publicist Sandy Friedman.



    The nine-week run of his UK hit has since been beaten by only four singles, including Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams, which topped the chart for 16 weeks in 1991.



    Here In My Heart remained his only UK number one, and his last brush with the chart came in 1973 with a re-release of Spanish Eyes.



    The crooner's chart career in the US was stalled by the growth of rock'n'roll in the late 1950s, but he returned during the 1960s with a run of Billboard hits.



    In the 1980s he left his record company and continued to perform on the club circuit.



    His most recent album, Style, was made nine years ago.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    He was good in the Godfather.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    Very sad news indeed. He was in the UK not long ago and still achieving full houses. 2009 has been a terrible year.

  5. #5
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    Spanish Eyes was a real favourite. R.I.P Al

  6. #6
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    I am a huge fan of his and seen him 5 times in the past four years. Devastating news.

    You were the best Al. R.I.P.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England Tonch's Avatar
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    Until chatting with my dad (a retired builder) this morning, I did not know that one of his ex workmates had worked with Al Martino (former bricklayer) on the sea wall defences at Runswick Bay North of Whitby. This was around the end of the war, during which Martino had been a PoW having fought for the Italians. Apparently even back then he was acquiring quite a reputation as a talented singer.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: England Santonix's Avatar
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    One of the great Crooners. Sad to see him go. R.I.P.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Another great singer for us to mourn the loss of this year. It's only a couple of weeks ago that Mary Travers died (Peter, Paul and Mary). Gold DJ Dean Martin will be upset as he interviewed him a few times. A lot of Al's songs were included on TIME-LIFE's Lifetime of Romance compilations. I love Spanish Eyes of couse but this is the one I've enjoyed discovering in recent years, Mary in the Morning, which I remember Glen Campbell singing. Enjoy this rare Live version from the sadly-late singer:



    [ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=11Yl5KyB0wo&feature=related]YouTube - Al Martino - Mary In The Morning (live)[/ame]

    US #27 in 1967



    It was Al that had the original hit version of I Love You Because:

    [ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=ck796TNJ2jo]YouTube - Al Martino - I Love You Because[/ame]

    US #3 in 1963



    Al Martino

  10. #10
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='Tonch']Until chatting with my dad (a retired builder) this morning, I did not know that one of his ex workmates had worked with Al Martino (former bricklayer) on the sea wall defences at Runswick Bay North of Whitby. This was around the end of the war, during which Martino had been a PoW having fought for the Italians. Apparently even back then he was acquiring quite a reputation as a talented singer.
    According to other sources (Wikipedia) he served in the US Marines and was wounded in the landings on Iwo Jima.



    He was born in Philadelphia so it makes more sense that he would fight for the US than for Italy. Although he did work as a bricklayer for his parents masonry business.



    Steve

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: England Harbottle's Avatar
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    Shame love this one.



    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enIdTGckjKs]YouTube - Al Martino - Spanish Eyes (1967)[/ame]

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: England Tonch's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']According to other sources (Wikipedia) he served in the US Marines and was wounded in the landings on Iwo Jima.



    He was born in Philadelphia so it makes more sense that he would fight for the US than for Italy. Although he did work as a bricklayer for his parents masonry business.



    Steve


    I must admit I was rather surprised to be told he had been a PoW Steve..... perhaps I have been misinformed; if I can get more details I will post them.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    MY 3,000th POST TO BRITMOVIE FORUM !





    Al Martino: obituary

    Singer and actor Al Martino, who played the Frank Sinatra-type role of Johnny Fontane in The Godfather has died at his home in Philadelphia aged 82.



    Daily Telegraph

    Al Martino: obituary - Telegraph



    14 Oct 2009



    Al Martino was born Alfred Cini on October 7, 1927, in South Philadelphia. He began his singing career in the late 1940s. His single Here in My Heart became Britain's first No. 1 single in 1952 and stayed on top for nine weeks.



    He performed for Queen Elizabeth at the London Palladium that year.



    Martino had a run of chart singles through 1953, but his career stalled with the advent of rock 'n' roll. In 1963 he was back in the charts with the Top 5 hit I Love You Because. It was the first of six consecutive top 40 singles in less than two years, including I Love You More and More Every Day, which peaked at No. 9 in 1964, the ABC reports.



    The Italian-American Martino continued to feature in the charts through the mid-70s, reaching the top 20 with To the Door of the Sun (Alle Porte del Sole) in 1974.



    But a new audience got to know him as the heartthrob singer and would-be actor Johnny Fontane, godson of Don Vito Corleone, in the best picture Oscar winners The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974). He sang I Have but One Heart (O Marenariello) during the first film's wedding scene and on its score album The Love Theme From The Godfather.



    Martino is survived by his wife, Judi; daughter Allison, son Alfred, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: England Tonch's Avatar
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    Having just interrogated my father I have obviously got my wires crossed....

    Al Martino did indeed carry out building work on the sea wall I mentioned, alongside dad's ex-colleague (himself long since deceased, sadly) around the end of the Second World War, the same building project had also engaged the labour of Italian PoWs around the same time and with Al being of Italian extraction the anecdote has become slightly blurry over the successive six decades.



    Thanks to Steve for highlighting my mistake and sincere apologies for jumping onboard without checking my facts first!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Can't believe I've surpassed Julian, who has been here three years longer than me, having reached 3,000 posts myself recently. I thought HE was prolific! Congratulations. Great discovery, Harbottle - a lovely video.



    Much though I love Pop music, and as interested as I am in the quickly-changing fashions of The Swinging Sixties, I can't help but feel that the style of singing ('crooning') and dress-sense portrayed in that Spanish Eyes video are in better taste than most of what we've seen - and heard - since 1967. It's great that people like Andy Williams and Tony Bennett have had a renaissance in their careers over the last decade. Much simpler. It's not called 'Easy Listening' for nothing! A lot of the 'Artists' since then seem to have dragged the young-and-impressionable to their often confused or downbeat way of thinking.



    With that in mind, Al's song seems rather appropriate!:

    [ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=KCuv05NOg-8]YouTube - Al Martino - Think I'll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself To Sleep[/ame]

    US #30 in 1966



    Written by Bill Anderson, of Still fame (also his own composition)

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    My mum's favourite singer. RIP.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Godfather II is my favorite of the trio and he was in it. RIP Al

  18. #18
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    I love his music.. One of the all time greats.. R.I.P.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    From Times Online

    October 14, 2009

    http://www.timesonline.co...aries/article6875091.ece



    Obituary: Al Martino








    He was forced to flee the Mob and settled for a time in Britain




    Al Martino came from a great tradition of suave and good-looking American-Italian entertainers, and the appeal of his crooning, easy-listening style endured for more than half a century.



    He scored his first hit in 1952 when Here in My Heart topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, the song became the first No 1 on the inception of the hit parade and remained in the top spot for nine consecutive weeks, a stay only beaten in chart history four times since.



    He continued to enjoy chart success with songs such as I Love You Because, Spanish Eyes and I Love You More and More Every Day in an unashamedly romantic style that made little concession to the advent of rock'n'roll or any other fad or fancy of musical fashion.



    With his tuxedo and sentimental mix of ballads, light jazz and easy- going swing, his natural milieu was the nightclub and there was an obvious parallel between his career and that of the most famous of the Italian-American crooners, Frank Sinatra.



    In 1972 Martino played the singer Johnny Fontane in the film The Godfather, a role said to have been based on Sinatra. Yet the part also found echoes in Martino's own life, for it was Mafia involvement in the management of his career that prompted him to flee in the 1950s to Britain, where he lived and worked for several years.



    Born Alfred Cini to Italian immigrants in 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he worked as a youth in his father's masonry business. He was expected to follow his older brothers into the family firm but was inspired to sing by a friendship with Alfredo Cocozza, a boy from the same neighbourhood who was six years his senior, and, after changing his name to Mario Lanza, made his professional singing debut in 1942.



    Thoughts of following in Lanza's footsteps were interrupted by his call-up in 1943 to serve in the US Marines in the Second World War. Wounded in 1945 during the assault on Iwo Jima, he returned to Philadelphia where he began singing in local nightclubs in a style influenced by Perry Como and under the name Al Martino, taken from his grandfather.



    With Lanza's encouragement, he moved to New York in 1948 where he roomed with the singers Guy Mitchell and Eddie Fisher and won a television talent show singing Como's hit ballad If. A record deal with the Philadelphia label BBS followed, and his breakthrough came in spectacular fashion in 1952 when he recorded Here in My Heart.



    According to Martino, Lanza had originally intended to record the song himself, but agreed not to do so after his friend pleaded with him to allow him a clear run.



    Lanza instead recorded Because You're Mine, which made No 3 in the charts, two places behind his friend's version of Here in My Heart. The record's success made Martino's career and led to a deal with Sinatra's label Capitol. But it also attracted the attention of an organised Italian-American crime syndicate, which bought out Martino's management contract.



    To escape the threats and extortion - they wanted $75,000 as a kind of insurance - he made a down-payment to appease them and moved to Britain, where he appeared at the London Palladium and enjoyed a string of further Top Ten hits with Now and Rachel (1953) and Wanted and The Story of Tina (1954). There was a rich irony in his topping the bill at the Palladium while being on the run from the Mob.



    These recordings were virtually ignored in America, and it was not until after he was told it was safe to return in 1958 that his career picked up again in the country of his birth. By then the musical climate had altered dramatically with the rise of rock'n'roll. He signed with 20th Century Fox but the label, disappointed by poor sales, soon dropped him and by 1962 he was back with Capitol.



    If rock'n'roll was not good news for Martino and the crooners, then the growth of the LP market certainly was, and Capitol knew exactly how to exploit it. Over the next decade he recorded a prolific series of albums at the rate of two or three a year, including collections of Italian-language songs and Christmas schmaltz as well as more general releases and romantic ballads.



    There were also regular returns to the singles chart, most notably with I Love You Because and Painted Tainted Rose (1963), I Love You More and More Every Day (1964) and a potent version of Bert Kaempfert's Spanish Eyes (1965).



    Martino's casting in the role of Johnny Fontane in The Godfather was no accident. He had read the book by Mario Puzo, identified with the role and lobbied hard to get an audition. He was not the first choice of the director, Francis Ford Coppola, but landed the part after it had been turned down by Vic Damone.



    His appearance and his recording of the film's theme, I Have but One Heart, sparked a major revival in his popularity. He returned to the British charts in 1973 when the reissued Spanish Eyes reached No 5 and he had an international hit with the dramatic Italian-language ballad Volare in 1976. He later revived the role of Fontane in The Godfather Part III (1990).



    After he parted company with Capitol in 1982 he ceased recording, but he continued to perform in nightclubs, cabarets and casinos and remained particularly popular in Europe.



    After a spell out of the limelight, he announced a comeback in 1996 when he was cast as an underworld boss in the TV drama The City. His final album, Style, appeared in 2000 but he returned to the screen in 2006 when he played an ageing crooner in the film Cutout.



    Martino is survived by his wife, Judi, a son and two daughters.



    Al Martino, singer and actor, was born on October 7, 1927. He died on October 13, 2009, aged 82

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    We haven't included his ground-breaking hit yet, have we?:

    [ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=miyMzVNTl9A]YouTube - NEWS: Singer Al Martino dies at 82 (HQ)[/ame]

    #1 in 1952 for NINE weeks and in the US for three

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