Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dean Martin "Forever Cool"

Recently I bought a new Dean Martin album called “Forever Cool” and as Sammy Davis Jnr would of said “there was nobody more cool than Dean Martin”. What a great title for an album for an artist who passed away twelve years ago. This album (like the earlier Frank Sinatra “Duets” albums) is similar in style where Dean sings with some of today’s artists. If you enjoy Dean Martin’s style of music then this album should be in your collection.

The new Dean Martin CD "Forever Cool"

Dean Martin: "Forever Cool" Track Listing:

1. Who's Got The Action – Featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (3:02)

2. Ain't That A Kick In The Head – Featuring Kevin Spacey (2:38)

3. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face – Featuring Chris Botti (3:15)

4. Baby-O – Featuring Paris Bennett (3:09)

5. Who Was That Lady? – Featuring The Capitol Studios Orchestra (2:27)

6. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone – Featuring Robbie Williams (2:27)

7. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me – Featuring Joss Stone (2:29)

8. Just In Time – Featuring Dave Koz (2:36)

9. Baby, It's Cold Outside – Featuring Martina McBride (3:01)

10. King Of The Road – Featuring Kevin Spacey (2:28)

11. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You – Featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy & Shelby Lynne

12. Arrivederci Roma – Featuring Tiziano Ferro (2:45)

13. Everybody Loves Somebody – Featuring Charles Aznavour (3:16)

14. Brahm's Lullaby A Capella – Dean Martin (2:05)

Extract of a article on the new album from our local newspaper.

...............My collection of Dean Martin CD's.

Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio in the Pittsburgh Tri-State region. His parents were Gaetano Crocetti, a barber from Abruzzo, Italy, and Angela Barra, an Italian American from Fernwood, Ohio. He spoke only Italian until age five. The traces of Italian are perhaps what lent a slight Southern drawl to Martin's speaking voice. Martin dropped out of school in the tenth grade. He delivered bootleg liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, wrote crafty anecdotes and was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill and boxed as welterweight. At the age of 15, he was a boxer who billed himself as "Kid Crocett". From his prizefighting years, Martin earned a broken nose (later fixed), a permanently split lip, and many sets of broken knuckles (as a result of not being able to afford the tape used to wrap boxers' hands). He won 1 of his 12 bouts. The prize money was small. For a while he roomed with Sonny King, who like Martin, was just starting out in show biz and had little money. Martin and King held bare knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one of them was knocked out; people paid to watch the sight.

Eventually, Martin gave up boxing. He worked as a roulette stickman and croupier in an illegal casino located behind a tobacco shop where he had started out as a stock boy. At the same time, he sang with local bands. Billing himself as "Dino Martini" Dean got his first break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He performed in a crooning style heavily influenced by Bing Crosby and Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, at which time Sammy suggested he change his name to Dean Martin. Martin attracted some attention from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, but a Hollywood contract was not forthcoming. He appeared destined to remain on the nightclub circuit until he met a young comic named Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both men were performing.

Martin and Lewis' official debut together occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24, 1946, and they were not a hit. The owner, Skinny D'Amato, warned them that if they didn't come up with a better act for their second show later that same night, they would be fired. Huddling together out in the alley behind the club, Lewis and Martin agreed to go for broke, to throw out the pre-scripted gags that hadn't worked and to basically just improvise their way through the act. Dean sang some songs, and Jerry came out dressed as a busboy, dropping plates and more or less making a shambles of both Martin's performance and the club's sense of decorum. They did slapstick, reeled off old vaudeville jokes, and did whatever else popped into their heads at the moment. This time, the audience doubled over in laughter. Their success at the 500 led to a series of well-paying engagements up and down the Eastern seaboard, culminating with a triumphant run at New York's Copacabana. Club patrons were convulsed by the act, which consisted primarily of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, and ultimately the two of them chasing each other around the stage and having as much fun as possible.

Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in America during the early '50s, but the pace and the pressure took its toll. The two finally couldn't possibly work together, especially when Martin told his partner that he was "nothing to me but a dollar sign." The act broke up in 1956, ten years to the day after the first official teaming.

Between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s the Rat Packs most famous line-up featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, who appeared together in films and live on stage at the Sands in Las Vegas. Despite its reputation as a masculine group, the Rat Pack did have female participants, such as movie icons Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, and Judy Garland.

The term "Rat Pack" was supposedly assigned to the original Bogart group by "Den Mother" Lauren Bacall, after seeing them return from a night in Las Vegas, she being the youngest of them all and seeing them to be tired and worn out said words to the effect of "You look like a goddamn rat pack".

Dean, Frank, Sammy and Joey on stage - The Rat Pack.

By the mid '60s, he was a top movie, recording, and nightclub attraction, even as Lewis's film career declined. Martin was also acclaimed for his performance as Dude in “Rio Bravo”, directed by Howard Hawks and also starring John Wayne and singer Ricky Nelson. He teamed up again with Wayne in “The Sons of Katie Elder”. For three decades, Martin was among the most popular nightclub acts in Las Vegas.

One of Dean's famous songs "That's Amore". Click arrow to play.

In 1965, Martin launched his weekly NBC comedy-variety series, The Dean Martin Show, which exploited his public image as a lazy, carefree boozer. It was there that he perfected his famous laid-back persona of the half-drunk crooner suavely hitting on beautiful women with hilarious remarks that would get anyone else slapped.

By the early 1970s, Martin seemed to have the Midas touch, The Dean Martin Show was still earning solid ratings, and although he was no longer a Top 40 hitmaker, his record albums continued to sell well. His name on a marquee could guarantee casinos and nightclubs a standing-room-only crowd. Despite his enormous success, Martin retreated from show business and the final season of his variety show was shown in 1974.

Dean made a public reconciliation with Jerry Lewis on Lewis' Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon in 1976. Frank Sinatra shocked Lewis and the world by bringing Martin out on stage. As Martin and Lewis hugged and smiled, the audience erupted in cheers and the phone banks lit up, resulting in one of the telethon's most profitable years. Lewis reported the event was one of the three most memorable of his life. This helped to bring the two men together. They maintained a quiet but deep friendship but never performed together again.

Martin's world began to crumble on March 21, 1987, when his son Dean Paul was killed when his jet fighter crashed while flying with the Air National Guard. It was said that he could never get over losing his son. His final Vegas shows were at the Bally's Hotel in 1989. His last television appearance was in 1990 on the Sammy Davis Jnr 60th Anniversary Celebration special, which was also Sammy's last TV appearance.) By 1991, Martin has unofficially retired from performing. In addition to never completely recovering from losing his son, Martin was suffering from emphysema. In September 1993, he was diagnosed with lung cancer which ultimately led to his death. He had been told he needed surgery on his kidneys and liver to prolong his life, but he refused. It was widely reported, though never confirmed, that Martin had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1991. Martin died of respiratory failure, at home on Christmas morning 1995. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor. In 2005, Las Vegas renamed Industrial Road as 'Dean Martin Drive'.

And so another of the great singing legends had passed onto the huge record label up in the sky. Dean’s relaxed style of singing, his seemingly ease at making movies and his ability to appear that he was constantly “drunk” was a remarkably self-disciplined act and he was often the first to call it a night, and when not on tour or on a film location liked to go home, see his wife, and play with his children. It has been claimed that Martin was usually sipping apple juice (not liquor) most of the time on stage.

Tomorrow, Sunday 22nd September, Peter of Holties House and I are driving down to Sydney for a two week holiday.

Puss in Boots left a comment on Peter’s Blog which I’m duplicating here.

Puss in Boots said........

Sounds like you had a great family time, Peter.

Tell me, is
Sydney on alert for you and Wazza for the next two weeks...has the Chaser been notified? I shall be watching to see if you two turn up on that programme or Australia's Most Wanted...

Have a great time and don't go inciting any riots.

I must admit I’ve caused a small amount of trouble previously as you may see for the poster shown below.

This has just been a selected post on some highlights of Dean Martin's Life.


Peter said...

Hey Wazza, who let all these drunks into my room?
Good read about ol' Deano, certainly is forever cool.

Hale McKay said...

Great post, Wazza. I enjoy all of your celebrity tributes, they are well researched as well as well written.

Enjoy your getaway with Peter.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Hey Warren, what a great post. I used to love Martin and Lewis as a kid, as did my brothers.

But, I have something to tell you. When my granddaughter (she's 15) was playing in her netball grand final, she had an inspirational DVD that her mother was going to play. Beyond the Sea, it was called. So I thought we would be driving along listening to sounds of the ocean.

Nope, it started off with Bobby Darin singing "Beyond the Sea", segued into Dean Martin singing "That's Amore", then continued with Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, etc.

This was my 15-year-old granddaughter's inspirational DVD. It worked. They won the grand final. So there you go, who would have guessed an inspirational DVD for a teenager of today would be all those golden oldies?

Enjoy Sydney and remember...I'm watching that TV!

LZ Blogger said...

Warren ~ Looks like we have something in common here. I too am a BIG FAN of Deano! And he is reason we have the word ”COOL” as a descriptive adjective to describe people! ~ jb///

Jim said...

You work hard on those posts, Warren, but they really are enlightening and good!
A lot of your pictures wouldn't open today. WAZZ'UP?

You can tell, I'm back, and even posted a couple of blogs yesterday.

Lee said...

That certainly sounds like an interesting mix on that CD.

Are you two still knocking on the gates of Sydney or have they decided to let you in? ;)

Hale McKay said...

A truly wonderful tribute to Dean Martin, Wazza.

My favorite memories of Dean martin were those from his popular TV program, Dean martin's Celebrity Roasts. To me this this program provided what are to this day some of the funniest material ever to appear on television.