Sunday, January 30, 2011

Perry Como: a biography and complete career record

One of the music icons from the 1940s and 1950s until the 1970s and 1980s was Perry Como. Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in May 1912, the son of Italian immigrants, Perry worked as a barber until the opportunity arose in 1933 for him to join a band as a singer. In the 1930s he worked with the Freddy Carlone Band and later with the Ted Weems orchestra.During the 1930s and 1940s performances of the bands were often broadcast on radio and also made recordings. In 1943 Perry began broadcasting his own radio show from New York, began recording records as a solo vocalist and signed a film contract. His career as an entertainer was established.

Malcolm Macfarlane and Ken Crossland provide an account of the career of Perry Como in the first part of the book followed by appendices listing the many recordings made between 1936 and 1994, a listing of his television appearances and shows plus a time-line of his life from his birth in 1912 until his death in 2001.

Perry Como had a successful radio career but he was one of the few radio performers who successfully transferred to television. Perry had a series of television shows from 1948 until 1967 and then until 1986 recorded occasional programs, often shown around Christmas. His last two programs were recorded in 1993 and 1994.When his recording and television career began to slow down Perry began to do concerts in the United States plus tours to the UK and Japan.

Between 1936 and 1987 Perry recorded more than 700 songs and from 1945 to1970 sold more than 100 million records.His success was largely due to his ability to be able to keep his own style yet also adapt to the changing trends in music.His popular television programs also helped his record sales. Many of the records were hits not only in the United States but also in the UK, Australia and Japan. In the 1970s and 1980s many of his songs continued to be successful in the UK and Australia though not particularly successful in his home country.

This book provides not just a record of the public life of Perry Como but also provides details about the music industry, particularly recording, radio and television, from the 1930s until the 1980s.

Having been an avid watcher of the Perry Como Show in the early days of Australian television and my first LPs being albums by Perry Como, I enjoyed this account of the life of the barber who became a singer.

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