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Martino, Al(fred Cini)

Martino, Al(fred Cini)

Martino, Al(fred Cini), American singer; b. Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 7, 1927. A ballad singer whose style revealed his second-generation Italian roots, Martino had a brief period of success in the early 1950s with “Here in My Heart” then came back in the early 1960s for a lengthier stay in the charts that included a series of hit singles and albums including “I Love You Because,” “I Love You More and More Every Day,” and “Spanish Eyes.”

Martino worked as a bricklayer in a construction company run by his Italian immigrant father before heeding the advice of his friend Mario Lanza to take up singing. He performed in local nightclubs and won on the amateur-contest TV show Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1952, then cut “Here in My Heart” (music and lyrics by Pat Genaro, Lou Levinson, and Bill Borrelli) for the small BBS label. It hit #1 in June 1952 and he was signed to Capitol Records, for whom he recorded the chart entry “Take My Heart.” Further U.S. releases were unsuccessful, but in the U.K., where “Here in My Heart” had also topped the charts and “Take My Heart” had reached the Top Ten, he had Top Ten hits with “Now” (1953), “Rachel” (1953), and “Wanted” (music and lyrics by Jack Fulton and Lois Steele; 1954).

Martino persevered, and he returned to the U.S. charts in 1959 with “I Can’t Get You Out of My Heart” (music and lyrics by Danny Di Minno and Jimmy Grane) on 20th Century-Fox Records. Capitol re-signed him, and he first reached the LP charts in 1962 with The Exciting Voice of Al Martino. His revival of the 1950 song “I Love You Because” (music and lyrics by Leon Payne) hit the Top Ten and topped the easy-listening charts in May 1963, and an I Love You Because album made the Top Ten of the LP charts. This launched a successful series of recordings that lasted well into the 1970s. Notably, “I Love You More and More Every Day” (music and lyrics by Don Robertson) peaked in the Top Ten in March 1964; “Spanish Eyes” (music by Bert Kaempfert, lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder) peaked in the Top 40 and topped the easy-listening charts in January 1966, followed by a gold-selling, Top Ten Spanish Eyes LP; “Mary in the Morning” (music and lyrics by Johnny Cymbal and Mike Lendell) peaked in the Top 40 and was a #1 easy-listening hit in July 1967; and “More Than the Eye Can See” (music and lyrics by Bob Crewe and Larry Weiss) reached the pop charts and topped the easy-listening charts in the fall of 1967.

Martino played the pivotal role of singer Johnny Fontane in the 1972 film The Godfather. He continued to perform into the 1990s.

Discography

Sing Along with Al Martino (1959); The Exciting Voice of Al Martino (1962); I Love You Because (1963); Love Notes (1963); Painted, Tainted Rose (1963); Merry Christmas (1964); I Love You More and More Every Day (1964); Living a Lie (1964); My Cherie (1965); Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (1965); We Could (1965); Spanish Eyes (1966); This Is Love (1966); Daddy’s Little Girl (1967); Mary in the Morning (1967); This Love for You (1967); Love Is Blue (1968); This Is Al Martino (1968); Sausalito (1969); Jean (1969); Can’t Help Falling in Love (1970); My Heart Sings (1970); Love Theme from The Godfather (1972); To the Door of the Sun (1975); Al Martino Sings (1975).

—William Ruhlmann

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