Copyright by Flora Breen Robison
An Italian American Who Often Sang In Italian:
An Introduction and Explanation of How Dean Martin’s Music Inspired my Poem
Dean Martin was a legend of music, movies, television, and the Las Vegas Stage. He started his career as part of a comedy duo with Jerry Lewis. When the duo broke up, everyone thought that Dean Martin would fail as a solo artist. Instead, his career in movies and music soared. He later joined friends Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop in a group the Press called The Rat Pack on stage and on the big screen.
The press called and still call them The Rat Pack. But according to honorary member Shirley MacLaine, this second version of the Rat Pack was always referred to as The Clan by their own members. Apparently, though, they are the only people who referred to the group as The Clan. The Rat Pack to them was the original Rat Pack led by Humphrey Bogart and including Sinatra. They were a group of Hollywood actors and actresses who refused to take just any job offered to them in the studio system quietly.
One way in which Martin differed a lot as a recording artist from his pal Sinatra is his choice of language. There are a couple of songs that Sinatra sang partly in Italian-most notably Forget Domani-but he sang almost exclusively in English. So did a lot of other Italian Americans of his era. But Dean Martin was unique. He was Italian and sang in Italian-often. This is reflected in his song titles, especially those with place names. Every place name mentioned in the poem below is a Dean Martin song title-even Houston. Houston is a one word titled song Martin recorded. A large percentage of songs Dean Martin recorded are set in specific locations.
Martin recorded over 500 songs over his lifetime. He sang on film, on television-including on his self titled Variety Show where he ended shows with Everybody loves Somebody-and in Las Vegas. Some of his songs were specifically recorded for his shows in Vegas. I love Vegas is a reworking of the standard I Love Paris that he sang during The Rat Pack show at The Sands. It contained lines such as “I love Vegas like the Army loves its manuals. I love Vegas like Sinatra loves Jack Daniels.” Most of the songs he sang were love songs, however, and these love songs were usually happy love songs. Today, most love songs are about the pain of love. However, in the 40’s and 50’s, there were just as many love songs about love found as there were about love lost.
The Dean Martin Song
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine;
It’s June In January when you are near me.
Powder Your Face With Sunshine because That’s Amore.
There will be no need for you to Return To Me
Or Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On,
Because we’ll never be apart again.
There will be no more Standing On The Corner
Somewhere in Houston all alone.
You and I will say “I Will” when we get married
In The Chapel In The Moonlight
On An Evening In Roma.
We’ll dance In The Misty Moonlight
To the tune “Besame Mucho,”
Because Memories Are Made Of This.
Then we will travel the world on our honeymoon.
Starting In Napoli, we’ll then visit France
Because I Love Paris. Then you’ll say:
“I Love Vegas” and we’ll dance the Cha Cha Cha D’Amour.
Source: Public Domain via NBC Television to Wikimedia Commons