Vic Damone, Easy-Listening Singer, Dies at 89

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Vic Damone in 1959 (Photo from his Wikipedia page)

Frank Sinatra reportedly once praised Vic Damone, saying that his fellow singer had “the best pipes in the business.” Damone died Sunday at a Miami Beach hospital from complications of a respiratory illness, his daughter confirmed. Damone was 89.

Damone, whose career began in the 1940s, was best known for his 1956 #4 hit “On the Street Where You Live,” from the musical My Fair Lady. He reached the Billboard singles chart nine times in all between 1955-65, He also placed four albums on the chart, the first and biggest being That Towering Feeling! in 1956.

Vid Damone (photo from his Facebook page)

Vito Rocco Farinola was born June 12, 1928, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was working as an elevator operator in New York when he was heard singing by Perry Como, who encouraged him to pursue the profession. Now calling himself Vic Damone, he won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts contest in 1947 and began singing in night cloubs, landing a recording deal with Mercury Records.

Damone’s first hit was “I Have But One Heart,” in 1947, followed by other best-sellers such as “You Do,” “Again,” “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “My heart Cries for You” and numerous others prior to the advent of the rock era. He began acting in the early ’50s, appearing in two movies, but then served in the Army until 1953 (he served with Johnny Cash). Damone resumed both his singing and acting careers following his service, appearing in films such as Hit the Deck and Kismet.

Related: The Rat Pack

Damone left Mercury for Columbia Records in 1956, then Capitol and Warner Bros. in the ’60s. Although his style of singing no longer resulted in huge sales, he continued to release albums and singles, with his final album coming out in 2002, the same year he suffered a stroke. In 2009, Damone published his autobiography, Singing Was the Easy Part.

In 1997, Damone received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Listen to Vic Damone’s hit version of “On the Street Where You Live”

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