Sunday, May 18, 2014

RIP: JERRY VALE

One of the great vocalists of the 1950s has left us.  Jerry Vale, the beloved crooner known for his high-tenor voice and romantic songs in the 1950s and early 1960s, has died. He was 83.

Vale, who had been in declining health, died Sunday at his Palm Desert home surrounded by family and friends, family attorney Harold J. Levy said in a statement.
Born Genaro Louis Vitaliano, Vale started performing in New York supper clubs as a teenager and went on to record more than 50 albums. His rendition of "Volare," ''Innamorata" and "Al Di La" became classic Italian-American songs. His biggest hit was "You Don't Know Me."

In high school, to earn money, Vale took a job shining shoes in a barbershop in New York City. He sang while he shined shoes, and his boss liked the sound so well that he paid for music lessons for the boy. Enjoying the lessons, Vale started singing in high school musicals and at a local nightclub. This led to additional club dates, including one that lasted for three years at a club in the suburb of Yonkers, New York, just north of the city. When Paul Insetta, (who was a road manager for Guy Mitchell and a hit songwriter) heard him there, he signed him to a management contract, changed his name, and further coached him. He then arranged for Vale to record some records of songs he'd written, and brought the demos to Columbia Records. Vale then signed a recording contract with Columbia, and Insetta managed him for many years.

His version of "The Star-Spangled Banner", recorded in the late 1960s, was a fixture at many sporting events for years.

Vale and Rita, his wife of over 54 years, resided in Palm Desert, California. His biography A Singer's Life, by Richard Grudens, was published in 2000 by Celebrity Profiles, Stonybrook, New York. He sang the Late Night with David Letterman anthem "It's a Late Night Word" on the program's eighth anniversary special in 1990. He made cameo appearances as himself in the 1990 film Goodfellas and the 1995 film Casino, both directed by Martin Scorsese. While his albums failed to make the charts in the early 1970s, Vale remained a popular club act.

Jerry pretty much retired after sticken by a stroke in 2002. Vale is survived by Rita, his wife of 55 years; a son, Robert; and a daughter, Pamela...

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