Jerry Vale (Born Genaro Vitaliano)
July 8, 1930 – May 18, 2014
Jerry Vale was a world-famous Italian-American singer who found his sizable audience by performing romantic ballads in a beautiful high tenor voice throughout the ’50s and early ’60s. Born in the Bronx, New York, Vale was working as a shoe shine boy in a barber shop when his boss, impressed with his voice, paid for him to have music lessons. That education along with his talent lead to performances in high school musicals and at local nightclubs. Before long, he caught the ear of a manager who ultimately landed him a recording contract with Columbia Records. Over the course of his career, Vale released over two dozen albums which included such charting hits as “You Don’t Know Me” and “Have You Looked Into Your Heart,” as well as his signature Italian classics, “O Solo Mia,” “Al Di La,” and “Volare.” His version of “The Star Spangled Banner” was played at major league baseball games for many years. Although his record sales dwindled by the late ’60s, he continued to be a very popular nightclub draw until his retirement. He also made memorable cameos in Goodfellas, Casino, and The Sopranos. Jerry Vale was 83 when he passed away on May 18, 2013.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus at Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.
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