Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Return Of Dean Martin

Hey pallies, likes what woulda this Dino-season be likes without some sweet treats a la Dino?!?!?! While homemade fudge and cut out sugar cookies certainly can give a sweet sugar high, there is nothin' better then a Dino-treat to give us Dino-holics the Dino-buzz that we constantly craves! And, likes does ilovedinomartin have a sweet Dino-post for all you Dino-philes on this seventh day of Dino-winter-month.

From the down under blog, "Oz Hitztory Blog," where a Mr.Daniel Grimsey hangs his hat, comes a coolly cool Dino-post likes puttin' the accent on our Dino's croonin' of his 1958 "huge hit," "Return To Me," that made it to numero tres on the Aussie Charts. Grimsey's blog puts a focus on "the history of the Australian pop singles charts," and his most recent Dino-post is very very Dino-revelin'

Likes the hippest thin' 'bout this post pallies begins 'bout half way throught he post when this in-the-Dino-know Aussie pallie Grimsey speaks this hugest of huge Dino-truth: "Speaking of dreaming, not only did Dean Martin turn the art of crooning into a joke, he virtually turned the art of seduction into a joke as well."

And then Dino-devoted Daniel launches into some of the most wonderful Dino-patter 'bout the trio of al-b-ums that our great man released that all have very very Dino-seductive cover art. "Sleep Warm," "Pretty Baby," and "A Winter Romance" likes all have the randiest of randy Dino-covers! Likes I coulda goes on and on ravin' 'bout Mr. Grimsey's very very evocative edifications of our most beloved Dino, but likes then youse woulda not have to devour the sweet Dino-treat for yourselves.

ilovedinomartin says our deepest and most devoted thank you to Mr. Daniel Grimsey of the "Oz Hitstory Blog" for providin' his readership for sure a deep, dark and true homage of our Dino. To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of these Dino-remarks. Keeps fillin' your Dino-cravin's with more and more Dino-delights all my Dino-dudes! Dino-always, ever, and only, DMP

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Return Of Dean Martin

That was “Return To Me,” a huge hit for Dean Martin in 1958, reaching No.3 on the Australian charts. Quite a big hit, and quite a surprise hit too, returning Dean to the top of the charts, at a time when he might have been expected to fade away from the pop charts.

Okay, I admit, considering “Return To Me” as being a comeback for Dean Martin might be a bit of a stretch. I mean, his last Number One had been only two years prior. But certainly, it was a bit of surprise. Certainly, 1958 was not like 1954, when Dean Martin had covered the charts in Italian weddings and wine and pizza pies, and had had two Number Ones with the stuff!

Since then pretty much all of the tuxedo wearing pop stars of that age, only four years prior, had disappeared from the face of the Earth…Frankie Laine was fading from the pop charts. So was Tony Bennett. As was PattiPage. And Rosemary Clooney. Even Nat “King” Cole was coming to the end of a decade of chart dominance. The kids had taken over, and if you were a grown-up and your name wasn’t either Frank Sinatra or Perry Como, and you were over 30 years of age, then you really didn’t have a chance. Actually, come to think of it, even Frank was beginning to struggle on pop charts (even though he was in the middle of his run of classic albums)

And Dean was 40! And had just split with his movie partner, Jerry Lewis, a partnership that was behind the reason that he was famous in the first place. And given Dean’s tendency to sing as though he was drunk even when he wasn’t doing it on purchase, there was some debate over whether Dean was even talented or not. So with teenagers doing most of the record buying in 1958, and old crooners out of fashion, he didn’t really have a chance.

At least in theory.

But theories can be wrong.

Because he was Dean, the coolest man ever to put on a tuxedo… and he had Frank Sinatra in his corner to help him out.

Dean Martin was the ying to Sinatra’s yang, as can be seen by a quick comparative analysis. Whereas Sinatra was serious about singing and claimed to have meant every word that he sang, Dean was a constant joker, from whom nothing could be taken serious. Sinatra attempted to turn crooning and crooners and the wearing of a tuxedo into an art form. Dean turned it into a joke. Of course crooning had arguably always been a joke, ever since Bing mumbled his first “dooby dooby doo,” but Dean took the ingredients that made crooning appealing – the ability of a little softly spoken mumble to get the girls excited, without even trying to – and took them to their ultimate conclusion.

That took a little time. In 1958, Dean was still putting all the pieces together. He hadn’t quite mastered his persona of being permanently drunk yet, but he’d certainly mastered the persona of being a ladies man. Of being a man that no woman could resist. The hope being that men who wanted to be the kind of men that no woman could resist, would rush to buy his records, just in order get a few tips for their seduction technique.

For men like the idea that there are men out there who are living the dream and have a harem at their command. Particularly in the 1950s, a time when there appears to have been a lot of men who were rather attracted to the idea that somewhere out there, there was somebody who was having a lot of sex. This was the era after all that gave the world both James Bond and Hugh Hefner (Dean Martin was practically a singing James Bond). Between the three of them they probably had sex with every young attractive female the world had to offer. They were middle aged, sophisticated, and still living the life of a swinging bachelor (Dean himself was in the middle of his second marriage by this stage, but that’s only a minor detail. To his fans around the world, he was the ultimate womanizing bachelor, and living the dream.

Speaking of dreaming, not only did Dean Martin turn the art of crooning into a joke, he virtually turned the art of seduction into a joke as well. Just listen to the title track of his dream themed “Sleep Warm” album. Try to listen to a line like “ rest your head on the pillow/ what a lucky… pillow” are try to take it seriously. Hell, just look at the cover, featuring Dino’s big face hovering over a woman sleeping blissfully, as if he were a guardian angel looking over a sleeping baby, like in those framed pictures sitting on the bedside table of every good Catholic child.

“Sleep Warm” was only one of a series of albums, or specifically, album covers, in which Dean Martin parodies his position as a sex god for the more mature woman, a series of albums in which Dean is surrounded by ladies with large pointy breasts, of the kind that appear to have been quite common in the 1950s, back when bras tended to look more like torpedoes.

Let’s take the cover of “Pretty Baby” for example, in which a buxom blonde is cheeking Dean out, whilst Dean, powerless to the power of his own charms, raises an eyebrow to the camera.

In “A Winter’s Romance”, Dean even turned a Christmas album into an opportunity for a threesome, flirting with two sexy ladies simultaneously.

Within the album itself is a rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in which instead of singing with a single lady, he flirts with an entire ladies chorus, but suggestion being that he is trying to seduce all of them. Whether he succeeded or not almost doesn’t matter: the point is that Dean was the kind of man who would even try to seduce an entire ladies chorus.

Sadly, none of these albums, and nothing from these albums, actually managed to become sizable hits. What did sell however, were records in which he played on his other major strength: that of being the premier Italian pop star of his time.

Other pop stars – in fact, the vast bulk of the crooning profession – were Italian, but in the case of Frank Sinatra for example, you sometimes had to be reminded of their Italian heritage, buried as it was under his other identity as an American icon. Dino on the other hand, probably lived on nothing but his mothers’ pizza and pasta. And wine.

And so his big comeback hit, “Return To Me” seemed to have been recorded whilst sitting at a café in Naples. With a gypsy violinist hanging around in the background. That’s pretty Italian. And then it gets even more Italian by actually singing in Italian, and you can’t get much more Italian than that.Dean Martin songs were beginning to become more full of Italian clichés than your average television advertisement for pasta sauce. Sometimes it seemed as though Dean was satirizing the entire concept of being Italian. And what better way of celebrating his Italian heritage, than by singing the Italian entrant into Eurovision that year? Even though it lost (it came third)

“Volare” was a perfect song for Dean, being built around a giant chorus that was easy to sing when you were drunk – even the “ooooh”s sound as though he is falling over - of the kind that Dean had already experience in taking to Number One, twice, back in 1954, with “Sway” and “That’s Amore.” And so it gave him another Number One!

Dean also sings “Volare” like a native Italian speaker, but one who realizes that some of the words sound funny to the English speaking ear. Words like “nel blu, dipinto di blu.”

But Dean never got more Italian than he did with his next hit “On An Evening In Roma”, so cue another round of Italian stereotypes, thus fuelling rhymes such as “do they take them for espresso/ yeah I guess so”, not to mention television appearances featuring Dean looking ridiculous in a puffy shirt.

“On An Evening In Roma” reached No.26 on the Australian charts in September 1959, thus allowing Dino to finish off the decade in reasonably respectable form, so that, by the end of the 1950s, at a time when large segments of the crooning community were in trouble on the charts, Dean was in a pretty decent position. He may not have been the biggest crooner in the world (that was probably be his friend Frank, or maye Perry Como), and he certainly wasn’t the best (that, again, would be Frank), but he was certainly the most fun and entertaining. Perfect credentials therefore for joining Frank Sinatra’s new gang and holing up in Las Vegas for the duration of the 1960s.

Posted by Daniel Grimsey at 3:18 AM


Matty said...

"Sex Sells". Only in those days things were handled in a subtle yet sexy and suggestive manner. These album covers are from the 50's and yet the woman on the Sleep Warm LP sleeve isn't covered up to her neck in a nightgown with curlers in her hair ala Lucy Ricardo and Alice Kramden. On the Pretty Baby sleeve Dino is giving us that "how can I resist" look. Uh-oh!!! It's the 50's!'re a Catholic...better look away in shame before you get a sin on your soul pallie!!! And get a load of that Winter Romance sleeve! That second sweet thing isn't wearing the look of being Dino's cousin from Steubenville! In retrospect, I'd have to say that these three LP covers were "pushing the envelope" for those times and reinforcing a "randy" persona for Dino! Like it or not...Sex Sells!

Matty said...

As for the MUSIC on these three LP's...Top Shelf Dino! 'Nuff said.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Matty-o, gotta 'fess up that I agree with each and every Dino-thought you sez...those swingin' covers speak volumes 'bout our Dino's true nature and the Ruler of Randy...and, of course, the music is simply some of our Dino's best recordin's. Loves all your Dino-patter today...really makes my Dino-day glow Dino-bright! Keeps lovin' our Dino!