Dean Martin – Memories Are Made Of This
This legendary singer was christened Dino Paul Crocetti, and was the younger son of two Italian immigrants; his older brother was called Bill. Being born into an Italian immigrant family, Dino only spoke Italian at home and was teased a great deal at school on account of his poor English and strong Italian accent.
Martin began his singing career at the age of 17, singing in local nightclubs near his home town in Ohio. He dreamed of making the big time as a stage singer, just like his showbiz idol, Bing Crosby. Whilst he was singing with a local group called the Ernie McKay band, a bandleader called Sammy Watkins noticed him, and hired him to be his own band’s lead vocalist. Martin began touring with Watkins in 1938, changing his name to Dean Martin in 1940. By 1943, he’d moved to New York and had been given an exclusive contract singing at the Riobamba Room. Before long, he’d also secured his own fifteen-minute programme broadcasting from Radio City, entitled ‘Songs By Dean Martin’. New Yorkers warmed to Martin’s relaxed, mellow singing style and laid-back charm, and by 1946, he‘d recorded four songs with Diamond Records.
Despite his good looks and undoubted singing ability, major success and the “big time” still lay beyond Martin’s reach. His early years as an entertainer were arduous and tough. In 1946, he succeeded in releasing his first single, ‘Which Way Did My Heart Go?’, and he also met up with another young wannabe showbiz star, a comedian called Jerry Lewis. The two performers soon became friends.