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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Category Archives: Italian Americans

It was 40 years ago today that Frank Sinatra brought “a friend” out onto the Sahara stage in Las Vegas during the wee small hours of Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. Frank had just finished singing and was laying some checks on Jerry and when they finished with the money transfers Frank said […]

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Today marks the 90th birthday of the quintessential lounge singer Armando “Buddy” Greco. Greco is one of those guys who I knew very little about when I began my radio show 16 years ago. Originally, my show was “a celebration of the Italian American influence on the Great American Songbook.” Which basically means I was […]

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In keeping with our celebration of Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday this week, I thought we’d kick off the weekend with Tony and some friends singing and swinging!! Here’s a great clip from a Dean Martin Show in the 1960s.   I have no idea who this young guy is introducing Tony Bennett and Billy Joel. Hah! Here’s one […]

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Today we wish a very Happy 90th Birthday to Tony Bennett. He has achieved the impossible. In a society that increasingly worships youth, inexperience and banality, Tony Bennett continues to stem the tide and collect new fans, accolades and honors for his continued good taste and artistry. Tony Bennett was born Anthony Benedetto in Astoria, […]

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This is a really tough one. I think Garry Marshall was one of the most talented comedy minds of the last 50 years. In addition to his talents as a writer, producer and actor, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I’ve ever read about him points to the fact that he was an even better human […]

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Today would have been Dean Martin’s 99th birthday. Next year, at this time, we’ll be celebrating his centennial. It’s quite remarkable how popular Dean Martin remains in today’s culture, more than two decades after his passing. Martin’s enduring legacy is both impressive and ironic. He endures in the culture as a symbol of the cool […]

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Here’s an interesting little piece. It comes from an A & E Biography on Arthur Godfrey. It provides a good basic telling of the story surrounding the La Rosa dismissal by Godfrey. It should be noted, however, that as writer Gene Lees brought up with Julius La Rosa during one of their many discussions over […]

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Julius La Rosa is not well-remembered these days and that’s a shame because he was one of the greatest of all the vocal interpreters of The Great American Songbook. Not only that but he was also one of the most knowledgeable vocalists when it came to the history, backgrounds and accomplishments of the great songwriters […]

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That ephemeral something called star quality – if there ever was living proof that it’s real, that proof is Julius La Rosa. Watch La Rosa in a nightclub, singing masterfully, magnificently, and you’ll appreciate star quality. It’s the thing that’s missing. Roy Hemming & David Hajdu, Discovering Great Singers of Classic Pop, 1991 That quote […]

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Today is it, Mr. Warmth is 90 years old today! We’ve got a few great clips for you. Just one word of “set-up.” Listen to all the jokes because Johnny throws one at Rickles in, I think, the first clip from 1974 and then later in one of the clips from the 1980s, Rickles appropriates […]

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