Reader's Digest UK Audition Disc

 
Temptation ( 1945 )
~ from the MGM film "Going Hollywood"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed , 1933
 
In 1945, as World War II drew to a close, Perry Como burst on the popular music scene with three records that each sold a million copies. One was a wartime novelty song based on a phrase that comedian Bob Hope had made popular — A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba. The second was the soaring adaptation of a Chopin Polonaise — Till the End of Time. And the third was this fine song by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, composers of such movie hits as Singing in the Rain, Alone, and You Were Meant for Me. Bing Crosby introduced Temptation in the 1933 film ‘Going Hollywood’, but this recording made it a popular classic.  And the Como version served notice on Frank Sinatra and Dick Haymes that a new top-rank male singer had arrived on the scene — and intended to stay.
 
Como's Golden Records LPM-3224 ~ 1955
 
'Till the End of Time
~ adapted from Chopin's Polonaise No. 6 in A Flat Major
Words and Music by Ted Mossman and Buddy Kaye, 1945
 
" Ask Perry Como which of all the songs he's recorded is his personal favourite, and he'll answer: "Till the End of Time". Perhaps it's his sentimental favourite, but whatever the reason, this is the tune that fully deserves Perry's admiration, because this is the one that started it all. It launched his career as a major solo artist in 1945 and was the first of a continuing string of 13 Gold Records. If it sounds familiar, perhaps you first heard it as Chopin's Polonaise in A Flat, Op. 53. "
 
Prisoner of Love
~ introduced and featured by Russ Columbo in 1931
Music by Russ Columbo and Clarence Gaskill with lyrics by Leo Robin, 1931
 
Perry's career was skyrocketing in 1946 when this stunning performance of a Russ Columbo favourite was issued. It became an immediate hit, sold well over a million copies, and was a must at any Como appearance. So even Perry was amazed when he forgot the words while singing it at a concert in Cleveland in 1971. 'Can you imagine me forgetting the words to Prisoner of Love,' he said, grinning, after the show. 'I used to work with the idiot cards ( prompting cue cards ) on my TV show all the time, and I guess I just came to depend too much on them.' It's never happened again, and a good thing too Prisoner of Love remains one of Perry's most requested songs to this day.
 
Girl Of My Dreams
~  recorded by Perry in March, 1946
Words and Music by Sunny Clapp, 1927
 
Bandleader Charles 'Sunny' Clapp penned this charming old-fashioned melody in 1927. It was an immediate hit with vocal groups, especially barbershop quartets, who drained every bit of widespread harmony out of its pretty chords.  It has the sound and feeling of turn-of-the-century love songs, and Perry's direct, heartfelt vocal is in that same tradition.
 
When You Were Sweet Sixteen  ( with The Satisfiers )
~ from the Bing Crosby Productions, Inc., Picture "The Great John L."
Words and Music by James Thornton and Published 1898
 
Who could have imagined that such a sweet and simple song as this would become a million-seller in the troubled, complicated year of 1947? Perry's lovely, thoughtful performance had a great deal to do with making it a smash. But "When You Were Sweet Sixteen" also brought listeners back to an earlier era when life was easier and less complex. James Thornton, a drinking companion of the legendary world-champion boxer John L. Sullivan, wrote the song at the turn of the century.
 
Because
~ featured by Mario Lanza in "The Great Caruso", 1951
Music by Guy d'Hardelot and lyrics by Edward Teschemacher, 1902
 
There is probably no other song so ideally suited to be played at a wedding as "Because", a heartfelt vow of eternal devotion. Tenor Richard Crooks made this song by Edward Teschemacher and Guy d'Hardelot an American favourite when he performed it on his radio programme in the 1920s. With this recording, Perry Como made "Because" and international success, too. If you feel that a woman's touch is evident in the song, you're absolutely correct. Guy d'Hardelot is actually Mrs. W. I. Rhodes, whose maiden name was Helen Guy, and she wrote the lovely, soaring melody.
 
Sings Just For You ~ 1958
 
"A"— You're Adorable ( with The Fontane Sisters )
~  a No. 1 hit single from March, 1949, the "B" flip side to "When Is Sometime?"
Music by Sidney Lippman and lyrics by Fred Wise and Buddy Kaye, 1948
 
Subtitled 'The Alphabet Song', this charming love ballad spells the listener through most of the alphabet and finds a fresh way to say 'I love you' with almost every letter along the way. It's exactly the kind of novelty tune Perry Como has always had great success with on jukeboxes and in record shops. Small wonder, since its writers, Buddy Kaye and Sidney Lippman, came by novelty naturally. Kaye started writing music for Popeye cartoons in the movies and later wrote such pop hits as 'Don't Be a Baby, Baby' and 'Full Moon and Empty Arms.' Lippman was the composer of 'My Sugar id so Refined' and 'Chickery Chick'.
 
I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore
~  a double charted single from January, 1949, with flip side "Forever and Ever"
Words and Music by Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss
 
A reflection of the instability of the late 1940s was this moody torch song, which told of the instability of a big romance. Gordon and The Starlighters had a hit with it in 1949, the last year of shaky peace between the end of World War II and the start of the Korean conflict. The sad, pensive tune was written by Bennie Benjamin and George David Weiss. It contrasts sharply with the jauntiness of some of their other hits, such as Wheel of Fortune, Cross Over the Bridge and Surrender.
 
Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes ( with The Ramblers )
Words and Music by Slim Willet, 1952
 
When Winston L. Moore went on the air while a college student in Texas, he thought he needed a different name to go with the hillbilly song he had written for the programme. And that's how Slim Willet was born. Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes, which became his biggest hit, started slowly. Willet recalled, years later, that when he sent the song to a top man of a big record company, 'He suggested that I get in some other business.' The same executive's company later made more than half a dozen versions of the song by different artists! Perry, too, was lukewarm to this Texas-styled number. 'I complained,' Perry said. 'I told them the metre's wrong. I don't understand it. They said to do just one take, so I did. Almost two million records later, I guess they were right.'
 
No Other Love
~  a No. 1 Charted Single for Perry recorded in May, 1953
from the 1953 Stage Musical "Me and Juliet"
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
 
Composer Richard Rodgers borrowed from himself for the melody for this lovely ballad from the show 'Me and Juliet'. The melody was originally a theme called Beneath the Southern Cross, which Rodgers had composed for 'Victory at Sea', the TV series about World War II.  Perry's vocal version climaxes in a full-voiced high note ending that is superb singing and makes for dramatic listening. Como's tine control and the ease with which he soars to the top of his register, as critic Henry Pleasants noted, 'so easy, so natural, so inevitable. Como sings so well that few notice how well he sings.'
 
Perry Como ~  Wanted  45 RPM Extended Play Album
 
Wanted
~  recorded by Perry in December, 1953
Words and Music by Lois Steele and Jack Fulton , 1954
 
In 1943, one-time barber Perry Como launched his solo singing career, and the one-time crooner and trombonist Jack Fulton started writing songs. Their paths crossed some years later when "Wanted", a Fulton song that Perry recorded and made one of the big hits of 1954. An intriguing feature of this pretty performance by Perry is the way his voice seems to float over the gentle shuffle rhythm in the background.
 
Papa Loves Mambo
~  recorded by Perry in August, 1954
Words and Music by Al Hoffman, Dick Manning and Bix Reichner 1954
 
Bandleader  Perez Prado introduced the sizzling, screeching mambo to the United States in 1949, but it caught on with a bang in 1954, and this recording was one reason why. The song writing team of Al Hoffman and Dick Manning was joined by veteran Bix Reichner, composer of such hits as "The Fable of the Rose" and "The Red We Want Is The Red We've Got ( in the Old Red, White and Blue )", to produce this bright novelty for Perry. The grunts heard from the chorus are humorous references to bandleader Prado's yelps to his musicians as they whipped dancers into a mambo frenzy.
 
Tina Marie
~ popular 1955 single charting at No. 5
Words and Music by Bob Merrill
 
This novelty song is a bright ditty, with Perry and the chorus having fun with the interpolated 'Ah-hahs' and the frisky little melody. The tune was the 1954 brainchild of writer Bob Merrill, whose accomplishments also include the scores for such hit musicals as 'New Girl in Town' 'Take Me Along', 'Carnival', and 'Funny Girl'. Joe Reisman, Perry's chief arranger and record producer during the mid- and late 1950s, created this hit arrangement.
 
Somebody Up There Likes Me  ~ 45 RPM Extended Play Album
 
Dream Along With Me  ( I'm On My Way To A Star )
~  a double charted single from June, 1956, with flip side "Somebody Up There Likes Me"
theme song from "The Perry Como Show"
Words and Music by Carl Sigman, 1956
 
Dream Along with Me was born in 1955, when Perry asked some songwriters he knew to come up with a theme for his TV show. 'I thought about what Perry Como meant to me, and to his fans,' Carl Sigman recalls, 'and I tried to capture him in a song. When he told me he had selected 'Dream Along with Me' I was thrilled.' The best part of this recording is that you finally get to hear the complete song, not just the few bars that Perry sang before greeting his TV audience. Among Sigman's other well-known songs are 'Ebb Tide', 'What Now My Love', 'Civilization ( Bongo Bongo Bongo ), and 'Enjoy Yourself ( It's Later Than You Think )'
 
Hot Diggity  ( Dog Ziggity Boom )
~ Adapted from Alexis Chabrier's 1st theme of España, Rhapsody for Orchestra
Words and Music by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning, 1956
 
Al Hoffman and Dick Manning also provided Perry with this peppy novelty. The perky melody first saw the light of day as one of the themes in Emmanuel Chabrier's España rhapsody. Hoffman and Manning turned the Spanish piece into a new fangled love song, and Perry and the Ray Charles Singers had a ball recording it.
 
Special Single WBY-50  ~ Round and Round / Tina Marie
 
Round and Round
~  recorded by Perry in January, 1957
Words and Music by Joe Shapiro and Lou Stallman, 1956
 
On an icy January afternoon in 1957, Perry Como recorded one of his hottest hits. For perhaps an hour, Perry and the musicians experimented with the background sound, then settled on drummer Terry Snyder's wire brushes on his drum case. 'We all thought it would be a hot one,' Perry said later of Round and Round. But if we handed it to an arranger, what could he arrange? There was really nothing there. I said why don't we do a row-row-row-your boat-thing. I started the beat on the piano, and that's what we came up with.' And that's how some million-sellers are born!
 
Mi Casa, Su Casa  ( My House Is Your House )
~  recorded by Perry in January, 1957
Words and Music by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning
 
It's a graceful Latin custom for a Host to say, "Mi casa, su casa," when a guest enters his home. It means, "My house is your house," and is the sincerest form of welcome the host knows. Al Hoffman and Dick Manning came up with this sweet song, which Mr. C. made his own with this winsome, completely sincere performance.
 
Catch a Falling Star
~ first certified "Gold" record by R.I.A.A. in 1958
Words and Music by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance
 
Music critics agree that one of the most appealing, but most difficult vocal achievements is to sing softly and still remain musical and moving. Perry Como accomplishes this nuance of the vocal art with almost every song he sings. He performs this best seller written by Paul J. Vance and Lee Pockriss so simply and easily that it seems almost tossed away. Perry's colleagues in the American recording industry recognized the artistry in the deceptively simple sound of this hit and rewarded it with a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male, in 1958.
 
Como's Golden Records ~ 1958
 
Magic Moments
~  recorded by Perry in December, 1957
Music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David , 1958
 
In the 1950s, Burt Bacharach, a piano accompanist for top-name singers, was a struggling songwriter. The only trouble was that his songs were so original and so different from regular popular songs that few publishers would hear them, let alone publish them. But 1957 was Bacharach's year. Teamed with lyricist Hal David, he produced two hits, "The Story of My Life", a song with a 52-bar chorus and some notes to be whistled by the singer, and "Magic Moments", a much simpler song with an intriguing melody and a happy lilt. Perry's lovely million-seller has created many magic moments for listener's ever since.
 
Como Swings original album
 
You Came A Long Way From St. Louis
Music by John Benson Brooks and lyrics by Bob Russell , 1948
 
St. Louis is in Missouri, and that's known as 'The Show-Me' State. And that's what this bright novelty tune is all about: a gal who has come a long way from St. Louis but, according to the guy she's trying to impress, still has a long way to go. Bob Russell and John Benson Brooks collaborated on the song inn 1948. Russell wrote the words for such hits as Frenesi, Maria ElenaDon't Get Around Much Anymore and Brazil. Brooks, a leading arranger for big bands ( including Les Brown's and Tommy Dorsey's ), also had some hits, among them Who Threw the Whisky in the Well and Just as Though You Were Here.
 
For the Young at Heart ~ RCA Victor 1961
 
Young at Heart
~ featured in the 1955 film "Young at Heart"
Music by Johnny Richards and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, 1954
 
Several writers tried and failed to put words to this lovely tune by bandleader-arranger Johnny Richards. Carolyn Leigh took the assignment while her father lay seriously ill in the hospital. 'I wrote the words for him, using some of his own philosophy to cheer him up', she recalled. 'When the song became No. 1, he was the most happy fella in the hospital'. Frank Sinatra had a million-seller with it, and it inspired a film starring Sinatra and Doris Day. Perry's version has a happy, zesty, full-of-life sound that is exactly right for the song's upbeat flavour.
 
You Make Me Feel So Young
Music by Joseph Myrow and lyrics by Mack Gordon, 1946
 
One of the most noted things about Perry is the effortless way he sings. He makes it seem so simple and easy. 'I don't work at home at all,' he has said of his preparation for recordings. 'Once you know a song too well, you start to fool around with it. At the session, when the band's working on the arrangement, I learn the tune right there.' And that may well be why this performance sounds so fresh and original. The song, which came from the 1946 musical film 'Three Little Girls in Blue' was recorded by Frank Sinatra as a rhythm tune.
 
Hello, Young Lovers  ( 1960 )
~ from the 1951 Stage musical "The King and I"
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II , 1951
 
Shortly after the hit musical 'The King and I' opened on Broadway, composer Richard Rodgers noted, 'I've tried to tell the story through music. 'The King and I' is truly a musical drama, with every song advancing the plot. We ask the audience to believe that the people are on stage, who face many serious problems of life, will suddenly stop talking and burst into song. We tried to avoid the reality by the singing, and the singing by the reality.' Perry gives the play's Hello, Young Lovers a bright and bouncy reading, making the bittersweet words become happy and hopeful.
 
Caterina / Island of Forgotten Lovers ~ Italian picture sleeve
 
Caterina
~ a popular single from February, 1962, with flip side "The Island of Forgotten Lovers"
Words and Music by Earl Shuman and Maurice "Bugs" Bower, 1961
 
'The crazy thing about this song', recalls Maurice ( Bugs ) Bower, 'is that we had a song, but we needed a title. We called it 'Caterina', and it turned out to be perfect because the title doesn't have to translate overseas . . . and we had this song, with the original title, in the Top Ten in almost every country in the world.' 'Caterina' added another hit to the list of Earl Shuman, who wrote such favourites as 'Seven Lonely Days', 'Hey There Lonely Boy', and 'Left Right Out of Your Heart'. Says Bower of Perry's recording, 'I think the record was popular with little kids because of all those 'ha-ha-ha's' and 'ho-ho-ho's' in it. Kid's think he's Santa Claus!'
 
By Request ~ 1962
 
Lollipops and Roses
Words and Music by Tony Velona, 1962
 
Jack Jones launched his singing career with a hit recording of this pretty waltz by Tony Velona, which won the Grammy for Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male, of 1961. Since then, the song has become standard dreamy repertoire fort male singers. It's a gentle reminder that girls from seven to 77 love to be remembered with little gifts of affection . . . starting with lollipops and growing up to roses.
 
The Sweetest Sounds
~ from the Stage musical "No Strings"
Words and Music by Richard Rodgers, 1962
 
After Oscar Hammerstein's death, Richard Rodgers undertook to be his own lyricist and emerged with a hit musical called "No Strings". It was a fresh, modern, fashionable show dealing with a jet-set inter-racial romance. And the orchestra, like the main characters, had no strings. "The Sweetest Sounds" was the show's big hit, setting the plot into motion at the beginning and wrapping it all up at the very end. Perry's treatment is rich and powerful. The throb in his voice is exactly right for the sense of the lyrics, and the soaring melodic line is a perfect vehicle for his easy, open style.
 
I'll Remember April
~ from the 1942 Western Musical Comedy "Ride 'em Cowboy"
Music by Gene DePaul and lyrics by Patricia Johnston, and Don Raye
 
For a few brief minutes, "I'll Remember April" was an oasis of sanity in the madness of the 1942 Abbott and Costello film "Ride 'Em Cowboy." Dick Foran, the handsome square-jawed hero on the Universal set, sang the song in it's film debut. For a long time it remained a love song, but then it was discovered by the jazz players, who loved it's chord structure and found it a perfect vehicle for endless improvisation. In Perry's hands, it's a love song again, and he seems to caress it with his voice. It's a fine performance, one of Perry's best.
 
Once Upon a Time
~ from the 1962 Stage musical "All American"
Music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams
 
'Bye, Bye, Birdie' and 'It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman!' are among the Broadway shows of Lee Adams and Charles Strouse. The two also had a brief entry on the Great White Way titled 'All American', and though it came and went without making much of a ripple in the season of 1962, 'Once Upon a Time', the love song from the show, remained behind. Unlike the Adams-Strouse hits 'Put On a Happy Face' and 'I Want To Be with You', it is a sad and poignant reminiscence of all the things that happened or might have happened in the long ago.
 
Moon River
~ from the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer
 
These lyrics by Johnny Mercer were his favourite of all the wonderful ones he wrote. The music changed Henry Mancini's career, bringing him his first Academy Award ( in 1961 ) and broadening his reputation beyond the jazzy 'Peter Gunn' and 'Mr. Lucky' kind of scoring he'd been doing. The song was almost cut from 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. But clear heads prevailed and it actually helped the film become big box office. And for Perry Como? 'Moon River' gave Perry another dreamy ballad to sing in his inimitable dreamy style.
 
The Songs I Love ~ RCA Victor1963
 
Slightly Out of Tune ( Desafinado )
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
with original lyrics by Newton Mendonça, 1962
English lyrics by Jon Hendricks and Jessie Cavanaugh
 
When bossa nova exploded on the American music scene in the early 1960s, this lilting song was its anthem.  Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz made the records that launched bossa nova, or 'the new thing' in the United States. His inspiration came from some recordings that guitarist Charlie Byrd had brought back from a Brazilian tour. Among them was one of 'Desafinado', written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, with Portuguese words by Newton Mendonça. Jesse Cavanaugh and Jon Hendricks made the literal translation of 'Desafinado' 'slightly out of tune' the basis for their American lyrics. The song was a hit, and bossa nova was here to stay.
 
Fly Me to the Moon  ( In Other Words )
Words and Music by Bart Howard
 
When Bart Howard wrote this pretty song in 1954, he titled it 'In Other Words'. And that's the way cafe singer Felicia Sanders sang it when she introduced it. But over the years, as more and more people heard the song, they began to ask for it by the first few words of the refrain. ( The phrase 'In other words' is sung after the first two couplets. ) Before long the song was referred to as 'Fly Me to the Moon'. Finally, the publishers bowed to the public and changed the title officially. And almost immediately, pianist Joe Harnell had a million-selling record of the song . . . an instrumental version!
 
My Coloring Book
~ this song made it's national debut when sung by Sandy Stewart on the Como television show.
Music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, 1962
 
In 1962, a music publisher brought John Kander and Fred Ebb together and suggested that they become a songwriting team. This wistful song of lost love, told in terms of colour, was their first effort and a major hit. Although they wrote it with supper-club and comedienne Kaye Ballard in mind, it became a hit for recording artist Sandy Stewart, who introduced it on one of the top TV programmes of the year, 'The Perry Como Show'! Kander and Ebb quickly moved from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway and started writing musicals with great success. Among their achievements: 'Cabaret', 'The Happy Time', 'Zorba', and 'Chicago'.
 
I Love You ( Don't You Foprget It ) & One More Mountain
 
( I Love You ) Don't You Forget It
~ a popular single from May, 1963 with flip side "One More Mountain"
Music by Henry Mancini and lyrics by Al Stillman ,1963
 
Al Stillman added words to an instrumental composition that Henry Mancini had originally titled 'Tinpanola' and came up with this catchy song. It must have the easiest-to-learn lyrics in all of popular music: just the words 'I love you and don't you forget it,' over and over, with an occasional line that keeps count of the number of times the phrase has been said. It's a cute idea and you can almost see Perry's grin as he sings it.
 
The Scene Changes ~ Perry Goes to Nashville 1965
 
Dream On Little Dreamer
Words and Music by Jan Crutchfield and Fred Burch
 
The Anita Kerr Quartet, one of the finest vocal groups in popular music, plus a Country harmonica player, join Perry for this Nashville performance of a low-key rhythm tune. Fred Burch, who wrote the song with Jan Crutchfield, says. 'We made a demo record of it with me singing it, and it was totally unique. We had it around for two years. It was a labour of love, because while we knew it was different and loved it, nobody else seemed to. The song became our orphan. Then, one day, like in the storybooks, we heard Perry Como was coming to Nashville to record. We took the song to Chet Atkins, and he liked it and recommended that Perry listen to it. He did, and the rest, as they say, is history.'
 
A Hatchet, A Hammer, A Bucket of Nails
Words and Music by Sarah Graham, Richard Ahlert and Eddie Snyder
 
In this song, Perry sings of what many young people are doing: living close to the earth, making their own homes, and earning their own way far from the madness of urban life. It's a contemporary concept, this yearning to be free and self-sufficient and at peace with the earth, and songwriters Sara Graham, Eddie Snyder, and Richard Ahlert have captured the feeling perfectly. Snyder, a pianist, wrote such pop hits as 'Talk to Me' and 'One More Mountain ( One More River )'. Richard Ahlert might have inherited his father's songwriting talent. He's the son of Fred E. Ahlert, composer of scores of hits, including 'Mean to Me', 'I'll Get By', and 'I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.'
 
Lightly Latin ~ RCA Victor 1966
 
How Insensitive ( Insensatez )
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim with lyrics by Vinicius De Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel
 
Another bittersweet bossa nova from the pen of Antonio Carlos Jobim is this one, originally titled 'Insensatez', which means 'unwise' or 'foolish'. American lyricist Norman Gimbel chose to stay close to the sound of the original title, but not its meaning. He wrote lyrics that are poignant and filled with yearning for what might have been. During the 1960s the songs semed to flow from Jobim as easily as April skies deliver rain. Now, more than 15 years and at least two musical style changes later, they arfe still as fresh and melodic as they were on first hearing.
 
( The ) Shadow of Your Smile  ( Love theme from "The Sandpiper" )
Music by Johnny Mandel with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, 1965
 
Songwriter Johnny Mercer tried his hand at writing lyrics for Johnny Mandel's theme for the film 'The Sandpiper', but they were rejected by the film's producer. At Mercer's suggestion, lyricist Paul Francis Webster then took a crack at it. The haunting song that resulted won an Academy Award ( the first for Mandel and the third for Webster ) and a Grammy, and became the most recorded and performed song of 1965. It is still a favourite everywhere.
 
Meditation ( Meditaçao )
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim with original lyrics by Newton Mendonça, 1963
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel , 1966
 
Originally called 'Meditaçao' in Brazil, this charming song, by Antonio Carlos Jobim and his old-time friend Newton Mendonça, relates the story of separated lovers and of how one meditates on the other. The stately, sad melody seems to float over the rippling samba rhythm, and that's one reason why bossa nova caught on so quickly and became so popular. Norman Gimbel wrote the English lyrics for several of Jobim's songs.
 
Manhã de Carnaval ( from the film "Black Orpheus" )
Music by Luiz Bonfa and lyrics by Antonio Mariz, 1960
English lyrics by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore ( Hugo & Luigi )
 
Guitarist Luiz Bonfa and composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, who both rose o fame during the bossa nova craze of the 1960s, collaborated on the score to the gorgeous Brazilian film 'Black Orpheus.' This haunting melody was the movie's leitmotif; it threaded through the story of Orfeo and Eurydice and was heard in a variety of contexts. When English lyrics were written for it, the song became 'A Day in the Life of a Fool,' the sad, wan story of a dejected lover. And that's what Perry sings here very movingly, with chorus and orchestra and a gentle bossa nova beat.
 
Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars ( Corcovado )
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim with lyrics by Gene Lees and Buddy Kaye
 
When Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote this lovely, languid melody, he titled it 'Corcovado', after the mountain near Rio de Janeiro that is surrounded by a huge concrete statue of Christ. 'The music tells the story of a man who lives on that hill', Jobim explained. 'He is always dreaming of the simple life. And from his window, he always sees the Saviour'. Gene Lees drew the assignment of writing the English lyrics, and he made it a love song that pulses gently and flows easily from line to line, idea to idea. Perry's version captures the hushed beauty of the long melody line and a sense of the muffled sounds of quiet nights.
 
Perry Como In Italy ~ original RCA Victor album 1966
 
Oh Marie
Original Italian melody arranged and adapted by Ray Charles and Nick Perito
Additional Italian adaptation by Edoardo DiCapua
 
"Perry's Italian heritage comes to the four in this simple and touching love song. His parents came from the district of Abruzzi in Italy, and as a child, he absorbed the customs and the language of the Italian neighborhood he was born into in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Nick Perito, pianist, accordionist, and musical director for Perry, adapted the old Italian melody for today's style. Ray Charles, conductor of the Ray Charles Singers, has been with Perry as choral director since 1954. He had the assignment of tailoring the Italian chorus to Perry's style for ( these songs ) which were cut in the RCA studios in Rome."
 
Santa Lucia
Original Italian melody by Teodoro Cottrau , 1850
Musical adaptation by Nick Perito with Italian/English lyrics adapted by Ray Charles
 
This soaring melody, written by Teodoro Cottrau in 1850, has become the anthem of Naples and a favourite of tenors everywhere. Nick Perito, a native of Denver who has arranged, composed, and conducted for such diverse singers as Helen Traubel and Frankie Avalon, adapted the song and arranged it for Perry's smooth baritone; Ray Charles did the choral writing.
 
O Marenariello
~ an original Italian melody
Arranged and adapted by Ray Charles and Nick Perito
with additional Italian adaptation by Salvatore Gambardella
 
"O Marenariello" is " . . . another lovely old Italian standard, adapted and arranged by Nick Perito for Perry, with vocal arrangements by Ray Charles, is sung completely in Italian by Mr. C. and the chorus. The song is a memory of another era, but it says something universal about all lovers: 'Let us go together by the sea and make love, you and I, heart to heart . . . for I may perish for the love of you.' "
 
Forget Domani
~ from the MGM Motion Picture "The Yellow Rolls Royce"
Words and Music by Riziero Ortolani and Norman Newell
 
"One of the best things about the 1965 film 'The Yellow Rolls-Royce' was its music, written by Riz Ortolani, who also composed the song 'More' for the soundtrack 'Mondo Cane.' Perry sings this perky melody from the film, assisted by the Italian chorus, who lend a delightful international flavour to the few lines they sing in English. Like the happy-go-lucky Italians one meets in some films, the song tells us to take each day as it comes and to be in love, because when you're in love, tomorrow never comes." 
 
Love Theme from "La Strada" ( Traveling Down a Lonely Road )
Music and original Italian lyrics by Nino Rinaldi Rota and Michele Galdieri , 1954
English lyrics by Don Raye
 
"Who can forget the impact of 'La Strata' and the haunting theme that served as an identifying melody for the character portrayed by Giulietta Masina? The music, by Nino Rota, was a perfect complement to the Federico Fellini film, one of the first to make an impression. Rota, who also scored Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita,' 'Nights of Cabiria,' 'The White Sheik,' and 'Vitelloni,' has written all kinds of music, from pop songs to symphonies, to grand opera. But his film music is very special. Don Raye supplied the English lyrics to Rota's theme. His credits include such varied songs as 'Mr. Five by Five,' 'I'll Remember April,' and 'Domino.' " 
 
Arrivederci Roma ( Goodbye to Rome )
~ featured in the 1958 Hollywood musical "Seven Hills of Rome"
Music by Renato Ranucci with Italian lyrics by Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini
English lyrics by Carl Sigman
 
From the Mario Lanza film 'The Seven Hills of Rome', this lovely song was written by actor Renato Rascel, who played Mario's cousin in the film. The American words were penned by Carl Sigman, writer of Perry's theme, 'Dream Along with Me'. Perry, the Italian chorus, and the large string orchestra, featuring two mandolins for Italian flavour, make this a recording to remember. It's a performance as Italian as the seven hills of that ancient city.
 
Look to Your Heart ~ 1968
 
My Cup Runneth Over ( from the Broadway musical "I Do! I Do!" )
Music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones
 
Perry's voice has been described by experts as 'a lovely Italian baritone with close to a two-octave range, a flawlessly even scale from top to bottom, a masterly use of half-voice and head-voice, phrasing at once fastidious and eloquent . . . and immaculate, unobtrusive enunciation.' To hear that description come to life, listen to this charming love song. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the song was one of the delights of their 1966 Broadway musical 'I Do! I Do!', based on the play 'The Fourposter' by Jan de Hartog. The musical had only two characters Robert Preston and Mary Martin in a remarkable performance, which covered the life together, from honey moon to old age, of a couple in love.
 
Try to Remember ( from the musical production "The Fantasticks" )
Music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones
 
The off-Broadway production of the musical 'The Fantasticks' has become a legend in the American theatre. The show opened on 3rd May, 1960 — and is still running! The original investment of $16,500 that producer Lore Noto raised to stage musical has been paid and repaid many thousand fold. And companies — both professional and amateur — keep the show alive in many languages all over the world. Tom Jones and Harry Schmidt met at the University of Texas, where they wrote undergraduate shows as a team. This gentle, whimsical production was their first full show together and their biggest hit. Try to Remember is its haunting opening and closing song.
 
The Father of Girls
Words and Music by Ervin M. Drake
 
'This song came out of my own personal experience,' recalls composer Ervin Drake. 'I have two daughters. Linda, who is married now, was 14, and Betsy was 8. I really felt my problems and apprehensions as a father of girls would touch a responsive strain in any father with daughters.' Of Perry's performance, Drake has said, 'Perry sang it in a very quiet, very sensitive way. After all, he himself is the father of girls'.
 
Seattle ~ 1969
 
Seattle
~ from the Screen Gems TV production "Here Come the Brides"
Words and Music by Hugo Montenegro, Ernie Sheldon and Jack Keller
 
This perky tune was the theme song for an American TV series called 'Here Come the Brides' but it has survived longer than the programme it introduced. The song was written by Ernie Sheldon, Jack Keller, and Hugo Montenegro. Sheldon is an old movie-title songwriter, with such credits as 'The Sons of Katie Elder' and 'Lord Love a Duck', and Montenegro became popular with his themes for such films as 'Lady in Cement', 'Hurry Sundown', and 'The Wrecking Crew'. Perry had a sizeable hit with this recording and, from the sound of it, he had a lot of fun, too.
 
It's Impossible ~ December 1970
 
It's Impossible
Music by Canache Armando Manzanero and lyrics by Sid Wayne
 
This 1970 hit was Perry's first big success since 1958, when he struck gold with 'Catch a Falling Star'. Somehow, he had managed to survive the change in musical style of the 1960s and made a 'comeback' with a new hit. The melody was by one of Mexico's most prolific and melodic songwriters ( and performers ), Armando Manzanero. Sid Wayne, who composed such hits as 'See You in September' and 'The Language of Love', wrote the lyrics. 'It's Impossible' helped to bring pretty melodies back into rock-heavy popular music and is well on the way to becoming Perry's 14th Gold Record.
 
Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
Music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David , 1969
 
Composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David capped their conquest of the 1960s with this Academy Award-winning song in 1969. One of the highlights of the film 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid', the song was probably the most recorded piece of music of that era. Perry's version is soft and slow, light in style, and easy to listen to. And note the tongue-in-cheek counting to eight by Perry and the chorus, as a lighthearted jest at the fresh, totally different construction of the song.
 
Snowbird
Words and Music by Gene MacLellan, 1970
 
This Snowbird flew to us from Canada, where its composer Gene MacLellan, and its original hit singer, Anne Murray, come from. To achieve such unique songs as this one, or Put Your Hand in the Hand, MacLellan says 'I start out with the sound in my head. Developing the melody is the easy part, in my case'. That accounts for the strong and unforgettable melody of MacLellan's music, most notably in Snowbird.
 
I Think I Love You
Words and Music by Tony Romeo, 1970
 
This slightly mad love song was the third smash-hit in a row for writer Tony Romeo -- starting with 'Indian Lake' by The Cowsills in 1968, 'I'm Gonna Make You Mine'  by Lou Christie in 1969, and this tune by The Partridge Family in 1970. It was No. 1 in every country in the world and the American National Association of Recording Merchandisers ( NARM ) record of the year. Romeo said recently: 'Perry's record of my song made it like a full circle for me. He was one of the people I grew up with and one of the people I fashioned my ideas in music on'.
 
I Think of You ~ original album 1971
 
I Think of You
Music by Francis Albert Lai with lyrics by Rod McKuen
 
French composer Francis Lai is among the most melodic of the composers writing for the screen, and his scores for "A Man and a Woman" and "Love Story" bear this out. Rod McKuen is probably the best-selling most widely read poet in America today. The combination of these two forces is irresistible. "I Think of You" is a pretty song that flows, beautifully and effortlessly, from start to finish.
 
Yesterday I Heard the Rain
Music by Canache Armando Manzanero and lyrics by Gene Lees
 
This beautiful melody is by the Mexican composer of 'It's Impossible', with words by Gene Lees, novelist, former jazz critic, and commentator on popular music. Lees recently assessed Perry's style and wrote: 'Como's work consistently astonishes me. He is a fantastic technician. Listen to the perfection of his intonation, the beauty of the sound he produces, the constant, comfortable breath control. And take notice of his high notes. Laymen are often impressed by the high note you can hear for five blocks. Professionals know that it is far more difficult to hit a  high note quietly. Como lights on a C or D at the top of a tune as softly as a bird on a branch, not even shaking it.' And Perry's performance of Mr. Lees' own song is a perfect example of his description.
 
My Days of Loving You
Words and Music by Eddie Snyder and Richard Ahlert
 
" As the great popular singers of the 1940s moved into their golden years, they tended to become contemplative. Frank Sinatra made emotional musical statements with "It Was a Very Good Year" and "My Way". Peggy Lee asked "Is That All There Is?" Tony Bennett made fine musical drama with "This Is All I Ask". And here Perry muses about the high points in a rich life, in a moving ballad by the team of pianist Eddie Snyder and lyricist Richard Ahlert. The song is emotionally charged, although quite low-key and relaxed in melody. "
 
And I Love You So ~ original album
 
Killing Me Softly
Music by Charles Fox and lyrics by Norman Gimbel , 1973
 
'I enjoy some of the newer things', Perry said recently. 'But you have to work at these tunes. They're more complicated than the old ones. After a while you see how much there is in them'. And this beautiful song is an excellent example of the 'newer things' Perry spoke of. It was voted a Grammy as song of the year in 1973 and was a smash hit for Roberta Flack, whose recording of it earned two more Grammys one for Record of the Year and another for Best Pop Vocal Female Performance. It was written by the bright young team of Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.
 
For The Good Times
Words and Music by Kris Kristofferson
 
Kris Kristofferson has been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, a short-story writer who was published in Atlantic Monthly, an Army helicopter pilot in Germany, and, most recently, a successful actor. But he very nearly failed at songwriting. For four years he tried to make it in Nashville, writing songs while barely scraping out a living for his family as a caretaker, ditch digger, and barman. When he finally hit the big time, in 1969, this was one of the songs that did it for him. Although Ray Price made a hit with the song, Kristofferson lived it the sad story of the slow dissolution of his marriage over those heartbreaking early Nashville years.
 
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree
Music by L. Russell Brown and lyrics by Irwin Levine , 1973
 
Irwin Levine and Larry Brown began writing songs together in 1970. They had 17 hits in just three years, including the overwhelming success of this happy melody about an ex-convict coming home to his love. The song was one of the most performed tunes of 1973 and the first song in the history of BMI  ( Broadcast Music, Inc., an American performing rights society ) to be played more than a million times on the air in less than a year. In all, there have been more than 400 separate recorded versions of Tie a Yellow Ribbon one of the biggest was by Country artist Johnny Carver and another by Tony Orlando and Dawn, who made it into a hugely successful hit. 
 
It All Seems To Fall Into Line
Music by Ben Weisman and lyrics by Al Stillman
 
'I don't mind being in my sixties', Perry said recently. 'I just don't want to feel or act it.' And he doesn't, judging by the songs he sings and the relish he displays in singing them. This modern-sounding song is actually the product of a veteran songwriting team, Al Stillman and Ben Weisman. Wordsmith Stillman wrote 'I Believe', 'Chances Are', 'Moments to Remember', 'No, Not Much', and 'Jukebox Saturday Night' among others. Weisman's songs range from 'Rock-a-Hula Baby' to 'Let Me Go Lover' to 'The Night Has a Thousand Eyes'. Together, they created a song with great appeal and a fresh sound.
 
I Believe In Music
Words and Music by Mac Davis , 1972
 
Mac Davis' affirmative, buoyant, delightful song that reminds us all of the role music plays in our lives is exactly tailored to Mr. C. 'As soon as I could whistle, I started making up songs', Davis recalls. 'Never studied music. The tunes just come to me.' He wrote some of Elvis Presley's big hits, including Memories, Don't Cry, Daddy, and In the Ghetto. But even if he never wrote another hit, I Believe In Music has made him immortal.
 
Perry ~ 1974
 
Behind Closed Doors
Words and Music by Kenny O'Dell
 
'Feeling . . . I think Country music is the world's greatest for that', Perry told reporters following his first sessions in Nashville. 'The guys feel what they're saying. I think that's why it's lasted so long. Feeling is very much a part of Country of Nashville. I try to feel what I'm singing.' That's probably why Perry chose to sing Behind Closed Doors. It was a huge hit for Country singer Charlie Rich, was voted Best Song of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1974, and won a Grammy for Best Country Song.
 
The Most Beautiful Girl
Words and Music by Rory Bourke, Billy Sherrill and Norro Wilson
 
Some of Country music's biggest writers got together to produce this whopping hit, which Charlie Rich propelled onto everyone's list of favourites in 1974. Rory Bourke joined the veterans Billy Sherrill and Norro Wilson in its composition. Sherrill's hits include Almost Persuaded, Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad, and Stand By Your Man, one of Tammy Wynette's greatest hits. Norro Wilson is a writer, record producer, and, on occasion, a singer and comedian. Among his hits are Good Things and A Picture of Me ( Without You ). The Most Beautiful Girl, a Grammy-winning song and record, has become one of the most performed songs in Country music.
 
I Don't Know What He Told You
Original Italian Words and Music by Giulio Rapetti, Elio Cesari, Alberto Testa
English lyrics by Robert I. Allen
 
Originally a popular Italian song, this intriguing tune was titled 'Un Uomo Tra la Folla', which translates roughly to 'A Man Against the Crowd', or, perhaps, 'One Man in Many'. But Robert I. Allen took what writers Renis, Mogol and Testa had composed and made it right for Perry. It's the old eternal triangle again, with Perry singing the role of the guy in the odd corner, trying to keep his love, despite what the other man has told her.
 
When You Come to the End of the Day
 
Scarlet RibbonsOriginally recorded in stereo
Music by Evelyn Danzig and lyrics by Jack Segal , 1949
 
Featuring a most appealing melody and a very sentimental set of lyrics, "Scarlet Ribbons" came into the world in 1949 with a recording by Juanita Hall ( who played Bloody Mary in "South Pacific" ). Harry Belafonte had a big-selling recording of it in 1956. It was much beloved by cafe performers and folk singers, because the story of the scarlet ribbons that appeared on the little girl's bed in answer to her prayers never failed to move audiences. And when the singer is Perry Como, the song becomes an extra treat , because Perry sings it slowly and sweetly, and holds those whole notes beautifully , as only he can.
 
May The Good Lord Bless And Keep YouOriginally recorded in stereo
Words and Music by Meredith Willson
 
'The Big Show' was American radio network's dying gasp in the late 1940s, but what a gasp it was. Tallulah Bankhead was MC, and Fred Allen, Groucho Marx, and Meredith Willson were regulars. At the end of each show Miss Bankhead spoke the ltrics to this song over the melody played by Mr. Willson's orchestra. Composer Willson said that the inspiration for the song came from his mother , who was a Sunday school teacher. Perry's version, simple and direct, was very popular when he performed it on his own TV show.
 
All Through The Night Originally recorded in stereo
Traditional Old Welsh Air Arranged by Ray Charles
 
Simplicity and sincerity again are evident in every bar of this beautiful 19th-century Welsh song. It is a credit to Perry that he can perform such inspirational music without losing any of its credibility. His religious beliefs and devotion to family life are well known and an inspiration on their own. He always included on his weekly TV show an inspirational song or two, which fit in perfectly with his own character and personality.
 
When You Come to The End of The DayOriginally recorded in stereo
Music by Frank C. Westphal and lyrics by Gus Kahn
 
Frank Westphal was a bandleader in the Midwest during the early part of this century. His orchestra concentrated on patriotic songs  and sentimental ballads, including Westphal's own composition, 'When You Come to the End of the Day'. The immortal Gus Kahn, whose lyrics grace such classics as 'My Isle of Golden Dreams', 'My Buddy', 'I'll See You in My Dreams', and 'The Waltz You saved for Me', wrote the words for Westphal's melody. The mood of peace created by the song had enchanted audiences everywhere.
 
I Believe ~ original 12" LP 1956
 
I Believe
Words and Music by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman
 
The team of writer's and composers working on Jane Froman's TV Show 'USA Canteen' in 1952 was asked to come up with a song Miss Froman could popularize. Because the show's mail indicated that people were very concerned about the Korean War, writer Erwin Drake recalled: "We thought we might be able to write a kind of song that would give the average person hope." And what a song it was. "I Believe" became a million-seller for Frankie Laine. And practically every singer has performed it. Perry's version is almost like a hymn; he sings it with fervour and with a soaring, open-voiced sound that is beautiful to hear.
 
Bless This House
Words and Music by Helen Taylor and May H. Morgan ( a.k.a. Brahe ), 1927
 
'My oldest is 36', Perry noted recently, 'but when either of us enters or leaves a house, we hug and kiss. We all do. I think husbands and wives, parents and children, should always show their love for each other.' And more than any other song in this album, 'Bless This House' displays clearly the sincerity and depth of Perry's feelings about home and family life. It dates back to 1927, when two Englishwomen, poetess Helen Taylor and composer May H. Brae, published a hymn called 'Bless the House'. Irish tenor John McCormack heard their song , liked it, added it to his repertoire and started it on the road to popularity. But first he suggested that the title and words be changed to the way this favourite is sung today.
 
In Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas ~ 1970
 
You'll Never Walk Alone ( recorded 'Live' 1970 )
~ from the musical production "Carousel"
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
 
The closing song in this Collection is a rare treat, drawn from the only LP Perry has recorded in performance. That appearance, at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in July of 1970, was Perry's first nightclub performance in 27 years, and the entire engagement was sold out weeks in advance. Judging by the applause the stunning performance of this fine ballad from 'Carousel', with its dramatic high-note ending, received, it was an engagement to remember. This exciting version of one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most inspiring songs is a delightful souvenir of that event . . . and a fitting climax to a Collection that features an artist who can truly be described as 'The Incomparable Como.'
 
( notes from "The Incomparable Como" Readers Digest UK compilation 1975 )
 
Readers Digest UK production
Many tracks are Electronically Reprocessed Stereo
Re-mastering Engineer: [unknown]
Original Compilation Release 1975

Perry Como ~ Mr. Saturday Night!

 
The Incomparable Como ~ Reader's Digest UKThe Best of Perry Como ~ Reader's Digest U,S. 1975

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