Hubba, Hubba, Hubba

March 18, 1946

In the swoon sweepstakes, a new favorite has risen fast. Handsome Perry Como, 32, an ex-barber, last week finished second in Billboard Magazine's annual poll of 324 radio editors. (The winner, for the eighth year in a row, was Bing Crosby.) Como had climbed ahead of Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra.

Perry Como's Till the End of Time (a Tin Pan Alley rewrite of Chopin) was the biggest-selling single record of 1945 (more than 1,000,000 discs). Como versions of another Chopin tune, I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, and Dig You Later ("A Hubba, Hubba, Hubba") which has sold over a million records, are on the current jukebox best-selling lists. Como sings them straighter than slow-drag Sinatra, but with somewhat less ease than The Groaner, Crosby. Says Como: "I can't explain the different techniques in Crosby, Sinatra and me, unless it's that one's bald and one has curly hair and I wear my hair short."

Como, a Canonsburg, Pa. boy who—like Sinatra—is of Italian descent, spent eleven years on the way up, most of them singing with Ted Weems's orchestra. He remembers it as "riding on buses all day and singing all night." He is a Catholic, like Sinatra and Crosby, but is less apt to break into Ave Maria. Something like the new nonsense song, One-zy, Two-zy I Love You-zy, is more his style. He sometimes sings Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life to win the old folks, but in general he's a bobby-soxer's man, who gets screamed at. Says he: "If you don't like it you wouldn't be human. If they stopped you'd wonder what the hell happened. I'd like it a lot better if they'd give you a chance to do what you're supposed to do, and then scream their brains out."

Como takes a placid view of his rivals. Says he: "There's always room for three or four at the top. To me Crosby doesn't have to sing. Does he have to prove anything? It's like saying you like butter on your bread or water with your Scotch. You've gotten so used to it you think you can't do without it. Some man sat down with a pipe and thought Sinatra up. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."

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