Al Martino featured Singing Sampod Legend
Dec. 21, 2012
-- In 1952, crooner Al Martino made it into the Guiness Book of World Records
and not for an accomplishment in the U.S. That was the first year that the United Kingdom published a Top Singles Chart, and Martino sat in #1 position with "Here In My Heart, a song which remained in the top position for nine weeks in the United Kingdom, a record for the longest consecutive run at No. 1 that has only since been beaten by only five other songs. In the United States, the crooner also reached #1 on the Pop Singles Charts and won a Gold Record for selling one million copies. Because he was friends with tenor Mario Lanza, he convinced Mario not to release a recording of the song until his record had a chance at an advance run. It worked!
It took eleven more years before he had another smash hit. This time it was both a single and an album, and both reached the Top Ten. It was a pop interpretation of the country song, "I Love You Because". Another of his biggest hits was called "Spanish Eyes". It achieved gold and platinum discs for top sales. Recorded in 1965, the song also reached Number 5 on the UK Singles Chart when it was re-issued in 1973. The tune (melody by Burt Kampfert) was originally called "Moon Over Naples" and as "Spanish Eyes" it has become one of the most recorded and sung songs in Music History.
Martino is perhaps better known today for his acting role of "Johnny Fontane" in The Godfather Series. It is said that the part parallels his own career and early problems he had with the Italian Mafia who originally bought out his contract when he first started his career, forcing him to move out of the country to solve the problem.
He died in October 2009, six days after his 82nd birthday. In December of that year he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Today, we honor him as another of Sampod's Singing Legends.