“One of the great Italian American pop crooners…”
It’s An Iconic Al Martino Christmas!
This holiday season I have been sharing some of my favorite holiday music, and I didn’t want to forget this classic holiday album from the iconic Al Martino, who has been described as one of the “great Italian American pop crooners!”
Al Martino’s Decades Of Smash Hits!
Martino was one of the most popular singers in America – decades full of hit albums, TV appearances, tours and movies as well.
Martino’s first #1 hit was “Here In My Heart” in 1952, and in the decades that followed, Martino sold millions of albums – and starred in the greatest film ever made…more on his most famous role in “The Godfather” in a moment…
In 1963, Martino had one of his biggest U.S. chart successes with “I Love You Because”. Martino had four other U.S. top 10 hits in 1963 and 1964 – “Painted, Tainted Rose”, “I Love You More and More Every Day”, “Tears and Roses”, and “Silver Bells”.
Martino’s Platinum “Spanish Eyes”
Martino is also known for the classic song “Spanish Eyes”, which went platinum in the mid-60’s.
Here is a great live performance from German television in 1967:
“You’re All I Want For Christmas”
But now it’s time to talk Santa Claus and more.
I wanted to share some of Martino’s great holiday music – classic songs that are timeless.
This album means so much to his family – as his daughter Alison told me:
“My parents actually met on a plane ride while dad was promoting that record. It was 1964 and my mother was an American Airlines stewardess at the time and he signed her a copy of that LP. It was a short flight, but was love at first “flight”.
Here is the audio-only of Martino’s classic holiday hit “You’re All I Want For Christmas”:
Martino left us with lots of great Christmas classics, like “What Child Is This”:
Martino has a lot of great holiday songs that you can buy, like this holiday classic “White Christmas”:
Alison has posted many great photos of her Mom and Dad. Here she is as a VERY young girl!
She and her Mom love listening to all of her Dad’s music, but the holiday music is also very special to her. As Alison told me:
“Dad’s Christmas album is truly our gift during the holidays. We lost him in 2009, but because of that record we hear him every year.”
Martino’s music can be downloaded or purchased from Amazon as well as other outlets – here is a link to his Christmas album…
I love this music – an era when Martino, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett created a classic “Mad Men” sound, and on these holidays songs his voice is as smooth as silk…he was a huge star, and made his mark in movies as well…
Johnny Fontane Gets Smacked By The Godfather!
Martino famously portrayed washed-up Singer Johnny Fontane in “The Godfather”, and shares a great moment in the film with “Godfather” Marlon Brando.
Martino’s daughter Alison shared this anecdote with me:
“When dad was about to film that scene, he overheard Marlon Brando tell Frances Coppola:
“You better give Al a stiff drink before we shoot that scene”.
You know the moment, right when Johnny makes the mistake of saying “I don’t know what to do” to Don Corleone:
“You Can Act Like A Man!”
As you can see, The Godfather erupts with passion and screams at Fontaine: “you can act like a man!”
He also slaps him – something that wasn’t in the script and Martino had no idea was coming – his reaction is real!
As Alison adds about Brando’s warning to Coppola:
“After the scene was filmed, Dad knew why he said that. It was a hard slap!”
James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone, agreed. According to Caan:
“Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!”
Alison also shared this:
“During ‘The Godfather’, Dad recorded and additional Christmas song for the movie. It was “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and it plays in the scene where Michael sees the news about him pop in the paper being shot! Here’s the scene:”
Alison points out that her Dad’s version of the song has never been released commercially!
Alison’s Effort To Keep Vintage Los Angeles Alive!
Martino’s daughter Alison is an industry professional and entertainment insider who is passionate about saving “classic Hollywood” for future generations to enjoy:
Alison took part in a great “Godfather” screening here in Los Angeles, and she shared this “slap” story with Film Critic Kenneth Turan on stage – and she shows off her Dad’s personal copy of the film’s script!
She also tells a great story about how her Dad got new “Managers” unexpectedly when he was starting out – the Mob!
Check out this fascinating conversation here!
Alison’s terrific website “Vintage Los Angeles” is documenting the history of Hollywood so that it’s not forgotten…check it out here:
There have been so many great Artists who have released holiday music…I’m a Paul McCartney fan, and he wrote one of the most popular songs:
You can see the music video from 1979 here:
Paul wasn’t the only ex-Beatle to release a holiday tune, but this one was a bit more political in tone:
John and Yoko released the powerful “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” in 1971 – here is the music video and some great trivia about the recording of the song:
One of the most unique holiday songs is the gorgeous duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby:
Here is my story about the recording of “Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth” – and the fact that Bowie didn’t want to sing it! Click here for more:
Many other performers and great bands also recorded a holiday classic:
Here are some great stories about the recording of this holiday classic:
Happy Holidays From Al!
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Thank you SO much John for this fabulous indepth post about Al… loved reminiscing seeing the photos and album covers, etc. Al’s Christmas CD is truly special to me as Alison told you that is how Al and I actually met. It was a lucky flight for me and that album started it all ! I love that it is all traditional Christmas songs with beautiful arrangements and of course Al’s voice lends itself to those glorious songs. Just last night I was driving down the street and on came Al’s “You’re All I Want For Christmas ” on Sirius radio….still a thrill to hear and today I see your wonderful article, thank you, thank you! 🎄🎤🎄
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It has been a pleasure to know Alison and see the incredible work she is doing to save Vintage Los Angeles…classic Hollywood deserves recognition and remembrance!