This is a review of Dean Martin Greatest Hits as a solo singer. He was one of the most popular American entertainers of the mid-20th century. Martin was nicknamed “King of Cool” for his seemingly-effortless charisma and self-assuredness. He was a member of the Rat Pack, a star in nightclubs, recording, movie films, and television. He was the host of his own TV Show “The Dean Martin Show” from 1965-1974, and “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts” from 1974-1985. His trademark for singing was his warbling crooning voice which brought him dozens of hit singles. He has released over 21 albums, and many after his death have been released for the first time. Here is his story…
His Early Life
He was born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio to an Italian father Gaetano, and an Italian-American mother, Angela Crocetti. His father was from Montesilvano, Pescara, Abruzzo, Italy. He had an older brother named Bill. He attended Grant Elementary School in Steubenville, and took up the drums as a hobby as a teenager. He was ridiculed for his broken English and did not speak any English until he was five. He dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and delivered bootleg liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill, and was a boxer in the welterweight division.
At 15 he was a boxer who billed himself as “Kid Crochet“. His prizefighting earned him a broken nose (later straightened), a scarred lip, many broken knuckles (a result of not being able to afford tape used to wrap boxers’ hands), and a bruised body. For a time, he roomed with Sonny King, who, like Martin, was starting in show business and had little money. It is said that Martin and King held bare-knuckle matches in their apartment, fighting until one was knocked out; people paid to watch. Martin knocked out King in the first round of an amateur boxing match.
Music Career Start
Martin gave up boxing to work as a roulette stickman and croupier in an illegal casino behind a tobacco shop, where he had started as a stock boy. At the same time he sang with local bands, calling himself “Dino Martini” (after the Metropolitan Opera tenor, Nino Martini. He got his break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills (of the Mills Brothers), among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.
Martin attracted the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, but a Hollywood contract was not forthcoming. He met comic Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both were performing. Martin and Lewis formed a fast friendship which led to their participation in each other’s acts and the formation of a music-comedy team. They broke up in 1956, and Martin solely focused on his music career.
His first charted single was released in 1948 titled “That Certain Party” which went to #22 on the pop charts. His first top ten hit was “Powder Your Face With Sunshine” released in February, 1949. It peaked at #10. One of his biggest hits in the early fifties was “That’s Amore” written by Harry Warren and released in November, 1953 and peaked at #2 for 5 weeks. The song has been performed in many TV shows and some films.
In 1956, Martin released his first #1 hit single was “Memories Are Made Of This” which stayed at the top spot for 6 weeks and was his biggest hit and the most popular version. In April, 1958, he released “Return To Me” which peaked at #4 and was on the charts for 21 weeks.
After he released “Volare” in 1958 and peaked at #12, he had no top ten hits until 1964. In June he released “Everybody Loves Somebody” which was his second and last #1 Hot 100 single. It stayed at #1 for one week. He followed that hit with “The Door Is Still Open To My Heart” in September and peaked at #6. Martin had only one more top ten hit and it was “I Will” in 1965, at #10 and his last. His last top 40 hit was “In The Misty Moonlight” in August 1967, and peaked at #38. His last Billboard single on the chart was “Georgia’s Sunshine” in January 1971, at #116.
Dean Martin was very popular on the Adult Contemporary charts. He had twenty singles that made the top ten and five that went to #1. He is ranked as the #34 artist of all-time on that chart from 1961-2001.
All told, Dean Martin had a total of 2 #1’s, 7 Top 10, 12 Top 20, and 27 Top 40 hit songs on the Hot 100 chart. He also had 3 top ten albums. Billboard ranks Dean Martin as the #45 artist from 1955-1959, and the #124 artist of all-time from 1955-2010. He had 10 singles on the charts from 1948-1954 and 42 singles from 1955-1971 for a total of 52 charted songs.
Top Ten’s and #1’s
Below you will find a complete list of all of Dean Martin’s top ten and #1 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary Charts. The list will consist of the title (#1 hits in bold), debut date or date song hit #1, peak position #, number of weeks at #1 or #2 in () in chronological order.
Pop Singles & Hot 100 Charts
- Powder Your Face With Sunshine – February 19, 1949 #10
- That’s Amore – November 14, 1953 #2 (5)
- Memories Are Made Of This – January 7, 1956 #1 (6)
- Return To Me – April 7, 1956
- Everybody Loves Somebody – August 15, 1964 #1 (1)
- The Door Is Still Open To My Heart – September 26, 1964 #6
- I Will – October 30, 1965 #10
- Everybody Loves Somebody – August 1, 1964 #1 (8)
- The Door Is Still Open To My Heart – November 14, 1964 #1 (1)
- You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You – January 30, 1965 #1 (1)
- Send Me The Pillow You Dream On – February 20, 1965 #5
- I’m The One Who Loves You – May 22, 1965 #7
- Houston – August 7, 1965 #2 (1)
- I Will – October 30, 1965 #3
- Somewhere There’s A Someone – February 12, 1966 #2 (2)
- Come Running Back – May 7, 1966 #4
- A Million And One – July 23, 1966 #4
- Nobody’s Baby Again – October 8, 1966 #6
- (Open The Door) Let The Good Times In – December 10, 1966 #7
- Lay Some Happiness On Me – April 29, 1967 #6
- In The Chapel In The Moonlight – August 12, 1967 #1 (3)
- Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me – August 26, 1967 #5
- In The Misty Moonlight – January 20, 1968 #1 (2)
- You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart – March 23, 1968 #7
- April Again – August 17, 1968 #9
- Not Enough Indians – November 2, 1968 #4
- Gentle On My Mind – February 22, 1969 #9
That’s Amore #2 1953
Memories Are Made Of This #1 (6 weeks) 1956
Dino: The Essential Dean Martin 2 CDs 36 Tracks
Shop Dean Martin Greatest Hits
If you are a great fan of Dean Martin, I highly recommend the album “Greatest Hits” as it contains all of his #1 hits in the fifties. The following album “Classic Dino: Best of Dean Martin, has all of his #1 hits, and some of his other big hits of the fifties and sixties. Another Dean Martin CD Dino: The Essential Dean Martin 2 CDs 36 Tracks.
You can shop for individual Dean Martin Greatest Hits by clicking on the link. You will be taken to the Amazon Try Prime Digital Music page where you can download any of Dean Martin individual songs for a small fee.