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Popular crooner Vic Damone dies in Florida at 89

Popular crooner Vic Damone dies in Florida at 89
From CBC - February 12, 2018

Vic Damone, whose mellow baritone once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as "the best pipes in the business," has died in Florida at the age of 89, his daughter said.

Victoria Damone told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday that her father died Sunday at a Miami Beach hospital from complications of a respiratory illness.

Damone's easy-listening romantic ballads brought him million-selling records and sustained a half-century career in recordings, movies and nightclub and concert and television appearances.

Damone's career began climbing in the 1940s after he won a tie on the radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Hunt.His hit singles included Again, You are Breaking My Heart,My Heart Cries for You, On the Street Where You Liveand, in 1957, the title song of the Cary Grant film An Affair to Remember.

Damone's style as a lounge singer remained constant through the years: straightforward, concentrated on melody and lyrics without resorting to vocal gimmicks. Like many young singers of his era, his idol was Sinatra.

"I tried to mimic him," Damone said in a 1992 interview with Newsday. "I decided that if I could sound like Frank maybe I did have a chance. I was singing his words, breathing his breaths, [doing]his interpretation, with the high notes, the synergy."

Sinatra praised Damone

Sinatra and Damone, along with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Dean Martin and others comprised a group of Italian Americans who dominated the postwar pop music field. Far from resenting the mimicry, Sinatra praised Damone's singing ability.

Born Vito Farinola in Brooklyn, New York, on June 12, 1928, to immigrants from Bari, Italy, Damone dropped out of high school after his father, an electrician, was injured on the job.

Damone adopted his mother's maiden name when he began his career, after catching an early break while working as an usher at the Paramount Theater in New York City, according to a family statement.

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