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the super bowl and me

random friday, 1964 edition: dean martin, “everybody loves somebody”

When I think of Dean Martin, two things in particular come to mind. One, obviously, is Rio Bravo. The other is my father, who was a big fan of Dino. I’ve been considering this in the context of today’s random track. Sinatra ruled the roost for my parents when I was growing up, but now I wonder if that was more my mom’s doing. Not to say my dad didn’t like Frank, too, but it was my mom who loved Only the Lonely. And while my dad watched Dean Martin’s TV show religiously, I don’t remember if my mom even stayed up for it (memories are tenuous, of course). I think I’m at least right that my dad liked Dean Martin more than my mom did.

The basics of Martin’s career: a mildly-popular crooner teams up with Jerry Lewis, they become the most popular act of the pre-rock and roll era, radio and movies follow.

They split, Martin’s career stumbles a bit, then he hits his stride in movies and on record. (Yes, I posted this on the Ricky Nelson one, as well.)

In 1965, Martin’s own TV series begins … it ran for nine seasons, and spawned celebrity roast specials that ran for another decade.

The thing I find most interesting is how Martin was able to maintain his popularity long past the time rock and roll had taken over popular music. He made the Top Ten in 1949, and hit #1 in 1955 with “Memories Are Made of This.” By 1964, while Martin was still well-known as an actor, he hadn’t made the Top Ten for years, and the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion would seem to have made Martin’s music irrelevant. Even his own son played in a rock and roll band, Dino, Desi & Billy, which apparently didn’t impress Dad very much. One day, the story goes, Dad told Son that he was tired of hearing about the Beatles, and he was going knock them off the charts. “Everybody Loves Somebody” did exactly that, pushing “A Hard Day’s Night” aside. (Wikipedia notes, “Dean Martin became the only person in history to ever predict he'd knock the Beatles off the charts, and actually succeed.”) Martin made the Top Ten twice more over the next year.

Why did my dad love this guy so much? The answer, I think, has something to do with the music, of course … Martin developed into a talented crooner over the years. But more than that, it was the Dean Martin persona. Not the amiable drunk (which was largely a myth), but the guy was so cool, he even out-cooled the other members of the Rat Pack. On his TV series, Martin perfected an aura of casualness that was extremely appealing. Men of my father’s age might have used Sinatra to get their wives in the mood for love, but they wanted to BE Dean Martin. (And yes, I know I’m making a huge leap here, but hey, it’s my blog, and my dad’s no longer with us to set me straight.)

Dean Martin, forever cool. In fact, in 2007, one of those technological marvels whereby dead people sing duets with living people was released under Dean’s name. It was called Forever Cool, and his duet with Martina McBride on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” made it to #7 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

A MOG playlist:



Interesting write-up. A neat parallel, perhaps, to Martin knocking the Beatles off the top spot in America is Englebert Humperdinck's "Release Me" preventing the group from reaching #1 in the UK (for the first time since their chart run began, IIRC) with their most groundbreaking single up to that point" "Strawberry Fields Forever" b/w "Penny Lane."

Also just want to put in a brief word for "That's Amoré," which I've of course played frequently at weddings over the years. It's a truly great song to play late in the night when a) it's a really good, receptive crowd; and b) they're all wasted out of their tree. I've seen people dancing on tables to the song. It inspires the sort of wanton behaviour that would be the envy of any rock 'n' roller!

Steven Rubio

You know, I'm always forgetting Englebert Humperdinck ... think of him as a poor man's Tom Jones, I guess. But you're right, he was a big star, too.


You know, in 1969 when Dino finally stopped performing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas--where the "Rat Pack" famously played during their filming of "Ocean's Eleven," and where Sinatra and the others continued to solo--he went to the Riviera (following Sinatra's departure in 1967 to Ceasar's Palace). When he opened, Dino's tickets cost more than Sinatra's and he was the top act in town until the King blew in.

Steven Rubio

My sense of Vegas as an entertainment capital was formed entirely by the Rat Pack days. Years, even decades later, I'd hear someone was playing Vegas and I'd think they were sellouts, because rock and rollers didn't play Vegas. I didn't even really appreciate Vegas Elvis until I was much older.

dino martin peters

Hey pallie, thanks so much for liftin' up the name of our to learn that you father loved our great man....never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth.....

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