Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8: Singer Jerry Vale is 83-years-old today.

Vale was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano on July 8, 1930, in the upper Bronx, New York City, New York. Every Sunday the Vitaliano family would have a party at Vale's grandmother's house where there was plenty of singing. This inspired Vale to take up singing as a profession.

At 11 years old, Vale got his first job shining shoes in a barber shop in Mount Vernon, New York. He would sing popular songs of the day. The barber at the store steered him to a pianist who taught children songs and who had a show at the Bronx Wintergarden every June. He made his debut there singing a song entitled "Shoe Shine Boy."

Vale began singing in supper clubs in and around New York at only 15, but claimed to be much older when singing with the Jen Ray Trio and the Matty Marin Quintet. At 16 he had already left school and was working in a factory. Vale had already begun to establish a local reputation, and after a year, began making recordings and singing songs of the day with a trio at the Club Del Rio in Yonkers, New York, changing his name to Vale.

Vale moved on to the Enchanted Room, which was also in Yonkers, with the Marty Marin Quintet where he met singer Guy Mitchell, who was already regarded as a top flight singer on Columbia Records. Mitchell was so impressed with Vale's performance, he arranged an audition with Columbia Records A & R chief Mitch Miller.

Vale made his first record on the Columbia label on December 23, 1952. It was called "You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart," backed by Percy Faith and his orchestra. It was reissued in 2000.

Nearly two years went by before Vale had his first hit, "Two Purple Shadows on the Snow," which held the number one spot for ten weeks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Vale sang duets early in his career with Peggy King and Felicia Sanders. Later he was scheduled to record "The Song from Moulin Rouge" with Faith, but had to have an emergency appendectomy and Miller chose to use Felicia Sanders to record it instead. It sold millions of copies and became an all-time hit.

In the 1960s, Vale recorded a song called "Have You Looked into Your Heart?" After Vale performed the song on the Ed Sullivan Show, Columbia Records had orders for more than 40,000 copies. The song made the top ten and became another instant hit for Vale.

Vale's television credits include more than 20 guest appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, 12 appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and 15 appearances on the Mike Douglas Show. His version of "The Star-Spangled Banner", recorded in the late 1960s, was a fixture at many sporting events for years.

Vale and Rita, his wife of over 40 years, reside in Palm Desert, California. His biography A Singer's Life, by Richard Grudens, was published in 2000.

For more about Jerry, visit his Website at –


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