Friday, October 13, 2017

Singer & "The Godfather" Actor Al Martino 2009 Holy Cross Cemetery

Al Martino (born Jasper Cini; October 7, 1927 – October 13, 2009) was an American singer and actor. He had his greatest success as a singer between the early 1950s and mid-1970s, being described as "one of the great Italian American pop crooners,"[1] and also became well known as an actor, particularly for his role as singer Johnny Fontane in The Godfather.

Early life

Jasper "Al" Cini was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] The name Jasper was an anglicisation of his father's name, Gasparino. His parents were immigrants from Abruzzo, Italy, who ran a construction business, and while growing up, he worked alongside his brothers as a bricklayer. He aspired to become a singer, emulating artists such as Al Jolson and Perry Como, and by the success of a family friend, Alfredo Cocozza, who had changed his name to Mario Lanza.[1]


After serving with the United States Navy in World War II, during which he was part of, and injured in, the Iwo Jima invasion, Cini began his singing career.[3] Encouraged by Lanza, he adopted the stage name Al Martino—based on the name of his good friend Lorraine Cianfrani's (née Losavio) husband Alfred Martin Cianfrani—and began singing in local nightclubs. In 1948, he moved to New York City, recorded some sides for the Jubilee label,[4][5] and in 1952, won first place on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts television program with a performance of Como's hit "If."[6]

As a result, he won a recording contract with the Philadelphia-based independent record label BBS, where he recorded "Here in My Heart." Lanza's label RCA Victor had asked him to record the song, but Martino called and pleaded with him to let Martino's version have a clear run.[1][2] The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on the US pop charts in June 1952, earning Martino a gold disc,[7] and later in the year, also reached the top of the UK charts. It was number one in the first UK Singles chart, published by the New Musical Express on November 14, 1952, putting him into the Guinness Book of World Records.[8] "Here in My Heart" remained in the top position for nine weeks in the UK, a record for the longest consecutive run at number one, that has only since been beaten by five other songs.[9][10]

The record's success led to a deal with Capitol Records, and he released three more singles: "Take My Heart," "Rachel," and "When You're Mine" through 1953, all of which hit the U.S. top 40.[1] However, his success also attracted the attention of the Mafia, which bought out Martino’s management contract and ordered him to pay $75,000 as a safeguard for their investment.[1] After making a down-payment to appease them, he moved to Britain. His popularity allowed him to continue to perform and record successfully in the UK, headlining at the London Palladium and having six further British chart hits in the period up to 1955, including "Now" and "Wanted." However, his work received no exposure back in the US.[1] In 1958, thanks to the intervention of a family friend, Martino was allowed to return to the U.S. and resume his recording career, but he faced difficulties in re-establishing himself, especially with the arrival of rock and roll. In 1959, Martino signed with 20th Fox Records;[11] his deal scored him two albums,[12] and four singles released, none of which was a major hit. The success of his 1962 album The Exciting Voice of Al Martino secured him a new contract with Capitol, and was followed by a mostly Italian-language album, The Italian Voice of Al Martino, which featured his version of the then internationally popular song "Al Di Là." He also made several high-profile television appearances, helping to re-establish his visibility.[1]

In 1963, he had his biggest U.S. chart success with "I Love You Because," a cover of Leon Payne's 1950 country music hit. Arranged by Belford Hendricks, Martino's version went to number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number one on the Easy Listening chart. The album of the same name went top 10 in the Billboard 200. Martino had four other U.S. top 10 hits in 1963 and 1964 - "Painted, Tainted Rose" (1963), "I Love You More and More Every Day," "Tears and Roses," and "Silver Bells" (all 1964).[1] He also sang the title song for the 1964 film, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. One of his biggest hits was "Spanish Eyes," achieving several gold and platinum discs for sales.[13] Recorded in 1965, the song reached number five on the UK Singles chart when reissued in 1973.[10] The song, with a tune by Bert Kaempfert originally titled "Moon Over Naples," is among the 50 most-played songs worldwide.[14]

In the mid- to late 1960s, the Martino family lived in this house on the corner of Laurel Place and Belmont Drive in Cherry Hill Estates, New Jersey, just down the street from Frankie Avalon.

Martino's run of chart success faded after the mid-1960s, although many of his records continued to reach the U.S. Hot 100. Another later hit was a disco version of "Volare," (also known as "Nel blu, Dipinto di Blu"). In 1976, it reached number one on the Italian and Flemish charts, and was in the top 10 in Spain, the Netherlands, and France, as well as in many other European countries. In 1993, Martino recorded a new studio album with German producer Dieter Bohlen (former member of pop duo Modern Talking, producer of international artists such as Chris Norman of Smokie, Bonnie Tyler, Dionne Warwick, Engelbert or Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate). The single "Spanish Ballerina" (written in Bohlen's europop sound) reached number 93 in the German single charts.[15]

Apart from singing, Martino played the role of Johnny Fontane in the 1972 film The Godfather, as well as singing the film's theme, "Speak Softly Love." He played the same role in The Godfather Part III and The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980. He later returned to acting, playing aging crooner Sal Stevens in the short film Cutout, appearing in film festivals around the world in 2006.


Martino was married to Judi. He had three children, Alison Martino, Alfred Cini, and Alana Cini; and several grandchildren.

Daughter Alison Martino is a writer and television producer of such programs as Mysteries and Scandals and Headliners and Legends.[16] Martino also writes for Los Angeles.[17] Martino is an amateur historian, who launched the organization Vintage Los Angeles in 2010.[16] Vintage Los Angeles is a tribute to the Los Angeles of yore, which has about 250,000 followers on Facebook.[18]


Martino died from a heart attack[19][20] on October 13, 2009 at his childhood home in Springfield, Pennsylvania, six days after his 82nd birthday. He was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Awards and honors

2009 — inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.[21]

Partial filmography

The Godfather (1972) - Johnny Fontane
The Godfather Part III (1990) - Johnny Fontane


Studio albums

1959: Al Martino 1960: Swing Along With Al Martino 
1962: The Exciting Voice of Al Martino (U.S. No. 109) 
1962: The Italian Voice of Al Martino (U.S. No. 57) 
1963: I Love You Because (U.S. No. 7) 
1963: Painted, Tainted Rose (U.S. No. 9) 
1963: Love Notes 
1964: A Merry Christmas 
1964: I Love You More and More Every Day/Tears and Roses (U.S. No. 31) 
1964: Living a Lie (U.S. No. 13) 
1965: My Cherie (U.S. No. 19) 
1965: Somebody Else is Taking My Place (U.S. No. 42) 
1965: We Could (U.S. No. 41) 
1966: Spanish Eyes (U.S. No. 8) 
1966: Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep (U.S. No. 116) 
1966: This is Love (U.S. No. 57) 
1967: Daddy's Little Girl (U.S. No. 23) 
1967: This Love for You (U.S. No. 99) 
1967: Mary in the Morning (U.S. No. 63) 
1968: Love is Blue (U.S. No. 56) 1968: This is Al Martino (U.S. No. 129) 
1969: Jean (U.S. No. 196) 
1969: Sausalito (U.S. No. 189) 
1970: Can't Help Falling in Love (U.S. No. 184) 
1970: My Heart Sings (U.S. No. 172) 
1972: Love Theme from 'The Godfather' (U.S. No. 138) 
1975: To the Door of the Sun (U.S. No. 129) 
1976: In Concert: Recorded With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (live) 
1976: Sing My Love Songs 
1977: Time after time 
1978: Al Martino Sings 
1978: Al Martino 
1982: All of Me 
1993: The Voice to Your Heart; produced by Dieter Bohlen in Germany 
2006: Come Share the Wine 
2011: Thank You


1968: The Best of Al Martino (U.S. No. 108) 
1999: The Legendary Al Martino


Year Titles (A-side/B-side)

Both sides from same album except where indicated 

U.S. Billboard[22] U.S. Cash Box[23] U.S. AC[22] UK[10] Album

"Here in My Heart" b/w "I Cried Myself To Sleep" 1 2 1  Non-album tracks 
"Take My Heart" b/w "I Never Cared" 12 9  Non-album tracks 
"I've Never Seen" b/w "Say You'll Wait For Me" Non-album tracks 

"Now" b/w "In All This World" 25 3  Non-album tracks 
"Rachel" b/w "One Lonely Night" 30 21 10  Non-album tracks 
"Here In My Arms" b/w "There's Music In You"  Non-album tracks 
 "When You're Mine" b/w "This Night I'll Remember" 27  Non-album tracks 
 "All I Want Is A Chance" b/w "You Can't Go On Forever Breaking My Heart" Non-album tracks 

"Melancholy Serenade" b/w "Way, Paesano (Uei...Paesano)"  Non-album tracks 
 "Wanted" b/w "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight" 4  Non-album tracks 
"The Story Of Tina" b/w "Say It Again" 10  Non-album tracks 
"Don't Go To Strangers" b/w "When" Non-album tracks 

"The Man From Laramie" b/w "To Please My Lady" 19  Non-album tracks 
"Love Is Eternal" b/w "The Snowy, Snowy Mountains" Non-album tracks 

"A Love To Call My Own" b/w "The Girl I Left In Rome" Non-album tracks 

"I'm Sorry" b/w "I'm A Funny Guy" Non-album tracks 

"Here In My Heart" b/w "Two Lovers" Non-album tracks 

"I Can't Get You Out of My Heart" b/w "Two Hearts Are Better Than One" 44 43  Non-album tracks 
 "Darling, I Love You" b/w "The Memory Of You" 63 52 Non-album tracks 

"Summertime" b/w "I Sold My Heart" (Non-album track) 49 Swing Along With Al Martino
"Dearest (Cara)" b/w "Hello My Love" 106 Non-album tracks 
"Only The Broken Hearted" b/w "Journey To Love" 
 "Our Concerto" b/w "In My Heart Of Hearts" 
 "Come Back To Me" b/w "It's All Over But The Crying"

"Little Boy, Little Girl" b/w "My Side Of The Story" 109 92 
"Here in My Heart" (re-recording) b/w "Granada" 86 102 17 The Exciting Voice Of Al Martino 
"Pardon" b/w "Another Time, Another Place" Non-album tracks

"There's No Tomorrow" b/w "The Memory Of You" 
"Love, Where Are You Now (Toselli Serenade)" b/w "Exodus" 119 The Exciting Voice Of Al Martino 
"Because You're Mine" b/w "Make Me Believe"

"I Love You Because" b/w "Merry-Go-Round" 3 3 1 48 I Love You Because 
"Painted, Tainted Rose" b/w "That's The Way It's Got To Be" 15 19 3 Painted, Tainted Rose 
"Living A Lie" b/w "I Love You Truly" (from Painted, Tainted Rose) 22 23 8 Living A Lie

"My Side Of The Story" b/w "It's All Over But The Crying" Non-album tracks 
"I Love You More and More Every Day" b/w "I'm Living My Heaven With You" 9 11 3 I Love You More and More Every Day 
"Tears and Roses" b/w "A Year Ago Tonight" (Non-album track) 20 18 7 
"Always Together" / 33 41 4 We Could 
"Thank You For Loving Me" 118 96 Non-album tracks 
"I Can't Get You Out of My Heart" (reissue) b/w "Come Back To Me" 99 
"We Could" b/w "Sunrise To Sunrise" 41 44 6 We Could 
"Silver Bells" b/w "You're All I Want For Christmas" 145 A Merry Christmas

"My Heart Would Know" b/w "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" 52 50 11 Somebody Else Is Taking My Place 
"Somebody Else Is Taking My Place" / 53 64 11 
"With All My Heart" 122 99 
"My Cherie" / 88 79 26 My Cherie 
"Ramona" tag Painted, Tainted Rose 
"Forgive Me" b/w "What Now, My Love" (from My Cherie) 61 73 7 Spanish Eyes

"Spanish Eyes" b/w "Melody Of Love" (From My Cherie) 15 16 1 5 A 
"Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself To Sleep" b/w "Hello Memory" 30 33 2 
"Wiederseh'n" b/w "The Minute You're Gone" 57 61 3 Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep 
"Just Yesterday" b/w "By The River Of Roses" (from Spanish Eyes) 77 71 12 This Is Love 
"The Wheel of Hurt" b/w "Somewhere In This World" 59 57 12 Daddy's Little Girl

"Daddy's Little Girl" b/w "Devotion" (From This Love For You) 42 46 2 
"Mary in the Morning" b/w "I Love You and You Love Me" 27 27 1 
"More Than the Eye Can See" b/w "Red Is Red" (from Mary In The Morning) 54 47 1 This Is Al Martino 
"A Voice In the Choir" b/w "The Glory Of Love" (from This Is Al Martino) 80 81 5 Non-album track

"Love Is Blue" b/w "I'm Carryin' The World On My Shoulders" 57 60 3 Love Is Blue 
"Lili Marlene" b/w "Georgia" 87 82 7 
"Wake Up To Me Gentle" b/w "If You Must Leave My Life" 120 125 21 Wake Up To Me Gentle

"I Can't Help It" b/w "I Can See Only You" 97 93 10 
"Sausalito" b/w "Take My Hand For A While" 99 62 13 Sausalito 
"I Started Loving You Again" B b/w "Let Me Stay Awhile" (from Jean) 86 74 19 Non-album track

"Can't Help Falling in Love" b/w "You're All The Woman That I Need" 51 57 5 Can't Help Falling In Love "Walking In The Sand" b/w "One More Mile (and Darlin', I'll Be Home)" (from Can't Help Falling In Love) 123 9 To The Door Of The Sun "True Love Is Greater Than Friendship" b/w "The Call" 110 33 My Heart Sings

"Come Into My Life" b/w "One Pair Of Hands" (from My Heart Sings) 104 30 To The Door Of The Sun 
"Losing My Mind" b/w "Too Many Mornings" (Non-album track) 39 Summer of '42 
"This Summer Knows" b/w "More Now Than Ever"

"Speak Softly Love" b/w "I Have But One Heart" 80 81 24 Love Theme from 'The Godfather' 
"Canta Libre" b/w "Take Me Back" 37 Non-album tracks

"Hey Mama" b/w "If I Give My Heart To You" (Non-album track) The Very Best Of Al Martino 
"Daddy Let's Play" b/w "Mary Go Lightly (Como Un Nino)" (from To The Door Of The Sun) Country Style

"To the Door of the Sun (Alle Porte del Sole)" b/w "Mary Go Lightly (Como Un Nino)" 17 21 7 To The Door Of The Sun

"Volare" b/w "You Belong To Me" 33 41 9 Sing My Love Songs 
"My Thrill" b/w "The More I See You" 43 
 "Sing My Love Song" (With The Mike Curb Congregation) b/w "May I Have The Next Dream With You" 24

"Kentucky Morning" b/w "Sweet Marlorene" 110 26 The Next Hundred Years

"The Next Hundred Years" b/w "After The Lovin'" 49 55 6 
 "One Last Time" b/w "Here I Go Again" 44

"Torero" b/w "Now That I Found You" Non-album tracks

"Almost Gone" B-side unknown Non-album tracks 

"Look Around (You'll Find Me There)" "More Than Ever Now" Non-album tracks 

"You and I" b/w "If I Should Love Again"  Non-album tracks 
 "What Your Love Did For Me" b/w "Warm Is When You Touch Me"  Non-album tracks 

A "Spanish Eyes" reached #5 in the UK on re-issue in 1973.[10] 

B "I Started Loving You Again" also peaked at #69 on Hot Country Songs.


1. Huey, Steve. "Al Martino Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. 
2. Velez, A.E. (14 October 2009). "Al Martino, Singer of Pop Ballads, Is Dead at 82". The New York Times. p. B14.
3. "Al Martino". Telegraph.
4. "Jubilee Records Advertisement". Billboard. April 25, 1953. p. 71.
5. "Popular Record Reviews". Billboard. April 14, 1951.
6. Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 446. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
7. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
8. Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
9. "I Believe" (11 weeks), "Cara Mia" (10), "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (16), "Love Is All Around" (15), and "Umbrella" (10)
10. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles and Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 352. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
11. Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice (February 7, 2006). "20th Century Fox Records".
12. Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice (February 8, 2006). "20th Century Fox Album Discography, Part 1".
13. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 194. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
14. "Al Martino Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 14 October 2009.
15. "German Single Charts (Dieter Bohlen)".
16. Stevie St. John (2 April 2014). "With ‘Vintage Los Angeles,’ Every Day is ‘Throwback Thursday’ for Alison Martino".
18. "THE GODMOTHER Alison Martino is the Guardian of the History of Old Hollywood and the Sunset Strip".
20. Al Martino
21. "Al Martino". Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
22. "Al Martino | Awards". AllMusic.
23. "Cashbox Archives". Cashbox. ISSN 0008-7289.

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