Jerry Vale

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Jerry Vale
Jerry Vale 1965
Vale in 1965.
Background information
Birth name Genaro Louis Vitaliano
Born (1930-07-08)July 8, 1930
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Died May 18, 2014(2014-05-18) (aged 83)
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Genres crooner
Occupation(s) Vocalist

Jerry Vale (born Genaro Louis Vitaliano; July 8, 1930 – May 18, 2014) was an Italian-American[1] singer and actor. During the 1950s and 1960s, Vale reached the top of the pop charts with his interpretations of romantic ballads, many of which he sang in Italian.[1]

The crooner showed his love of Italian music with his albums, I Have But One Heart (1962) and Arrivederci, Roma (1963), full of Italian standards such as "Amore, Scusami", "Ciao, Ciao, Bambina", "Arrivederci, Roma", and "O Sole Mio".[2] His renditions of "Volare", "Innamorata (Sweetheart)", and "Al di là" became classic Italian-American songs.[3]

Early life[edit]

Genaro Louis Vitaliano was born in the Bronx, N.Y., to Italian immigrant parents,[1] and grew up in the Bronx Italian American community.[4] In high school, to earn money, Vale took a job shining shoes in a barbershop, singing while he worked. His boss liked the sound so well that he paid for music lessons for the boy. Vale started singing in high school musicals and at a local nightclub. Still a teenager, he left school to work in a factory as an oiler alongside his father.[4][5]


His early nightclub performances led to additional shows in the early 1950s, including one lasting for three years at a club in Yonkers, New York. When Paul Insetta, (road manager for singer Guy Mitchell and hit songwriter) heard him there, he signed him to a management contract and further coached him. Genaro changed his name to the Americanized Jerry Vale. Insetta arranged for Vale to record some demonstration records of songs he'd written, and he brought them to Columbia Records. Guy Mitchell introduced Vale to Mitch Miller, influential executive at Columbia Records. Vale signed a recording contract, with Insetta as his manager for many years to come.

Vale’s first recording with the label, with accompaniment by Percy Faith and his band, was "You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart",[4] #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Vale's first U.S. hit.

His version of "The Star-Spangled Banner", recorded in the late 1963, was a fixture at many sporting events for years, and the gold record Vale received was displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.[2] Vale frequently sang the song at Yankee Stadium. Additionally, he owned the Daytona Beach Admirals.

In 1959, Vale married Rita Grapel, an actress who appeared in the 1952 film The Thief and who was his wife of 54 years, residing in Palm Desert, California. His biography A Singer's Life, by Richard Grudens, was published in 2000 by Celebrity Profiles. He sang the Late Night with David Letterman anthem "It's A Late Night World" on the program's eighth anniversary special in 1990. He made cameo appearances as himself in the 1990 film Goodfellas and the 1995 film Casino, both directed by Martin Scorsese.[5]

In 1968, Vale recorded the song "Don't Tell My Heart To Stop Loving You" in Tagalog, as "Daihil Sa'yo", which become the most massive hit in the Philippines and was later popularized by Filipino singer Bobby Gonzales in 1969. He performed for Marcos at the Malacañang Palace.

Vale reportedly suffered a stroke in 2002 and did not perform in his later years.[2]

Worldwide sales of Jerry's albums are at 192 million as if 2914. the Jerry Vale Foundation for the Performing Arts has donated in excess of $27 million dollars since his death and is currently negotiating with University of Nevada at Las Vegas, for naming rights to a new performing arts building or their stadium project if it is built to accommodate musical events with proper acoustical treatments.


Jerry Vale died of natural causes in his sleep on May 18, 2014, at his home in Palm Desert, California.[5] Vale was 83 years old. He is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Cathedral City, California.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2016 Disney animated film Zootopia, Nick Wilde finds a CD by Jerry Vole.


In 1998, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to Vale.[7]


See also[edit]



External links[edit]