From Nostra Voce Magazine
The first popular Italian-American singer was Russ Colombo. He was most famous for his songs "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love," "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful For Words." Colombo was really popular in the 30's. In the 40's and 50's, the era between Bing Crosby and Neil Diamond, the Italians dominated the charts when rock and roll was just getting started. Crooners like Perry Como, Jimmy Durante, Vic Damone, Dean Martin, Louie Prima, Frankie Laine, Al Martino, Tony Bennett, Johnny Desmond, Alan Dale, Julius LaRosa, Mario Lanza, Don Cornell, Lou Monte, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon and Jerry Vale were all sons of Italy, but so were early rockers Dion (DiMucci), Freddy Cannon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian (Forte), Bobby Darin and Frankie Valli. Other singers like female pop stars Connie Francis and Joni James were also Italians. Annette Funicello was another great female pop singer. There was also the great doo wop singers Johnny Maestro and Joey Dee. Singers like Jimmy Roselli, Vic Dana, Sonnie Bono, James Darren, Buddy Greco, Lou Christie, Johnny Rivers and Nancy Sinatra were popular in the 60's. Eydie Gorme was the daughter of a Sicilian father and Turkish-Jewish mother. Gorme had a top ten single with 1963's "Blame It on the Bossa Nova," which was her biggest hit song. The Italian tenor Sergio Franchi moved to the United States in 1962. He had twenty-four appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show between 1962-1971. The Duprees and The Capris were popular doo wop groups in the 60's. Filex Cavaliere was the lead singer of The Young Rascals, a very popular rock and roll group. The band released numerous top ten singles during the 1960s, including the U.S. #1 hits "Good Lovin," "Groovin'" and "People Got to Be Free." The folk rock singer Jim Croce was very popular in the early 70's. Another great Italian-American folk rock singer at that time was Jim Messina of Loggins & Messina. Teri DeSario is an Italian-American pop singer from Miami, Florida. She released a few top twenty singles in the late 70's. Pop Singers Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna (Ciccone) were all half Italian and were really popular in the 80's. Rock singers Steve Tyler of Aerosmith and Jon Bon Jovi of Bon Jovi are 25% Italian. Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The beautiful Gwen Stefani is half Italian and she had huge success with her band No Doubt in the 90's. Country music even has a few prominent Italian-American singers. Tim McGraw is a quarter Italian on his mother's side and female country star Jo Dee Messina is full blooded Italian-American. Michael Buble is a pop singer originally from Canada. Buble sings just like Sinatra did and he's bringing that style of music back. Both sets of grandparents emigrated to Canada from Northern Italy. Lady Gaga is a new pop singer and is of half Italian descent. In 2011, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded a version of The Lady Is A Tramp for his album Duets II.