Whether by being a part of an eternal comedy team, acting in movies, hosting his own variety show, becoming a Las Vegas superstar, or selling tens of millions of albums and singles, Dean Martin put together a career that lasted over half a century.
He began as a crooner in 1940 but it was his partnership with Jerry Lewis from 1946-1956 that made him a star. Movies and Vegas quickly followed, and then his long-running television series. He gained celebrity status as a part of the Rat Pack along with Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford.
Through it all he recorded over fifty albums with in excess of sixty singles reaching the American pop charts.
Capital Records has gathered sixteen of Martin's most romantic songs onto one CD, titled Essential Love Songs. While there are no surprises it is nice to have many of his love ballads in one place.
The material features some of his biggest hits plus some tracks that were tucked away on several of his albums which are now out of print. His 1953 hit, “That’s Amore,” reached number two on the American charts while his 1964 signature performance of “Everybody Loves Somebody” reached number one. When you add some lesser-known gems such as “Just In Time,” “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” “My One And Only Love,” and “Heaven Can Wait,” it all adds up to a pleasant listen.
Dean Martin had a smooth and casual style of song interpretation and it comes across well in this collection. He creates an intimacy that few entertainers have been able to do.
The tracks have been remastered, giving the material a clarity which was missing from their original vinyl releases. The lyrics are included in an accompanying booklet but there could have been a better history of the individual tracks.
Essential Love Songs is a good introduction to the music of Dean Martin. It may not be rock ‘n’ roll but it is some of the better pop music to grace the second half of the twentieth century.