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Retro Redux: Vic Dana Topped Them All

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It's kind of funny how you can sometimes have a completely misguided memory of a song. If you had asked me about a very familiar Sixties song called "Red Roses for a Blue Lady," I would have answered that it was a big hit for Wayne Newton. Turns out that even though Newton did sell a lot of records with it, the singer with the biggest hit on the song was a guy named Vic Dana.

Of course, Wayne Newton went on to become the ageless wonder of Las Vegas, but Vic Dana's story is an interesting one. A native of Buffalo, New York, Dana was a talented singer and dancer who was helped along early in his career by a guy with the same talents — Sammy Davis, Jr.

Dana's first real appearance in the spotlight was in the early Sixties as the lead singer in live performances of the Fleetwoods, filling in for Gary Troxel (who'd been drafted). Eventually managing to land a record contract as a solo, the smooth-singing Dana had some success with songs like "Little Altar Boy" (video below) and "Love Is All We Need." But his big moment involved a song that had been popularized by Vaughn Monroe almost twenty years earlier — "Red Roses for a Blue Lady."

It turned out that 1965 was a pretty good year for the song in general, with versions by both Wayne Newton and Bert Kaempfert doing very well — but Vic Dana's performance was the one the record-buying public liked the most. It ended up being his biggest hit by far, although he did have some other good sellers, including "Moonlight And Roses."

Vic Dana continued performing and recording into the next decade but eventually left the business behind. At last report he was living in Kentucky.

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