One of the last remaining crooners of the golden era has passed away. According to the Associated Press singer Vic Damone died on Sunday (Feb. 11) at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Daughter Victoria Damone told the AP that her father died from complications of a respiratory illness.
Famously described as having the "best pipes in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Damone's performing career lasted five decades and spawned dozens of hits thanks to his smooth, mellow baritone and a style that was indisputably inspired by his compatriot Sinatra. Best known for lush, romantic ballads, Damone's career was launched in 1947 when he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show, which led to regular radio gigs and a chance encounter with comedian Milton Berle, who helped the then-19 year-old performer land gigs at prominent nightclubs.
That led to a recoding contract with Mercury Records, which released a series of successful singles, including his debut, "I Have But One Heart," as well as "You Do," "On the Street Where You Live" and the Patti Page duet "Say Something Sweet to Your Sweetheart." It was two years later that Damone scored his first big hit with 1949's "Again," which was followed by popular tunes including "You're Breaking My Heart," "Vagabond Shoes" and the top five hit "My Heart Cries for You."