Dean Martin Renaissance On Deck with New CD, DVD, Book Launches
Hoping to extend the renaissance of Dean Martin that has occurred over the last five years, a collection of DVDs, CDs and a coffee table book will be released in late May and June, while a boxed set is in the works with an eye for a release late this year.
Universal Music Enterprises will release a hardcover book and musical collection titled "Cool Then, Cool Now" on June 7. Photos in the 60-plus page book were acquired from personal collections and family archives, featuring shots of Martin on movie sets and at home; the two-CD, 28-song collection spans Martin's musical career.
Also on June 7, Capitol/EMI will release the 14-track "Classic Dino: The Best of Dean Martin," an expanded version of the 2004 release "Dino: The Essential Dean Martin," which has sold 1.3 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The new version has six added tracks.
Meanwhile, NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products and Time-Life will release "The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show," the first time Martin's popular show has been released on DVD, on May 24. The release will be available as a single DVD, double DVD set and six-DVD Collector's Edition.
The single DVD includes four episodes with more than 15 musical performances; the double DVD set includes seven show episodes featuring more than 30 musical performances; and the six-DVD Collectors Edition includes more than 50 guests and 80 musical performances. "The Dean Martin Show" aired on NBC from 1965 to 1974. Guests featured on the DVDs include Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Kelly, Roger Miller and Duke Ellington.
"We want to see more projects and we're trying to figure that out now," says Gail Martin-Downey, one of nine Martin heirs handling Dino projects. "When our children and grandchildren see dad (Martin) pop up on YouTube, we know there's a growing audience out there."
For the first time in the 15 years since Martin's death, the Martin family is in talks to hire an agent to act as a clearing house for marketing and licensing of his likeness and works that the family controls. Martin's centennial will be in 2017.
EMI has worked the Martin catalog consistently over the last several years, releasing "Amore" through Starbucks in 2006 and elsewhere in 2009 and creating an album of duets, "Forever Cool," to commemorate his 90th birthday in 2007. "Amore has sold 145,000 copies while the duets disc moved 104,000 copies.
"The TV shows captured [Dean Martin] in his casual comfortable way," Martin-Downey tells Billboard.com. "Most of the shows capture that, plus you get his serious side and the silly sketches. It really shows who he was at home."