He was born 110 years ago, on May 18, 1912, just a small piece down the road from me, in Canonsburg PA, home of (among other things) Sarris Candies and All-Clad cookware. Not to mention also Bobby Vinton, Marty Schottenheimer (giving the lie to the idea that the only good things, NFL-wise, to come out of Western PA over the last 70 years has been an astounding number of its legendary quarterbacks). and many others. He was born just five weeks after the Titanic sank, and in the same year as Alan Turing, Kim Philby, and Enoch Powell. The year that Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) died.
Young Perry’s ambition was to become the best barber in Canonsburg, and he did well enough that–by age fourteen–he had his own establishment in the small town. Along the way, he managed to integrate his singing ability into his daily business, sometimes performing at the weddings of his customers, until he became known throughout Western PA, West Virginia, and Ohio (not–perhaps–as large a region as you’re thinking) as the go-to guy for easy-listening wedding music. Gradually, over a couple of decades, he moved around and moved up, until–weary of life on the road–he moved back to Canonsburg in 1942. A year or so later, he signed with RCA Victor as a recording artist with far fewer “road” commitments, and he was set for life.
Happy Birthday, Perry Como. A favorite of my mother, and of my mother-in-law. And always a joy to listen to:
Till The End of Time.