Perry Como Dies

"Catch a Falling Star" Crooner dead at eighty-eight

May 14, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Legendary crooner Perry Como died in his sleep on May 12th at his home in Florida; he was eighty-eight.

Born Pierino Roland Como in Canonsburg, Pa. on May 18th, 1912, Como apprenticed as a barber, a trade he practiced through his teens. By his early twenties, Como was singing pop songs of the era for his customers, eventually linking up with Ted Weems and his Orchestra, who gave him his first featured singing spot.

Como honed his trademark laid-back vocal style by singing on several radio shows and he later made his first recordings in the early Forties. He landed his first hit in 1945 with "Til The End of Time," a million-copy selling single from the film, A Song to Remember, which sparked a dazzling string of hits. Some of Como's most enduring singles ("Prisoner of Love," "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes") were recorded and released before 1955, when Billboard began ranking songs. Como nevertheless continued his hit run, peeling off twenty-seven Top Forty hits in his lifetime. He was particularly productive up until rock & roll's shift into the popular mainstream. Nineteen of Como's hits were recorded between 1955 and 1959, including three Number One singles.

Despite Como's early success singing for film, the small screen also provided bolstered his popularity. In 1948 he began hosting the immensely popular Chesterfield Supper Club, which earned him an armful of Emmy Awards.

Though Como's popularity would never quite match his late-Fifties run, he still charted two singles, "It's Impossible" and "And I Love You So" in 1970 and 1973, respectively. During the Eighties he continued to visit television sets by hosting a series of Christmas specials.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

More Song Stories entries »