We have made it to 1956. “Memories Are Made of This” was the first number one of 1956. By then, Dean Martin was a household word in America. He was born Dino Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio in 1917. He started out to be a boxer until someone hit him and broke his nose. He decided he would try something a little less violent. He got a job singing with the Sammy Watkins Band in Cleveland, got a nose job and then went solo. His life changed when he was introduced to a comedian named Jerry Lewis and they decided to form a partnership.
Martin and Lewis made 16 films together, starting with My Friend Irma in 1949. Dean would sing and Jerry would act silly. The movies were all hits. Dean recorded many songs before “Memories Are Made of This,” but this was his biggest hit. It hit number one in January of 1956 and stayed there for six weeks. Dean Martin’s career was so extensive that I could probably write an entire book about him (maybe I will.) Things were great until 1956, when Martin and Lewis went their separate ways. People said Dean Martin was done. He would just fade away. But we know that wasn’t true. He went on to reinvent himself by appearing in many movies, becoming a member of the “Rat-Pack” with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He also hosted the famous “roasts” of the Sixties and Seventies. Whenever you saw him on television, he had a drink in his hand. That was kind of his trademark.
“Memories Are Made of This” was written by Terry Gilkyson along with Richard Dehr and Frank Miller. Gilkyson had been a member of the Weavers, a folk singing group that was big in the early Fifties. The three co-writers became the Easyriders and recorded the big hit “Marianne” in 1957. In fact, the Easyriders are providing the backing vocals on the song.
“Memories Are Made of This” was recorded by many other performers, including the Easyriders, but the biggest besides Dean Martin was the version by Gale Storm which reached number five.
Dean Martin died in 1995 of lung cancer. He had been a heavy smoker all of his life.
Next: “Rock and Roll Waltz” – Kay Starr