Born Aldo Sigismondi, 9 July 1925, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Alan Dale was a baritone crooner from the 1940s who later flirted with rock 'n' roll. The son of an Italian-American theater comedian, his first professional gig was with the Carmen Cavallaro Orchestra in 1944. In 1947, with encouragement from producer Bob Thiele, he began recording under his own name for the Signature label. The following year he became one of the first familiar faces on American TV when "The Alan Dale Show" debuted on the Dumont Television Network. During the early '50s he put in stints with Columbia and Decca before arriving at Coral Records, where he scored a # 10 hit with "Heart Of My Heart" (with Don Cornell and Johnny Desmond). Under the direction once again of Bob Thiele, he started aiming himself at a younger audience by covering the Louis Prima favourites "Oh Marie" and "Robin Hood". More hits followed in 1955: a vocal version of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" (# 14) and "Sweet and Gentle" (# 10, an adaptation of a Cuban song). Thanks to a relationship he had built up with Alan Freed, Dale was given a starring role as vocalist Arnie Haines in the teen flick "Don't Knock The Rock" (1956). Appearing alongside Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard and the Treniers, he got to perform the title song which became his next single (his audacious follow-up was a cover of "The Girl Can't Help It"). Departing from Coral in 1957, he then paid cursory visits to ABC, MGM and United Artists. In May 1958, Dale was attacked in a New York nightclub, supposedly by Mafia hit men who had been trying to take over his management. At the tail end of the 1950s he found himself mysteriously blackballed by prominent figures such as Ed Sullivan and his career subsequently went into decline. The publication in 1965 of his autobiography, "The Spider and the Marionettes", hardly helped his cause as it laid bare the names and deeds of many showbusiness types he considered to have prevented his progress. Alan Dale died last year after a long illness.
(Adapted from the obituary in Now Dig This 231, June 2002, page 3)
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