Perry Como

About Perry Como

Perry Como may very well be the most laidback figure ever to dominate American show business. In a singing career that began just before World War II and continued well into the 1990s, Como was known nationwide as “the man who invented casual,” as fellow crooner Bing Crosby once put it. There was undeniable power behind his baritone, but he had a special way of relaxing into melodies as he would a well-worn pair of Sunday loafers. Raised in a Pennsylvania mining town, Como (who was born on May 18, 1912, and died on May 12, 2001) was the son of Italian immigrants and started working as a barber while in his teens. His father made just enough money to pay for music lessons, and Como eventually signed his first record deal in 1943. His easygoing charms translated perfectly to television, but he was just as comfortable in the studio—where he took on show tunes, jazz standards, Christmas songs, and radio ditties. Though he loved to play with alliteration and onomatopoeia in his more lighthearted hits—including “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (The Magic Song)” and “Zing Zing, Zoom Zoom”—he showcased deeper strengths in ballads like “Some Enchanted Evening,” setting the listener’s heart at ease with a mastery of pacing and subtlety.

Canonsburg, PA, United States
May 18, 1912
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