Monday, 26 August 2013
Vic Dana born 26 August 1942
Vic Dana (b. 26 August 1942) is an American dancer and singer.
Vic Dana was born Samuel J. Mendola. The son of Samuel Mendola and Giovinni Vallardo in Buffalo, New York. At the age of 9, his parents enrolled him in a dance class to help him overcome his shyness. After a few weeks when he began to capture all of the local amateur entertainment awards, his interest increased.
When Dana was 11 years old, Sammy Davis Jr. came through Buffalo on tour and caught Dana's impromptu performance at a local night club. he was impressed enough to offer the young man a contract, but Dana's tender years made this impossible. However
influenced by Davis, the Dana family moved to California, where young Dana worked on his dancing and also studied singing. In 1960, he toured as a solo act, appearing on the same bill as the Fleetwoods, of whom he became lead singer (for live performances only), replacing original vocalist Gary Troxel when Troxel went into the U.S. Navy. Dana also signed for the Fleetwoods record company, Dolton.
He is best known for his 1965 recording of the Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett song "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" that was a Billboard Top Ten hit single. His album of the same title made it into the Top
Twenty. Other hit recordings on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 1960s: "Little Altar Boy", "I Will", "More", "Shangri-La", "I Love You Drops" and "If I Never Knew Your Name." "I Love You Drops" was written and recorded by country singer Bill Anderson, and was popular enough to be recorded by others including Don Cherry and Teresa Brewer. He also scored a chart record in 1970 with Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine," years before it was turned into a number one hit by UB40.
His last nationally charted record was Larry Weiss' "Lay Me Down (Roll Me Out To Sea)" on the Casino label, which hit the top 20 on Billboard's "Easy Listening" survey. Six Dana songs reached the Music Vendor (later Record World) charts without appearing in the Billboard charts. Dana may not have forged a unique musical identity, but his recordings bridged the gap between teen idol pop and adult contemporary, making him the sort of sturdy and versatile MOR vocalist who enjoyed steady album sales but not spectacularly successful singles.
Vic Dana is one of those artists the hyper-critics loved to pan as a purveyor of "schlock." For instance, Irwin Stambler, the author of the so-called "Encyclopedia Of Pop, Rock And Soul" showed his disdain when he didn't even consider him worthy of mention. Nor did Rolling Stone in their Album Guide. But, much to their consternation, Vic enjoyed immense popularity in the 1960s.
Dana continued performing and recording into the 70's but eventually retired from the entertainment industry and now now sells used cars in Paducah, Kentucky.
Footnote: With eyes like midnight and rolling waves of ebony hair, boyishly handsome Vic Dana reportedly wrote the song "Danger" after just a single date with Annette Funicello, whom he'd met on the set of her film "Beach Party." The song became a minor hit, climbing all the way to #96 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles charts in June of 1963. Humiliated, Funicello took the advice of good friend Shelley Fabares and swore she'd never speak to Dana again. She's kept her promise to this very day—except for that time in 2003 when she unwittingly bought a used car from him in Paducah, Kentucky.
(Info edited from various scant sources)