Lou Monte

Lou Monte, born Louis Scaglione on (, 1917 ??? , 1989), was an Italian-American singer best known for a number of best-selling, Italian-themed novelty records which he recorded for both RCA Records and Reprise Records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also recorded on Roulette Records, Jubilee Records, Regalia Records, Musicor Records, Laurie Records, and AFE Records.

Monte's first big hit came in 1954, with the release of his version of "Darktown Strutters' Ball". In 1962, Monte would release his first million-seller, "Pepino, the Italian Mouse". Sung in a pastiche of both Calabrese and English, "Pepino" tells the humorous tale of a mischievous mouse who lives within the walls of a man's kitchen and who comes out at night to eat cheese, drink wine, frighten Lou's girlfriend when she comes over and befriends the cat, sent out to catch him.

The "flip side" of the single featured another Italian-American hybrid novelty song called "What Did Washington Say (When He Crossed The Delaware?)." The song presumes that George Washington was cold, tired, hungry and without a change of underwear on his famous trip. At one point in the song, "Washington" complains that the pizzas his wife Martha baked were as "cold as ice". His solution? "Sell them to the Indians for only half the price." He then asks his boatsmen to row faster because "tonight I'm posing for my picture on the dollar bill."

Monte's other famous novelty records include 'Dominick the Donkey', a Christmas staple in many Italian-American households and "Pasquale, the Italian Pussycat", the sequel to "Pepino" followed by "Paulucci, the Italian Parrot" and Paul Revere's Horse (Ba-Cha-Ca-Loop). "Lazy Mary," a remake of the traditional Italian song "Luna Mezzo Mare", tells the tale of a conversation between a young woman who wishes to be married, and her mother. The somewhat risque song mixes English and Italian verses. The two use double entendre to compare the occupations with the sexual appetities of the various suitors. It was his first hit, peaking at number 12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart.

Lou made TV appearances on syndicated programming such as The Mike Douglas Show and the Merv Griffin Show.

After his death his son continued to sing his songs in concert for some time.

He contributed to the founding of the Lou Monte, Jr. leukemia laboratory at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in memory of his son who died of the disease at age 21.

Monte's 1971 recording "I Have An Angel In Heaven" was highly popular in the late 1980s-early 1990s satellite version of the "Music Of Your Life".

Lou Monte is interred in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

Early career

Lou developed a following, playing clubs in and around the New Jersey area. When World War II broke out, Lou had to put his career on hold and enlisted in the army. When he was discharged, he started his club date schedule and caught the attention of Radio Station WAAT in Newark, New Jersey. Seeing a potential in Lou, they gave him a shot with his very own radio show. The show gave him a chance to refine his act and soon caught on big with the listeners. The radio station rewarded him by convincing their TV outlet to give him a try as well. With this, he was able to make a couple of recordings on local labels. Joe Carlton was an A&R man for RCA Victor Records and hear the Italian minstrel performing in a spaghetti joint south of Secaucus. He liked Lou's singing style with the way he accompanied himself on the guitar. He offered him a contract with RCA Victor which lasted seven years. Joe Carlton would go on to start Carlton Records.

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Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou Monte