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Published on Sep 18, 2011
Russ Columbo (1908-1934) was the original Italian-American crooner.... before Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Vic Damone... before them all there was Russ Columbo.
At the time of his untimely death at age 26, he was the chief rival of Bing Crosby. Crosby and Columbo, who was dubbed "The Romeo of the Radio", competed for radio and record audiences. It was a friendly competition that the press called "The Battle of the Baritones".
Russ Columbo was romantically involved with legendary actress, Carole Lombard. Indeed, Russ was planning to formally propose marriage to Carole later that very evening of the day he was shot and killed by photographer, Lansing V. Brown at Brown's home. You may read that this shooting was determined to be an accident by the LAPD. (You may believe that, if you wish...)
Here is Russ Columbo's signature song, "Prisoner of Love" - a standard to this day. Perry Como took it to #1 in 1946 - fully 12 years after Columbo's death. It's often featured in movie soundtracks, not the least of which was Martin Scorsese's 1980 tour de force, "Raging Bull", starring Robert Di Niro.
Russ co-wrote this beautiful song with the great lyricist, Leo Robin, and recorded it in 1931, at age 23. The maturity of his vocal performance is astonishing! Enjoy!
PS - Please visit The Russ Columbo Society at our official Internet website: www.RussColumbo.com and on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/RussColumbo
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