Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Apr 6, 2012
By Con Conrad, Gladys DuBois, Russ Columbo and Paul Gregory
Ruggiero Eugenio di Rodolpho Colombo (January 14, 1908 -- September 2, 1934), known as Russ Columbo, was an American singer, violinist and actor, most famous for his signature tune, "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love", his compositions "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful For Words", and the legend surrounding his early death. Columbo did seven vocals while with Arnheim as a member of the string section, six for Okeh Records and only one for Victor ("A Peach Of Pair" on June 18, 1930, a few months before Bing Crosby joined the band, along with Al Rinker and Harry Barris as "The Rhythm Boys").
Columbo ran a nightclub for a while, The Club Pyramid, but gave it up when his manager told him he had star potential. In 1931, he traveled to New York with his manager, songwriter Con Conrad. Conrad secured a late-night radio slot with NBC. This led to numerous engagements, a recording contract with RCA Victor records, and tremendous popularity with legions of mostly female fans. Not long after arriving in New York, Columbo met actress Dorothy Dell at an audition for the Ziegfeld Follies and began seeing her. Conrad did his best to break the relationship up with a series of publicity-created "ruse romances" involving Columbo and actresses such as Greta Garbo and Pola Negri; it succeeded. (Dorothy Dell died in an auto accident in June 1934—just months before Columbo's own fatal accident.) The type of singing that was popularized by the likes of Columbo, Rudy Vallee, and Bing Crosby is called crooning. Columbo disliked the label, but it caught on with the general public. It gained popular credence, despite its initial use as a term of derision for the singers employing their low, soothing voices in romantic songs.
Russ Columbo composed the songs "Prisoner of Love", "You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)" with Con Conrad, Gladys Du Bois, and Paul Gregory, "Too Beautiful For Words", recorded by the Teddy Joyce Orchestra in 1935, "When You're in Love", "My Love", "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", recorded by Fats Waller and Tab Hunter, and "Hello Sister". "Prisoner of Love" is a standard that has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Perry Como, the Ink Spots, Mildred Bailey, Teddy Wilson with Lena Horne on vocals, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine, and James Brown. Perry Como had a no.1 hit on Billboard with his recording. James Brown had a Top 20 pop hit and performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show and in the concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show (1964).