Dean Martin

Playlist: The Very Best of Dean Martin

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Dean Martin first rose to fame as the straight man to Jerry Lewis in the biggest comedy team of the '50s, but it didn't take long for Martin to establish himself as one of the best singers of his generation, too. Blessed with a strong, rich voice, a comfortable natural swing, and an understated wit that didn't undercut his frequently romantic material, Martin thrived as a traditional song stylist in a time when rock & roll was taking over the charts, and his 1964 hit "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" had the distinction of knocking the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" off the top of the American singles charts. Playlist: The Very Best of Dean Martin is a midline-priced collection that features 14 songs drawn from Martin's recordings for Capitol and Reprise in the '50s and '60s. Given how few cross-licensed Martin compilations are on the market, the fact you can get "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" and "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" on one disc makes this a more representative career overview than most, though there are several well-remembered hits that don't make the cut, such as "That's Amore" and "Memories Are Made of This," while the lesser known "Every Minute, Every Hour" and "Drinking Champagne" appear instead. Still, if this doesn't include all the hits, Playlist captures most of Martin's stylistic trademarks well enough, and the quality of the audio is quite good; this isn't a great Dean Martin collection, but it's certainly a good one considering the price, and if you want to hear 37 minutes of Martin's relaxed but committed vocals, this will serve you well.

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