Perry Como

For the Young at Heart

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Perry Como's decline as a record seller in the late 1950s and early 1960s after 15 years at the top of the charts can be traced at least in part to his neglect of the 12" LP format. Unlike his competitors, Como, with his weekly TV show, continued to score on the singles charts consistently after the arrival of rock & roll. Perhaps as a result, also unlike them, he did not turn wholeheartedly to albums. At a time when adult pop singers were turning out two albums a year on average, he was recording only four new, secular LPs between 1955 and 1959. As a result, when his singles sales finally did fall off by decade's end, he had not established himself as an album artist the way others had. He didn't release an LP at all in 1960. No surprise, then, that when he finally turned back to the album market in 1961, his first new effort in a year and a half didn't even chart. Of course, it may be that consumers took it for a children's album. For the Young at Heart wasn't that, however, it was just an album made up of songs with the word "young" in the title. This was a gimmicky idea for the 48-year-old singer, but it did give him an excuse to claim songs associated with his peers, such as "Young at Heart" (Frank Sinatra) and "Too Young" (Nat "King" Cole). Production team Hugo (Peretti) & Luigi (Creatore) banned strings from the studio, instead employing a nine-piece horn section, a prominent rhythm section with lots of guitar, and an ever-present chorus. O.B. Massengill's arrangements were lightly swinging, and Como was his usual smooth self. The result was a modest if agreeable effort that should have gotten more notice at the time.

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