Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence

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Steve Lawrence was only 16 years old when he signed to King Records in the spring of 1952. A year later, King issued his self-titled debut LP as he began to gain recognition due to his appearances on the late-night talk show Tonight!, broadcast by the New York NBC-TV station (later to morph into the long-running national series The Tonight Show). It led off with his sole hit, a revival of the 1943 song "Poinciana," which had reached number 21 in the charts in August 1952, and included other songs released earlier on singles, including "Never Leave Me," "How Many Stars Have to Shine," and "Tango of Roses (Love Me)." Not surprisingly, the teenage singer, taking his lead from conductor Dewey Bergman, who had signed him to the label, tried to mold himself somewhat after such emotive male singers of the day as Tony Bennett and Frankie Laine, working for near-operatic effects, which was not, as it later turned out, really his m├ętier. As a result, his first long-player ranks largely as a work of juvenilia, giving few clues to the singer he would become.

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