PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE AL MARTINO
A BRIDGE TO ROCK
Al Martino died the other day near Philadelphia. Martino was one of those "bridge" artists used frequently by WARM Radio to broaden its appeal. Martino's songs like "Mary In the Morning", "Spanish Eyes" and "The Theme From the Godfather" never reached the top 15 on WARM. But as an artist Martino received a lot of airplay in the mid morning and afternoon hours on WARM. Martino was 82. Publicist Sandy Friedman, of the Rogers & Cowan public relations firm, confirmed Martino's death in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield, in Delaware County, but didn't cite a cause.Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," ''Spanish Eyes," ''Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Volare."Besides acting in the Marlon Brando classic "The Godfather," Martino sang the 1972 film's title score, "The Love Theme From The Godfather." At one point, WARM had three versions in their top 40 of the "Godfather Theme". Martino's, Tony Bennett's and Andy Williams' renditions were all on the charts at the same time. Martino's Fontane character is a singer and occasional actor and is the godson of Brando's Mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone.Martino was born in South Philadelphia as Alfred Cini and was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, Calif.Philadelphia radio and television personality Jerry Blavat dined with Martino and his wife on Monday night. Blavat told the Philadelphia Daily News that Martino appeared to be in fine shape and that he was shocked when he learned of the singer's death."He was the last of the show business legends," said Blavat, who has played Martino's songs on the radio for years. "There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice."