Immigration without assimilation is a recipe for disaster. We're headed in that direction. And in Europe it is even worse. But in the meantime we enjoy some tunes from performers who ditched their Italian surnames, not so much from a desire to assimilate, or because of ethnic prejudice, but to make themselves more marketable.
But first one who didn't part with his beautiful surname. An early manager suggested to Frank Sinatra that he adopt the stage name 'Frankie Satin.' Sinatra would have none of that bullshit. He did things his way. You got a problem with that? That's Life. That's what the people say. Flyin' high in April, shot down in May.
Joseph Di Nicola (Joey Dee and the Starlighters), Peppermint Twist, with an intro by Dwight D. Eisenhower! This video shows what the dude, Di Nicola not Eisenhower, looked like. He resembles a super short Joe Pesci. What Kind of Love is This?
Margaret Battavio (Little Peggy March), I Will Follow Him. An early feminist anthem.
Anthony Dominic Benedetto (Tony Bennett), The Way You Look Tonight
Alfred Arnold Cocozza (Mario Lanza), O Sole Mio. Here is what Elvis made of the tune. Lanza ditched his Italian name for a different Italian name. Are there any other cases of this? (Of course, scroll up.) 'Lanza' rolls off the tongue; 'Cocozza' not so much.
'Long about the time King Creole came out, when I was eight, I mentioned Elvis Presley to my Italian mother. "That jackass!" she replied. The irony, however, is that she listened to crooners like Mario Lanza.
Francis Thomas Avallone (Frankie Avalon), Venus.
Fabiona Forte Bonaparte (Fabian), his songs are too schlocky even for my catholic tastes. Linkage denied!