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Jimmy Roselli – Mala Femmena

Jimmy Roselli – Mala Femmena

Jimmy Roselli, a pop singer widely known as the other crooner from Hoboken, spent his life in the long, slim shadow of Francis Albert Sinatra. But in many traditional Italian-American communities in the Eastern United States he was as fiercely venerated as Sinatra, if not more so.

Mr. Roselli, who continued performing until he was nearly 80, died on June 30, at 85. The cause of his death, at his home in Clearwater, Fla., was complications of a longtime heart ailment, his agent, Alan Salomon, said.

Almost entirely self-taught, Mr. Roselli had a lush, quasi-operatic tenor and impeccable diction. He belonged to the generation of Italian-American pop singers that besides Sinatra included Perry Como, Dean Martin (né Dino Crocetti) and Tony Bennett (Anthony Benedetto).

But though he sang in storied nightclubs like the Copacabana in New York, appeared on television and made dozens of recordings, Mr. Roselli was far less well known than they.

Michael John Roselli was born in West New York, N.J., on Dec. 26, 1925. His mother died two days after giving birth to him; his father, a prizefighter, abandoned him soon afterward. He was reared in a cold-water flat in Hoboken by his grandfather, a longshoreman who spoke only Italian, and his four aunts. The young Mr. Roselli was known as Mickey until he was in his 20s, when an agent, thinking the name unrefined, changed it to Jimmy.

By the time he was 9, he had developed a fine voice. Carrying a shoeshine kit, which gave him plausible access to local saloons, he sang for change. At 13, he won first prize on the radio talent show “Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour.” At 18, he went into the Army, serving in Europe during World War II.

He began his career in earnest after the war. He became most famous for singing those wonderful Neapolitan songs like “Torna a Surriento” (“Come Back to Sorrento”) and “Malafemmena” (“Bad Woman”), which he rendered in fluent Neapolitan dialect.

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3 Responses to “Jimmy Roselli – Mala Femmena”

  1. My mom adored Jimmy listen to him for hours

  2. Rest in Peace Jimmy, your music always puts me in a wonderful mood you will be sorely missed

  3. Hard to decide who I like best,Jimmy or Jerry Vale,both so good.

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