“Catch a Falling Star”
Perry’s Last #1 Hit Song
“Catch a Falling Star“, written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss, is a song made famous by Perry Como‘s hit version, recorded and released in late 1957. It was Perry Como’s last #1 hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard “Most Played by Jockeys” chart.
It was the first single to receive a Recording Industry Association of America gold record certification, on March 14, 1958. The song also topped the Australian charts in 1958. The single won Perry Como the 1959 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male. Its melody is based on a theme from Brahms‘ Academic Festival Overture. The Perry Como version features the Ray Charles Singers, who sing the refrain as a repeated round.
Canonsburg has always been very proud to be the
Birthplace of Perry Como.
The borough honored him three times over the course of his life. The first of these events took place September 14, 1946, when Third Street, where Perry worked in the barber shop of Steve Fragapane, was renamed “Perry Como Avenue”.
A second ceremony marking Perry Como Day took place August 24, 1977, but the most ambitious project began in 1997 – a statue of the singer. As part of the festivities, Como’s stool and music stand from The Perry Como Show and the equipment he used at Steve Fragapane’s barber shop were donated to the borough. The inscription on the base, “To This Place God Has Brought Me”, was a favorite saying of Como’s; the musical feature was added in 2002.
The Perry Como celebration crossed the Atlantic in August 2002. Palena, Italy, the birthplace of Como’s parents, had a long-standing week-long festival in honor of the singer. A smaller version of the statue was taken to Palena by the mayor of Canonsburg, Anthony Colaizzo. Perry’s son, David, and his wife were also in attendance when the town of Palena renamed a street for Perry Como. There is a marble plaque on a Palena town wall stating that Pietro and Lucia Como, parents of Perry Como, emigrated from this village to the United States which dates from these ceremonies.
Perry Como never forgot Canonsburg. One of the things he did to give a helping hand to his home town was to convince RCA to open a record-pressing plant there. Those who needed to raise funds for local projects like Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs found him always ready to do whatever was needed.
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