The Tony Fontane Story
:: O Come All Ye Faithful ::
This album looked innocent enough, but its slightly out of focus cover photo and the cheesy glint in Mr. Fontane's eyes promised that this was perhaps something Robot-worthy. Well...this isn't the kind of thing I normally listen to. He sings like that guy whose voice is clearly intended for singing only church music, so he unleashes his holy bass warble once he gets to church, making most people around him uncomfortable as they half-heartedly monotone their way through the hymns. He's obviously sincere, but man...
The most interesting thing about him is his life. He was one of those people who was born to perform, running off from high school to join a dance band and employing a drawn-on moustache to look older. It's a wonder he didn't grow up to be John Waters. After a six week boyhunt, he was returned home. Once he was legally able to pursue his dreams, he ended up in Chicago where his career took off and he landed some choice TV spots on such shows as "Teen Town," "Top Tunes With Trendler," and, yes, "The Tony Fontane Show." He went national, appearing on Ed Sullivan, and charting a hit single in 1950 with the song "Cold, Cold Heart." He married a hot actress, Kerry Vaughn, and they had a child. Then he got in a terrible auto accident which nearly killed him, and had him in the hospital for 30 days. Naturally, Jesus visited him and he subsequently became very religious. So was born his second career, as a gospel singer. You can read all about this and see a still from his movie, in which he and his wife play themselves, at this website, which is where I got all this info in the first place. This album came out on FIRE Records, Fontane International Record Enterprises Records, and while I am not sure when it came out, I don't think it was too much before he died of cancer in 1974.