The Worst of Mario Lanza
James G. Kilbourne | Hollywood, CA | 02/21/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This "best" collection includes several selections from what was originally released as "Lanza on Broadway", an unspeakably embarrassing descent into tastelessness which makes Lanza lovers, such as myself, wonder if his critics have it right, after all. The answer is, no, the critics are wrong, because at his best, Mario Lanza is untouchable in vocal beauty and emotional involvement with the music. I always felt sure that he was dead drunk when he recorded this, but I am assured by those who have heard the full takes of these recordings that he was quite sober. I have no answer as to how the man who recorded "For You Alone", "Granada", and the soundtrack for "The Great Caruso" a few years earlier could have sunk to "Falling in Love with Love" and "This Nearly was Mine"(this snearly was mine, as it comes out).
Happily, after this travesty, he recovered to make some great recordings before his untimely death at 38. If you have not heard Mario Lanza, listen to almost anything he recorded between 1945 and 1953, and you will hear arguably the greatest singer you have ever heard; or get his "Mario" album of Italian songs recorded a few years later. I give this two stars because any collection of Lanza has got to have some gems in it, but why suffer through his worst, when there are several fine collections available elsewhere?