Peter Lemongello actually began his singing career in Hawaii during a week’s R&R from duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1968. While in the audience at the Don Ho show, Peter responded to a request for “Anyone Who Wants To Sing This Song Instead Of Me, Come Up and Take Over”, and got a response that prompted Don Ho to ask Peter to become part of his show.
After returning home and beginning to seek work and study voice, Peter landed a week at the “Living Room” in Manhattan. It was the first time he had been reviewed by the New York critics in the major newspapers.
His reviews were so strong that it prompted the owner of the world famous “Copacabana” to hire him as the opening act for comedian Don Rickles for his 2 week engagement.
During that run, Peter was seen by Fred DeCordova, the producer of NBC’s Tonight Show. After several appearances, other TV shows such as the Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and Dinah Shore shows invited Peter to make guest appearances on their national shows.
Within his first three years Peter was signed by “Epic” records, a division of Columbia or CBS and the William Morris Theatrical agency and was now in the management camp of “Joe Scandore”, who also managed along with Don Rickles, Vic Damone, Tote Fields and Steve Allen.
It appeared that Peter was on his way to being a very big singing star and certainly had all the important people in the industry in agreement with his dream of being a star.
Whether Epic records didn’t push hard enough, or the William Morris agency and Joe Scandore were waiting for each other to make the first move is not certain. Peter found himself back to zero by year 5.
There were live appearances in Las Vegas, in Reno, in Tahoe at the Westbury Music Fair and some of the largest venues in the country opening for Rickles, Newhart, Hackett, Fields etc., and Peter was gaining valuable experience from that and the many TV shows he guested on, but there was no record company and no opportunity to become a star.
Music had changed so greatly that people like Steve Lawrence, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jack Jones (The “Straight” or great stand-up singers) as they are referred to in the business were not recording either, so Peter’s chances looked pretty bleak.
By 1975 Peter realized that if he was ever going to get in front of the American public, he would have to produce and promote himself to let the public decide if he was going to be accepted or not.
Peter Lemongello (Via his legendary Love ’76 Television Album) became not only the first singer in American history to sell over one Million albums on television. He also was the first singer to underwrite the cost of this unprecedented TV Ad campaign by going public and selling shares of stock in his career to the public.
In addition to becoming a household word inside of his first 16 weeks by blanketing New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas with over 100 television commercials per week. His story made the Front Page of the Wall Street Journal.
Every major TV news organization from 60 Minutes to A Current Affair did feature stories on Peter’s accomplishment. Every major newspaper and magazine (People, Time, Newsweek, The London Sun, L.A. and New York Times, etc.) ran feature stories as well. He was even Bachelor of the Month in Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Along with famed writer Teddy Randazzo, who wrote among other hits, “Goin Out Of My Head”, Peter created “Mood-Rock Music” (Tender Love Ballads put to a new beat moving them into a contemporary feel).
“Do I Love You” by Paul Anka and “The Hungry Years” by Neil Sadaka jumped out of the album and onto the radio stations to become the signature songs of the TV album.
Instantly, Peter was headlining in his own right, at the biggest and most famous places like “Carnegie Hall”, “Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts”, and “Madison Square Garden” with all of them sold out….and he had proved that the buying public still respected and admired his kind of music.
Peter has continued to perform all these years in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Branson Missouri, Myrtle Beach, SC., and……..
Today, married to his lovely wife Karen and with their son, (Peter Jr.), Peter Lemongello is living in South Florida and is one of the major attractions at the countless venues that flourish in this area. Peter has begun a resurgence in the New York area. He had two dates at Michael Feinstein?s nightclub at the Loew?s Regency Hotel. He will be there again Saturday August 22nd, 2009