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Perry Como's real big break came with the 1945 film A Song to Remember. His rendition of "Till the End of Time" spent ten weeks at the top of the charts and became the biggest hit of the year. Como's dreamy baritone worked especially well on ballads, such as the additional 1945-1947 number one hits "Prisoner of Love," "Surrender," and "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep)." Hired by NBC for another radio show in 1948, Como crossed over to the emerging medium of television that same year with the Chesterfield Supper Club. The show quickly took off, and eventually earned him four Emmy Awards. In the mid-'50s, Como began to indulge in light novelty fare, the titles often comprising nonsense words -- "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Doo," "Hoop-Dee-Doo," "Pa-Paya Mama," and "Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)." Though he often disliked the songs, they frequently became huge of the road pop.
Como's breezy songs had worked well at the beginning of the decade, but his appeal began to wane towards the end of the '50s, with the emergence of rock & roll and the wave of teen idols. His last number one hit, "Catch a Falling Star," came in 1958. Como was much less visible during the '60s, but returned in 1970 with his first live show in over two decades, and a world tour followed; a single ("It's Impossible") even made the Top Ten in late 1970. Como continued to record LPs and occasional television specials while making scattered appearances during the '70s and '80s. On May 12, 2001, Perry Como died in his sleep at his home in Florida. ~ John Bush