Russ Columbo

Real Name:
Ruggiero Eugenio di Rodolpho Colombo
Profile:
Born January 14, 1908 – Died September 2, 1934.
Russ Columbo was an American singer, violinist and actor, most famous for his signature tune, "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love," his compositions "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful For Words", and the legend surrounding his early death.

Columbo was born in Camden, New Jersey, the twelfth child of Italian immigrant parents, Nicola and Giulia (Julia) Colombo. He started playing the violin while still very young, and debuted professionally at the age of 13. He left high school at 17 to travel with various bands around the country. He sang and played violin in numerous nightclubs.

Columbo did 7 vocals while with Arnheim as a member of the string section; 6 for OKeh and only 1 for Victor ("A Peach Of Pair" on June 18, 1930, a few months before Bing Crosby joined the band, along with Al Rinker and Harry Barris as "The Rhythm Boys").

Columbo tried to run a nightclub for a while, but the venture was unsuccessful. In 1931, he traveled to New York with his manager, songwriter Con Conrad. Conrad secured a late-night radio slot with NBC. This led to numerous engagements, a recording contract with RCA Victor records, and tremendous popularity with legions of mostly female fans. The type of singing that was popularized by the likes of Columbo, Rudy Vallee, and Bing Crosby is called crooning. Columbo disliked the label, but it caught on with the general public. It gained popular credence, despite its initial use as a term of derision for the singers employing their low, soothing voices in romantic songs.

Russ Columbo composed the songs "Prisoner of Love", "You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)" with Con Conrad, Gladys Du Bois, and Paul Gregory, "Too Beautiful For Words", recorded by the Teddy Joyce Orchestra in 1935, "When You're in Love", "My Love", "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", recorded by Fats Waller and Tab Hunter, and "Hello Sister". "Prisoner of Love" is a standard that has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Perry Como, the Ink Spots, Mildred Bailey, Teddy Wilson with Lena Horne on vocals, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine, and James Brown. Perry Como had a no.1 hit on Billboard with his recording. James Brown had a Top 20 pop hit and performed the song on the Ed Sullivan show and in the concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show (1964).

On September 2, 1934, Columbo was shot under peculiar circumstances by his longtime friend, photographer Lansing Brown. Columbo was visiting him at the studio one day. In lighting a cigarette, Brown lit the match by striking it against the wooden stock of an antique French dueling pistol. The flame set off a long-forgotten charge in the pistol chamber containing a lead ball. The ball ricocheted off a nearby table and hit Columbo in the left eye, killing him almost instantly. Columbo's death was ruled an accident, and Brown exonerated from blame. His funeral mass was attended by numerous Hollywood luminaries, including Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard.

However, the news was withheld from his mother by his brothers and sisters for ten years due to her previous heart condition; it was feared that the news would prove fatal to her (she died in 1944). They used all manner of subterfuges to give the impression that he was still alive, including faked letters from him and records used to simulate his radio program.

In 1958, singer Jerry Vale recorded a tribute album, I Remember Russ. In 1995, 61 years after Columbo's death, singer Tiny Tim released an album in tribute to Columbo, titled Prisoner Of Love (A Tribute to Russ Columbo), which he recorded with the group Clang.

Columbo is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Russ Columbo is one of the historical figures named in the Neil Diamond composition 'Done Too Soon'.
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Albums

Russ Columbo - Love Songs By Russ Columbo album art Russ Columbo Love Songs By Russ Columbo (Album) RCA Victor US 1955 Sell This Version
2000/1 Russ Columbo - The Films Of Russ Columbo album art Russ Columbo The Films Of Russ Columbo(LP) Golden Legends (3) 2000/1 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

22867 Russ Columbo - Where The Blue Of The Night / Prisoner Of Love album art Russ Columbo Where The Blue Of The Night / Prisoner Of Love(Shellac, 10") Victor 22867 US 1931 Sell This Version
22802 Russ Columbo - You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love) / Sweet And Lovely album art Russ Columbo You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love) / Sweet And Lovely(Shellac, 10") Victor 22802 US 1931 Sell This Version
22801 Russ Columbo - Guilty / I Don't Know Why I Just Do album art Russ Columbo Guilty / I Don't Know Why I Just Do(Shellac, 10") Victor 22801 US 1931 Sell This Version
22826 Russ Columbo - Good Night Sweetheart / Time On My Hands album art Russ Columbo Good Night Sweetheart / Time On My Hands(Shellac, 10") Victor 22826 US 1931 Sell This Version
22903 Russ Columbo - Save The Last Dance For Me / All Of Me album art Russ Columbo Save The Last Dance For Me / All Of Me(Shellac, 10") Victor 22903 US 1932 Sell This Version
DO-1320 Russ Columbo - When You're In Love / Let's Pretend There's A Moon album art Russ Columbo With Jimmie Grier & His Orchestra* Russ Columbo With Jimmie Grier & His Orchestra* - When You're In Love / Let's Pretend There's A Moon(Shellac, 10") Columbia DO-1320 Australia 1935 Sell This Version
B-7118 Russ Columbo - Just A Gigolo / Sweet And Lovely album art Bing Crosby / Russ Columbo Bing Crosby / Russ Columbo - Just A Gigolo / Sweet And Lovely(Shellac, 10") Bluebird (3) B-7118 US 1937 Sell This Version
22976 Russ Columbo - Paradise / Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear album art Russ Columbo Paradise / Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear(Shellac, 10", RP) Victor 22976 US 1937 Sell This Version
B-10859 Russ Columbo - Just Friends / All Of Me album art Russ Columbo Just Friends / All Of Me(Shellac, 10") Bluebird (3) B-10859 US 1940 Sell This Version
27635 Russ Columbo - Sweet And Lovely / Prisoner Of Love album art Russ Columbo Sweet And Lovely / Prisoner Of Love(Shellac, 10") Victor 27635 US 1941 Sell This Version
27636 Russ Columbo Paradise / Goodnight Sweetheart(Shellac, 10") Victor 27636 US 1941 Sell This Version
Russ Columbo - You Call It Madness / My Time Is Your Time album art Russ Columbo / Rudy Vallee Russ Columbo / Rudy Vallee - You Call It Madness / My Time Is Your Time Colgate-Palmolive Company US 1953 Sell This Version
1932 Russ Columbo - Street Of Dreams / Make Love The King album art The Immortal Voice Of Russ Columbo* Street Of Dreams / Make Love The King(Shellac, 10") Jay (3) 1932 US Unknown Sell This Version
22861 Russ Columbo - Call Me Darling Call Me Sweetheart, Call Me Dear  / You Try Somebody Else album art Russ Columbo Call Me Darling Call Me Sweetheart, Call Me Dear / You Try Somebody Else(Shellac, 10") Victor 22861 US Unknown Sell This Version
EPAT 5 (E2PW-0756) Russ Columbo - A Treasury Of Immortal Performances "Columbo, Crosby" album art Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby - A Treasury Of Immortal Performances "Columbo, Crosby"(7") RCA Victor EPAT 5 (E2PW-0756) US Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

P 95 Russ Columbo - Russ Columbo album art Russ Columbo Russ Columbo(4xShellac, 10", Album, Comp, Mono) Victor P 95 US 1941 Sell This Version
LP 141 Russ Columbo - Prisoner Of Love album art Russ Columbo Prisoner Of Love(LP, Comp) Pelican Records (2) LP 141 US 1975 Sell This Version
CPL1-1756(e) Russ Columbo - A Legendary Performer album art Russ Columbo A Legendary Performer(LP, Comp) RCA CPL1-1756(e) US 1976 Sell This Version
S.H.-2006, No. 6 Russ Columbo - Russ Columbo album art Russ Columbo Russ Columbo(LP, Album, Comp, RM) Sandy Hook Records, Sandy Hook Records S.H.-2006, No. 6 US 1978 Sell This Version
TT409CD Russ Columbo - Save The Last Dance For Me album art Russ Columbo Save The Last Dance For Me(CD, Album, Comp) Take Two Records TT409CD US 1995 Sell This Version
CD AJA 5234 Russ Columbo - Prisoner Of Love album art Russ Columbo Prisoner Of Love(CD, Comp) ASV Living Era CD AJA 5234 UK 1997 Sell This Version
MMD1085 Russ Columbo - The Best Of Russ Columbo album art Russ Columbo The Best Of Russ Columbo(CD, Album, Comp) Music & Memories MMD1085 UK 1999 Sell This Version
Russ Columbo - Russ Columbo Vol. 1: The Long Lost 1932 Broadcasts / Dick Powell 'Live' 1934 album art Russ Columbo / Dick Powell (2) Russ Columbo / Dick Powell (2) - Russ Columbo Vol. 1: The Long Lost 1932 Broadcasts / Dick Powell 'Live' 1934 (Comp) Broncoli Gegend, Broncoli Gegend US Unknown Sell This Version

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