The Singing Barber

Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Arthur Godfrey harmonize in 1950

Mustang Staff

As a child, Pierino “Perry” Como, dreamed of being the best barber in town, and at the age of 13 he had his own barber chair at the Fragapane Barber Shop near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 14 he became so talented at cutting hair that he earned enough money to open a barber shop to support his family. As the years went by he would often sing songs to his customers while he cut their hair. When Como turned 20, he moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area to work at his uncle’s barber shop. There, he joined the Freddy Carlone Band and Ted Weems Orchestra, touring cities and towns with his new wife, Roselle. The Weems Orchestra was a regular guest on the Jack Benny Program and had a large following on the radio, giving Como more national exposure reports the Kennedy Center.

Como’s breakthrough moment came during World War 2, when he performed stateside at the Copacabana Club in 1943. From there he signed his first record contract with RCA Victor and would go on to fill in for Frank Sinatra at the Paramount. In a celebrated career filled with 5 Emmy awards and a Grammy, today the Como sound, like that of his mentors Bing Crosby and Sinatra, is very much connected to the Christmas holiday.

Perry Como enjoys time with his family after a break from going on tour
Sinatra giving Como a touch up (Getty Images)

Johnny Cash