Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Alvin Morris, 22 December 1912, Oakland CA; d 27 July 2012, Los Angeles) Singer, a baritone with a distinctively attractive sound. He played saxophone in dance bands (worked with Woody Herman when they were both kids), turned singer, sang on Ray Noble hits in 1938 including 'I Hadn't Anyone Till You', had 35 hits of his own 1938-54: 'It's A Blue World' '40 (no. 2), 'To Each His Own' '46 (no. 4), but most of his best-known records were adaptations: 'Tonight We Love' '40 from Tchaikovsky, 'There's No Tomorrow' '49 from 'O Sole Mio' (later also Elvis Presley's 'It's Now Or Never'), 'I Get Ideas' '51 from Argentine tango 'Adios Muchachos' '32 (Martin's hit was thought salacious at the time, as though most pop songs did not have genteel sexual innuendo in them), 'Kiss Of Fire' '52 from A. G. Villoldo's tango 'El Choclo' '13, 'Stranger In Paradise' '54 from show Kismet (tune from Borodin's Prince Igor), 'Here' '54 from Verdi's Rigoletto were all top ten. Of many films the best- known were The Big Store '41 with the Marx Brothers, Casbah '48, Deep In My Heart '54. He was also famous for being married to dancer Cyd Charisse, but his big voice did credit to the hits.
In January 2009, having lost his beautiful wife of nearly 60 years a few months earlier, he sang for five nights at Feinstein's in New York City, his mid-range still intact at age 96.