1958 Lou Monte – Lazy Mary
Louis Scaglione was born in New York City in 1917, the son of Italian immigrants. After his mother died, his family moved to New Jersey. He began performing as Lou Monte, playing guitar and singing in clubs. He got his own radio show in Newark in 1948. He began recording singles and reached the top ten in 1954 with the song Darktown Strutters Ball (Italian Style). His recordings routinely included lyrics in both English and Italian.
Several less successful records followed, and his next top forty single came in 1958. The song Luna mezz’o mare was a humorous Italian song that dated back to 1927. The song contains some innuendo and double entendres as a daughter who is about to be married discusses some of her suitors with her mother. Rudy Vallée reached the top ten in 1938 with a version entitled Oh! Ma-Ma! (The Butcher Boy). Lou covered the song as Lazy Mary, which was initially banned in the UK due to sexual content. His single reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1958.
A survey of Mets fans in the nineties picked out a song to play at home games during the seventh inning stretch after Take Me Out To The Ballgame. The winner? Lou Monte’s version of Lazy Mary. There’s no explanation for how that many fans manage to sing the Italian lyrics.
A few years later, Lou had his biggest hit single. Pepino The Italian Mouse reached #5 on the Hot 100 in early 1963. The record sold over a million copies and spawned a series of less successful sequels: Pepino’s Friend Pasqual (The Italian Pussy-Cat), Paulucci, the Italian Parrot, and Paul Revere’s Horse (Ba-Cha-Ca-Loop).
No doubt Lou’s single that gets the most airplay in modern times is Dominick the Donkey, a Christmas song from 1960 that shows up for a few months every year.