21 Best Dean Martin Songs Ever

Best Dean Martin Songs Ever

Dean Martin’s songs are sometimes more well known than him. With songs like That’s Amore and Everybody Loves Somebody being featured on many a commercial and TV show, it’s no surprise.

Here are the best Dean Martin songs of all time.

1. That’s Amore

Song Year: 1953

“That’s Amore” makes an unlikely beginning for a list of the best Dean Martin songs, but it’s as widely known as it is silly.

Written by Jack Brooks and Harry Warren, the song is a perennial favorite with fans of Dean Martin.

It also has the distinction of featuring in the 1990s television show Veronica Mars, where it was an improbable musical cue for a violent scene.

2. Everybody Loves Somebody

Song Year: 1964

Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor, and Ken Lane wrote “Everybody Loves Somebody” in 1947. It was always a popular song, and several famous artists covered it, including Dean Martin.

But when Martin recorded the song in 1964, it was on a bit more than a whim. Initially, his manager suggested it because Martin sang it well, and they had extra time during a recording session. Martin agreed because he wanted to out-perform The Beatles.

He hadn’t a hope of eclipsing them in Britain, but his 1964 version of “Everybody Loves Somebody” briefly knocked the Liverpudlian group off the top of the American charts.

3. Volare

Song Year: 1958

When Domenico Modugno wrote “Volare,” he called it “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu.” But it was a mouthful, and it was difficult for the average Dean Martin fan to get their tongue around.

So, Martin retitled it “Volare,” meaning “to fly.”

The other notable difference is that Modugno sings the song in Italian. Martin uses some of the Italian lyrics to pay tribute to his heritage. But he interspersed English lyrics to help the non-Italian listener follow the story.

It’s a romantic song, and the string orchestration of Martin’s cover does the love story justice. The playing is lavish without being indulgent and combines a romantic sensibility with a hint of sentimentality.

Martin’s vocals are cool and breezy. In his hands, this is a song even an inexpert dancer can bob along to, and that’s part of its appeal. It’s also one of Martin’s signature songs.

4. Memories Are Made of This

Song Year: 1955

“Memories Are Made of This” was considered one of the best Dean Martin songs during its initial release and opinion hasn’t changed.

It’s also the song that earned Martin his nickname “King of Cool.” His vocals are smooth and unruffled, the perfect accompaniment to the jaunty background singers and their snappy harmonics.

Another bit of trivia about “Memories Are Made of This” is that it features in the cult hit show Millennium. Designed as an off-shoot of the better-known X-Files, you can hear “Memories are Made of This” in the season two episode “The Curse of Frank Black,” where the eponymous hero lives through a disastrous Halloween.

5. Mambo Italiano

Song Year: 1955

“Mambo Italiano” starts off sounding like a lyrical Neapolitan song. Then it segues into a fast-paced mambo.

It’s a lively, jazzy number, and Martin rattles the words off at an appropriate clip. However, the combination of his Italian inflection and the pacing force him to sacrifice some of his diction.

Luckily, you don’t need to understand the words to enjoy the song. Its main goal is to get listeners up and dancing, and it succeeds no matter how obscure the words get.

6. You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You

Song Year: 1964

Don’t be deceived by the position of this song on our list of the best Dean Martin songs. Despite never getting above number 25 on the ranking charts, it was a fan favorite. It wasn’t a Dean Martin concert if he didn’t sing “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” at least once.

7. Sway

Song Year: 1954

“Sway” is all about falling in love with your dance partner. That makes the tango rhythm and off-beats more than appropriate. They’re an essential part of the storytelling.

Adding to the musical color and tango sensibility is a Spanish guitar and finger snaps.

Martin’s vocal line blends passion, sultriness, and the elegant languor of the tango-step. Dancing may not be how the average couple falls in love, but Martin certainly makes it sound seductive.

8. Return to Me

Song Year: 1958

Many of the best Dean Martin songs are love songs and “Return to Me” is no exception.

The music accentuates the sense of vulnerability Martin brings to the lyrics, which pushes him to make octave leaps. They leave his voice raw and exposed, which is perfect for a song about a deserted lover.

Martin infuses the music with tenderness and an impeccably smooth vocal line. It’s the crooner’s version of the bel canto technique but with shorter musical phrases.

9. Ain’t That A Kick In The Head

Song Year: 1960

Not all of Dean Martin’s best songs are slow and languorous. Here’s an upbeat, fast-paced song popularized by Martin. Typical of many of the songs discussed, this has a brassy, big-band sound.

It got a new lease of life when it appeared in the 2006 film Ocean’s Eleven. It put Martin back on the map after years of being written off as an old-world crooner with antiquated technique.

Bizarrely, although almost every Dean Martin album features “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” it never got released as a single. Even so, it was a fan favorite and featured prominently at concerts.

10. Come Back To Sorrento

Song Year: 1953

Part of the success of “Come Back to Sorrento” is its unapologetic sentimentality. Right from the opening bars, it’s full of shimmering strings and smooth legato phrasing.

Martin makes it sound like a musical caress. He’s always inviting the listener to lean closer and listen harder. The impression is that Martin is singing just for you. The switch midway through to English lyrics helps English speakers understand what’s happening.

But by then, it’s a moot point; Martin already has his audience eating out of his hand.

11. On An Evening In Roma

Song Year: 1959

Another of the best Dean Martin songs is “On An Evening In Roma.”

It stands out for its playful, off-kilter rhythm. It lilts in surprising, almost drunken directions. That’s not true of Martin’s vocals, though. Despite the rollicking rhythm, his voice is smooth. That’s true whether he’s skipping Italian syllables like stones or taking English phrases at a conversational canter.

There’s also a charmingly playful quality to Martin’s singing. He’s having fun with those atypical rhymes and Italian interjections, and it's infectious.

Another lovely touch is the plucked guitar in harmony. That, combined with the marcato choir, beautifully evokes a vibrant evening in an Italian café.

12. You Belong To Me

You Belong To Me

Song Year: 1952

“You Belong To Me” has one of the most famous openings of any Hollywood song. Jo Stafford’s sultry vocals made it famous, but she wasn’t the only artist to sing it.

Dean Martin’s rendition of the song limits the jazz to the orchestration. The instruments get all the fun of blue notes and complex harmonies while Martin spins a mellow and sinuous vocal line. He infuses it with a nostalgic, yearning quality that heightens the song’s innate romance.

The gentle slurs on phrases and syllables evoke hazy, tropical nights. All reasons to enjoy this crooning arrangement of a popular 1950s song.

13. Gentle On My Mind

Song Year: 1968

If you want one of the best Dean Martin songs with a zip to it, “Gentle On My Mind” is the obvious choice.

You wouldn’t think so if you only saw the title. But when the song strikes up, it has a big-band sound. It moves at a clip, with the drum beat driving the rhythm forward.

Martin evidently enjoys the chance to swing his melody. He effortlessly tosses the wordy, fast-moving phrases off.

It’s playfully swung, and Martin has his work cut out for him holding his own against Glen Campbell’s popular recording. Whether or not he did is debatable. The song did disastrously in America. But when it reached the UK it catapulted to number two on the song charts, only eclipsed by the Brits’ beloved Beatles.

14. Let It Snow!

Song Year: 1959

Today, “Let It Snow” is widely believed to be the best Dean Martin song. While it wasn’t his biggest hit in the 1950s, it’s probably his most popular song today.

That makes sense if you think about how often you hear this song blaring from shopping mall speakers during the holidays.

Other versions of “Let It Snow” exist, but this is the most recognizable. From its tinkling sleigh bells to Martin’s warm vocals, it oozes fireside warmth. It’s richly evocative of the coziness and holiday cheer we crave during the chilly winter months.

15. How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

Song Year: 1958

Dean Martin recorded this song in collaboration with Helen O’Connell. It’s one of Martin’s most overrated songs. You don’t typically see it on lists of hits.

But it deserves recognition. It has a bold, brassy big-band sound, and a rhythm that waits for no one.

Martin makes terrific use of dotted rhythms to toss off playfully swung phrases. They give the song an intimate, conversational feel. With O’Connell singing opposite it’s like listening to a musical tennis match or at least a mild flirtation.

16. Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Song Year: 1959

“Dream A Little Dream” was originally a 1931 jazz standard written by Wilbur Schwandt and Fabian Andre.

What’s interesting about Martin’s recording is that it smooths out the syncopated phrases and irons out the more complex harmonies.

It’s still an interesting musical interpretation, but you can see why it was featured on Dean Martin’s album Sleep Warm. Martin interprets the title literally. He turns a flirtatious jazz standard into a tender lullaby. That’s impressive.

Martin wasn’t the only artist to record a popular version of this song. Other well-known artistic interpretations include:

  • The Mamas and the Papas
  •  Cass Elliott
  •  Michael Bublé

17. Ghost Riders In The Sky

Song Year: 1954

In addition to being one of the best Dean Martin Songs, “Ghost Riders In the Sky” is an unusual one.

Stylistically it’s miles from his usual pop ballad. Instead, it has a lugubrious, folksy feel. Elsewhere, as discussed, Martin reinterprets songs and brings them into his style. But he doesn’t do that with “Ghost Riders.”

Instead, he leans into the folk tradition, and it blends beautifully with his warm vocals. 

18. Under the Bridge of Paris

Song Year: 1954

“Under All the Bridges of Paris” is much more obviously a Dean Martin song. He’s in his element crooning elegant and indulgently slow phrases. He makes them sound like a swoon, and the choir takes their cue from him. They stretch the phrases ever longer until you think time might stop.

It’s a highly romantic and sentimental song. The high flute and strings add to the romance. They bring a European sensibility to this piece.

19. All I Do Is Dream of You

Song Year: 1959

Another of the best Dean Martin songs from his 1959 album Sleep Warm was “All I Do Is Dream of You.”

Today most listeners know it as the jazzy, upbeat dance number from Singing in the Rain. And that’s where the song debuted. But it was so successful that many popular artists reimagined it.

Like much of the music on Sleep Warm, this rendition is slower than the original. But the jazz is still there in the orchestration. There are even some interesting harmonies at play between Martin’s vocals and the orchestration.

Martin still favors the off-beats, but there’s a definite crooning quality to the song in his hands.

20. Bye Bye Blackbird

Song Year: 1967

There’s nothing slow about “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Dean Martin has fun swinging the rhythm of this melody. He glances off of strong beats and lands with confidence on the off-beats.

It’s fast without galloping along. You could dance to Martin’s “Blackbird” but be prepared to move briskly.

The band is in fine form too. It plays a beautifully swung and brassy melody at a steady clip. 

The result is a blend of Martin’s famous vocal smoothness and bravado that makes for memorable listening.

21. Buona Sera

Song Year: 1958

We end our list with this charming goodnight from Dean Martin. “Buona Sera” hearkens back to Martin’s Italian ancestry.

It’s got a pronounced Neapolitan rhythm and lively jazzy orchestration. The fast-talking verses give a lilting Italian flavor to the song. But because it’s a goodnight, Martin infuses it with romantic lyricism. Right up until that arch bid for a kiss at the end of each verse.

It sounds like he’s stealing a kiss from his sweetheart and it should because to tuck that phrase in, he steals time from other parts of the music.

Top Dean Martin Songs, Final Thoughts

To the modern ear, Dean Martin can sound old-fashioned. His style is often sentimental and crooning.

But the best Dean Martin songs exhibit a timeless charisma and musicality that unfailingly charms listeners. “Let It Snow” might be the song younger listeners recognize, but it barely scratches the surface of Martin’s career. So, sit back, relax and prepare to succumb to old-fashioned charm.

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