Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: A Whole Lotta FrankieReleased: 1959Charted:
This song is about a man who prays to the goddess Venus to send him a woman who is basically her human equivalent. Venus was the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility.
This was the first of two US #1 singles by Avalon, who was a former trumpeter - the other was "Why." It was also the first US Top 10 hit that Avalon sang without holding his nose. He held his honker on earlier hits "Dede Dinah" (#7) and "Ginger Bread" (#9).
Al Martino was offered this song before Avalon, but he turned it down. Like Avalon, Martino was a popular Italian-American singer who was also an actor - he played Johnny Fontane in The Godfather.
Avalon's recording career started when Chancellor Records president Bob Marcucci signed him up after he saw Avalon sitting on a street curb. He became a teen idol, and went on to fame starring in beach movies with Annette Funicello.
"I still remember it so vividly," Avalon told the Toronto Star in 2013. "I'll never forget it. The minute I heard the song, I fell in love with it and we decided to go to New York right away to record it. I sat in the back seat of the car with Bob, rehearsing the arrangement he had done on the guitar. We walked into Bell Sound in New York. We had a 7 PM recording date. It was all one track then, the band was there with you and they played and you sang and that was it, buddy. No mixing and fixing like today."
"Back then, they pressed the acetate recording right away. I waited for it to be done until 4:00 AM. I took it back to Philly with me like it was gold. I had a little victrola and I played it over and over again. I just knew it was going to be a smash."
This was used in the 1990 movie Born on the Fourth of July, starring Tom Cruise, and the 2016 thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It was also featured in two episodes of the TV show Dexter in 2009: "Lost Boys" and "The Getaway."
Avalon performed this on the Sonny and Cher Show in 1976.