It’s kind of funny how you can sometimes have a completely misguided memory of a song. If you had asked me about a very familiar Sixties song called “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” I would have answered that it was a big hit for Wayne Newton. Turns out that even though Newton did sell a lot of records with it, the singer with the biggest hit on the song was a guy named Vic Dana.
Of course, Wayne Newton went on to become the ageless wonder of Las Vegas, but Vic Dana’s story is an interesting one. A native of Buffalo, New York, Dana was a talented singer and dancer who was helped along early in his career by a guy with the same talents — Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dana’s first real appearance in the spotlight was in the early Sixties as the lead singer in live performances of the Fleetwoods, filling in for Gary Troxel (who’d been drafted). Eventually managing to land a record contract as a solo, the smooth-singing Dana had some success with songs like “Little Altar Boy” and “Love Is All We Need.” But his big moment involved a song that had been popularized by Vaughn Monroe almost twenty years earlier — “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.”
It turned out that 1965 was a pretty good year for the song in general, with versions by both Wayne Newton and Bert Kaempfert doing very well — but Vic Dana’s performance was the one the record-buying public liked the most. It ended up being his biggest hit by far, although he did have some other good sellers, including “Moonlight And Roses.”
Vic Dana continued performing and recording into the next decade but eventually left the business behind. At last report he was living in Kentucky.
6 thoughts on “Vic Dana Topped Them All”
And I never heard this version until today. The one I know (and thought was the post-Monroe standard) was by Bobby Vinton.
I had forgotten about Vinton, but you’re right that he had a popular version too. Interesting that the Wikipedia entry for the song doesn’t mention him.
Hmmmm…looking a little deeper, ALLMUSIC doesn’t list this song for Vinton. Are we mixing it up with “Roses Are Red”?
Vic had a great record ya didn’t mention… Around 1962/63 called ‘Close Your Eyes’… Sure wish I could find it these days. Nice write up and the info ’bout him filling in for a Fleetwood is amazing.
I, like Ralph, was completely clueless about this Vic Dana version of “Red Roses for A Blue Lady”. It’s actually quite nice. Admittedly, I really liked both Wayne’s and Bert’s version of the song – have them both.
I do think you are correct with regard to Vinton though BG. I am not aware of a Vinton version of the subject song….
On Bobby Vinton: I think we may all be correct. Geeze, you’re right that Wikipedia doesn’t mention Vinton and this song in the same sentence anywhere, neither on his page nor the page for the song, Wiki answers does say Vinton recorded it , though, in 1965. Apparently his version of the song was the one I heard growing up in the DC suburbs, Vic Dana’s name is familiar to me but not for this song, Newton is somebody I avoid at all costs, and since what I heard was a vocal version, it couldn’t have been Kaempfert. (I thought I had it nailed when I found the “Vinton” version of it on Imeem–but it turned out to be Dana!)
But I will allow that I may be thinking of another “rose” song: “Roses Are Red.” That was definitely Vinton and I may be conflating the two.