This December 26th would have been Jimmy Roselli’s 97th birthday. Michael John “Jimmy” Roselli died on June 30, 2011; he was 85 years old at the time of his death. Jimmy Roselli was born in Hoboken; he grew up just five doors down from where Frank Sinatra had lived; who, by the way, was ten years his senior.
Jimmy Roselli is remembered as one of the most significant Italian-American pop singers of his time, during an era that featured legendary Italian-American performers such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Frankie Laine, Vic Damone, Al Martino, and Jerry Vale.
Jimmy Roselli is a favorite among Italian-Americans, especially those with origins from “Napoli.” Jimmy Roselli sang in perfect “dialetto Napoletano;” as can be heard in his classics, such as his signature song, “Mala Femmina,” “Core ‘ngrato,” “Anema e core,” and “Scapricciatello.”
Jimmy Roselli may have been “underrated,” due mostly to the competition he had faced from the renowned Italian-American crooners of the time. However, Jerry Lewis once said, “Roselli sings as an Italian should sing.” That comment from one of the most celebrated entertainers in the world succinctly sums up the legacy that was Jimmy Roselli.
John Di Genio