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Vic Damone Plans Retirement Tour

May 3, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Vic Damone promises fans ``A Farewell to Remember″ when his yearlong retirement tour begins May 27 at the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island, N.Y. The tour will end next year with a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 18.

Damone, 71, will sing standards from the catalog known as the ``Great American Songbook″ of the 1930s-1950s. Then he’ll retire.

``I’d like young people to hear some Rodgers, Gershwin, Porter and some other songwriters, and let them know what there is for them to listen to out there, as well as the junk they’re listening to now,″ he says.

His tour will include dates in Atlantic City, N.J.; Las Vegas; the Royal Festival Hall in London; and, he hopes, the Hollywood Bowl. He will also appear at performing arts centers, some colleges and other dates in England.

After his last appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1998, The New York Times described Damone as ``the most gifted singer of standards today,″ saying ``his modest, effortless style is at one with the finely wrought music he perfects.″

``My voice is still good, knock wood. I do exercises _ vocal and physical. You’ve got to be physically strong to be able to perform. I don’t drink the hard stuff. I have a glass of wine with meals. I’ve always taken good care of myself,″ Damone said.

Unlike Frank Sinatra, who announced retirement at 55 and then returned with an ``Old Blue Eyes Is Back″ tour two years later, Damone says he is serious about retirement.

One part of his concert, especially when he appears with an orchestra, is a tribute to Sinatra.

``People are going to miss you and your wonderful arrangements. They were a perfect marriage. Let me sing for you, pay tribute to you. Let me borrow some of those arrangements,″ Damone said he told Sinatra after the legendary singer had retired a second time.

Sinatra asked Damone which album he liked best. Damone told him it was ``Nice and Easy.″

``Frank always had to have the last word, to be in control,″ Damone recalled. ``He said, `I’ll give the arrangements to you _ if I choose the songs.′ He sent about 15 of them. He never gave them to anybody, except to Sammy Davis.″

The tribute to Sinatra is something special to Damone.

``I keep the music out in front of me, on a stand, and look at it. There are his little notations. It gives me inspiration.″

After he retires, Damone plans to play golf near his home in Palm Beach, Fla., and work on his autobiography, ``Singing Was the Easy Part.″

Meanwhile, he is looking forward to his retirement tour.

``Great popular songs bring back nostalgic moments for people my age. I feel sorry for the kids. What are they going to listen to when they’re older?″

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