Most who have been in tune with the musical world for the past half century came to know a man who personified gentleness and class. With hit songs like Some Enchanted Evening, Papa Loves Mambo and Catch a Falling Star, crooner Perry Como entertained a generation over the radio and television with his calming melodies. The many fans who remember Como's television specials and popular albums were obviously saddened by his death this past May.
Assemblyman Tom Alfano presents Perry Como's manager Mickey Glass of West Hempstead with a resolution memorializing Como. Also pictured are radio personality Johnny Knoxx and John Corrado.
While Como's fans will undoubtedly never stop loving his music, the memory of a man who sold more than 100 million albums in becoming an American music icon is alive and well in West Hempstead. For nearly a half century, resident Mickey Glass was an integral part of Como's career, serving as both the manager and confidant of the famous singer.
Recently, the West Hempstead resident accepted a resolution from Assemblymen Bob Barra and Tom Alfano memorializing Como for his life's work. Glass recalled his tenure with Como, which lasted from 1950 to 1998, and a special time in his life as he has a collection of memories collected in his journey with Como.
At the point Glass joined Como in 1950, the crooner was already successful, Glass recalled. "He was on television and he was doing very well. What I did was just join him and run his music company and then eventually I took care of all of his business activities," he said from his home.
Glass stayed with Como until 1998 when the singer closed the office of his musical company RONCOM, short for his son Ronny Como. RONCOM published famous songs such as Hot Diggity and Home for the Holidays.
Back in the 1940's while Como was beginning to lay the groundwork for a legendary career, Glass was working as a song plugger, going around to see performers in an attempt to get them to sing the songs the company he worked for published. "There was a kid named Perry Como singing at a theatre on 47th Street and Broadway. I went to see him. I talked to him and he was very nice. I showed him my material and when he came to New York to sing at a CBS station in 1943, I contacted him and he sang some of the songs that the publisher I was working for published," Glass recalled. "In 1950, he asked me to join him and I said, 'Terrific. I'm ready.'"
It was a big move for Glass, but the way he figured it, he had nothing to lose since Como was already a success. "When I joined him, he said that he didn't know if it was going to work out, but we were going to give it a try for about six months and that was 1950," he said.
Glass didn't think he would be with Como for 48 years, but the relationship worked out and now the former manager has nothing but fond memories of Como and their time together. "Everywhere we went, it was A-One treatment. He was no problem. He didn't go out late at night, drinking. He was a family man, a down-to-earth person. He made a lot of friends and so did I through him," Glass said.
Over the years, Como emitted an aura of kindness and tranquility as if your favorite uncle were singing you his favorite songs. This persona, Glass said, was the nature of the man. Como projected an image of being someone nice because he was. "He had both feet on the ground and he really was Mr. Nice Guy," Glass said.
For years, Glass would travel around the country, seeing disc jockeys in an effort to get them to play Como's records. He was also with him every time Como did a show. Although Como was a talented singer and popular person, Glass also did his job well. "I was what you would call a real good friend. I took care of a lot of things for him such as newspaper people and the fans that came around and if somebody came up with some sort of proposition, I would listen and if I thought it was any good, I would sit down with Perry and explain it to him," he said.
Up until Como's passing on May 12, six days short of his 89th birthday, Glass stayed in touch with the singer. Since his retirement in 1998, in the two years before Como died, Glass visited his former client a half dozen times at his home in the Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony in Palm Beach County.
Although Glass misses his friend immensely, he will always have the memories of his journey with Como. "We went through the good times and very few bad times," he said.