Dino wanted to earn his living by singing, and when in 1946, the manager of the 500 Club in Atlantic City teamed him up with Jerry Lewis, a young comic who was already playing the venue. Almost accidental it may have been, but the formation of the Martin-Lewis duo was just what both artists needed, as they were achieving little as solo acts. Dino and Jerry’s partnership was a surprising success. Its popularity built up on television, was cemented by a long-term contract with Paramount which produced seventeen movies between 1949 and 1956. It also gave Dean a chance to air his singing voice, leading to a deal with Capitol Records – many of his hits for the label are featured on this LP. He later recorded for Frank Sinatra’s own label ‘Reprise’.
In 1956 Dean celebrated his number one single, ‘Memories Are Made Of This’, but split up with Jerry Lewis. He had long felt that his partner was claiming the lion’s share of the limelight and to escape from the feeling of resentment which was building up inside him, decided to pursue a solo career. It was a gamble, as he had no idea how a public which adored Jerry and he appearing together would react to him on his own. With the help of lyric writer Sammy Cahn he developed the character of the amiable drunk which he was to use to such effect in live appearances for the rest of his life. It helped him conquer his nerves and revitalised a flagging career. He became a headlining regular in Las Vegas, as well as rediscovering his Midas touch on screen and on record. He added another string to his bow with his television series ‘The Dean Martin Show’ which became the top-rated programme in the United States.