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Lemongello’s Tasty Tunes


The man who invented ‘mood rock’ comes to Resorts to begin the new year


By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 9 | Posted Jan. 2, 2013

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Flashback to 1976. A young soldier back from a tour in Vietnam in 1968 wants to start a career as a singer. 


 

However, the crooner style he favors is no longer in favor as stars like Sinatra and Bennett are being supplanted in the pop ranks by rock ’n’ roll, Motown and the British Invasion. Struggling to find a record deal, and even after opening gigs with Don Rickles, and signing with Epic records, Peter Lemongello’s career is going nowhere. Instead he comes up with the idea of a genre of music called “mood rock,” selling a self-produced album called Love ’76 strictly through a television ad campaign.


Long before the infomercial was officially invented, Lemongello got the ball rolling by bombarding New York area cable channels with his two-minute infomercial. He become a sensation, the first person to sell a million-plus records with a direct marketing TV campaign. He went on to 25 appearances on The Tonight Show, a spot on 60 Minutes and, perhaps the biggest honor of all, being spoofed on Saturday Night Live by Chevy Chase as “Peter Lemon Moodring.”


Flash forward to 2013. Peter Lemongello never completely expanded his 15 minutes of fame into sustained stardom, but he continued to sing — at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Branson, Mo. The former native of Jersey City is now based out of Florida and still appears there regularly. Although he hates the cold weather, he is coming to Atlantic City for an extended mid-week engagement at Resorts from Jan. 8 through Feb. 13.


Lemongello, who last performed here in 2010, tells Atlantic City Weekly about his direct marketing bid for fame and how he used a clever billboard to break into the Atlantic City market.


You helped invent the TV infomercial. Tell us about that.


It was unheard of for a singer to do it. I opened for Don Rickles. I signed with Epic Records, but after a year they dropped me and once you’ve had a major label, to try and get another one is almost impossible. I was watching a TV commercial for Crazy Eddie [an electronics store] and they said they had two stores. How could they afford to be on TV? That’s what I wanted to do. I figured even if the album doesn’t sell, everyone will find out who I am and I’ll get work. I did it and I was the last one to expect to sell 1.8 million records, more than anybody could have possibly predicted.


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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 9 of 9
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1. Gia said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 09:22AM

“SI loves Peter. Seen him in Playboy Club, Great Gorge. Thank you for the updates.

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2. Joyce Montpetit said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:10AM

“I have been watching Peter perform for 40 years. He looks great but sings even better. For a really fun and entertaining night don't miss his show. Wish I could be there too. Lots of love sent from Minnesota!”

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3. Lee Stoller & Cristy Lane said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:25AM

“Congratulations, to Resorts, Atlantic City for selecting one of the greatest. I have seen them all, but when you see Mr. Peter Lemongello's show you will see one of the best. If you see one show in your lifetime, do yourself a favor and see Peter Lemongello's.”

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4. Bruce Klauber said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 02:53PM

“Peter is a certifiable gentleman who has always stood for quality. I am absolutely thrilled that he is returning to Atlantic City, and if there's one person who can help get this town back to where it's supposed to be, it's my main main, Peter Lemongello.”

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5. byrdie said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 03:30PM

“i am so happy to see peter back on "stage"...that is where he belongs!!!!!!!!...........knock em' dead petie.......wish i were there to see the greatest old fashioned entertainment and a handsome singer that still has it!!!
hugs from the cold and the snow........xoxox..byrdie”

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6. Anonymous said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 08:58PM

“Peter, sing your heart out like you always do. You are one of the best singers that there are around. We have been watching you for 35 years and you still keep us in ore when we watch you on stage or listen to your music on CD's .Atlantic City needs you. When watching you sing it comes from your heart and we understand every word you say, what a pleasure that is. To know that you can still knock them dead and hold that note like you use to, that is the reason why we love you and want to see you over and over again. Break a leg, and keep it going, how can you ever stop when you still have it from day one. Love you, Janice and Frank”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 08:58PM

“Peter, sing your heart out like you always do. You are one of the best singers that there are around. We have been watching you for 35 years and you still keep us in ore when we watch you on stage or listen to your music on CD's .Atlantic City needs you. When watching you sing it comes from your heart and we understand every word you say, what a pleasure that is. To know that you can still knock them dead and hold that note like you use to, that is the reason why we love you and want to see you over and over again. Break a leg, and keep it going, how can you ever stop when you still have it from day one. Love you, Janice and Frank”

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8. Minnie said... on Jan 3, 2013 at 09:47PM

“Where's his brother Michael???”

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9. Marguerite said... on Jan 5, 2013 at 12:23PM

“I have know Peter for over 40 years. He is an amazing performer with a Golden Voice and a personality to go along with it. He will entertain you like you have been never entertained before. Once you see and hear him you are addicted. He has such charisma and charm and he just melts your heart. You will fall in love with him for sure and always find yourself wanting to see and hear more of gim. Get to Resorts to meet and fall in love in one evening with the fablous Peter Lemongello !!!!!!!!!”

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