Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

May 23, 2013

Here comes 'The Polish Prince'


Night & Day — Vinton’s daughter’s assessment was quite different; she recognized that Akon’s version would be a hit. His wife thought it was great and also thought the Akon version would be a hit. Akon’s version went to number one in 14 countries.

“To this day I get royalty checks from countries I have never heard of.”

Contemporary artist Lana Del Ray, who is performing the song on her current world tour, recently recorded another of Vinton’s signature hits, “Blue Velvet.” To date it hasn’t been as successful as Akon’s remake of “Mr. Lonely.”

Vinton was also closely associated with the man that some claim broke up The Beatles, Allen Klein, who managed Vinton and The Rolling Stones. After Brian Epstein died, Klein took over the management of The Beatles.

“Allen and I were best friends at the time, and he was making good decisions and I was making good money. When The Beatles came over here they saw I was making money and they were making a penny an album and splitting it five ways between them and Epstein, so they went to Allen. He saved them a lot of money and at the time I thought he was doing them a lot of good.”

Vinton earned the nickname The Polish Prince after the song “My Melody of Love,” was released. The song, which contains lyrics in Polish, was initially a hit in Buffalo because of the area’s large Polish population. Nonetheless, his nickname came after a performance in another part of the country with a large Polish population.

“I was performing in Chicago, and they have a larger Polish population than Buffalo, and it was an election year so the late Mayor Richard Daley came to see me and he sang it with me and he was supposed to be having dinner with the King of Sweden. At a press conference the next day they asked him why he skipped dinner with the King of Sweden and he said he was with “The Polish Prince.” The next day the quote is on the front page of The Chicago Tribune with my picture underneath it. The name stuck.”

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.

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