Making the Wiseguys Weep

Making the Wiseguys Weep: The Jimmy Roselli Story - David Evanier There is a small district of New York called Hoboken which is only famous for being the birth place of probably the most famous singer from the era of the great American Songbook - Frank Sinatra. A poor area it was a major centre for the Italian immigrant who were really at the bottom of the social ladder, perhaps just one step up from black people in the 'pecking order'. Sinatra was renowned for his alleged involvement with 'The Wiseguys' The Italian Mafia. But- born in exactly the same street, a few doors away from Sinatra, in 1925, 10 years after Sinatra was born was another singer, Jimmy Roselli. The two knew each other and it is said that as soon as Sinatra heard Roselli sing, he was jealous of Roselli's 2 octave range and had nothing to do with him thereafter. Roselli, unlike Sinatra, never covered up the fact that he was born amongst and grew up with 'The Wiseguys' and such was his singing talent that, amongst the Italian community particularly, he was the one - sometimes, at venues where Sinatra was commanding $50,000 appearance fees, Roselli earned double that and he made dozens of best selling albums - so why is it virtually nobody has heard of him? The answer lies partly in his own self-destructive character, partly his life long emnity with Sinatra, but mostly by falling foul of the wise guys who hated him and loved him in equal measure. It is probable that the older Italians, the wives and mothers of the 'Wiseguys' prevented him from being murdered many times, but they could damage him - his records were removed from shops and juke boxes and his incredible impact on the music industry has almost been deleted - yet he was considered in a lot of circles the greatest of all the Italian Balladeers including Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone. This is perfect material for a film by Martin Scorsese in the mould of 'Raging Bull' or 'Mean Streets'. Jimmy Roselli died in June 2011 - now would be a perfect time for a film of this man's life - the 'Man who made the Wise Guys Weep'. Brilliant!