Article Index





Gene Ferrari Biography

tom jones gene ferrari Gene Ferrari sweeps onto the stage in a wave of energy that almost crackles. He flashes his contagious grin to his eager audience, seizes his microphone and fills the big casino showroom with a rolling tenor that stirs the romantic imagination.

Gene’s classically elegant style, both in performance and in attire, begs comparison to such great romantic singers as Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. But, even though Humperdinck was a mentor and early influence, Gene’s way of delighting audiences with the music they love, and some they are enjoying for the first time, is distinctively his own.

No wonder, then, that Gene has been the frequent opening act choice over the years of such stars as Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason, Dom Deluise, Rich Little, David Brenner, Pat Cooper, Bob Hope and more. Or that Gene’s four CDs, the latest of which is “Live,” sell so briskly on the Internet and at his personal appearances.

Englebert Humperdinck and Gene FerrariHe’s come a long way from Catania, Sicily, the tiny town of his birth. By the time he came to America in 1972, with $100 in his pocket, not speaking a word of English, he had clocked thousands of miles throughout the Middle East and Europe, singing for his supper.

At the Top of the Hilton in Rome, two American promoters and their wives caught the Gene Ferrari Show and offered to bring Gene to the United States – for 60% of his earnings. Gene accepted and made his debut in Rochester, New York.

A year later, Gene and company were playing the lounge of the Executive Inn in Buffalo, New York, at a time during the summer when Engelbert Humperdinck was appearing at a local outdoor music fair. Humperdinck and his manager, Andy Anka (Paul’s Dad) were staying at the hotel.

Englebert Humperdinck and Gene Ferrari Now“They came to the show once, then they came back every night,” Gene remembers fondly. “Then Engelbert did something very generous: he sent for me, sat me down, and explained to me everything I was doing wrong.

He taught me how to be polished, which I learned quickly was not easy to accomplish. The idea is to make it look easy. “He said, ‘Our paths will cross again, and when they do, you are welcome  backstage.’ Well, that was the real education. To be back there and see the ins and outs of the show. I think of it as my graduate school in entertainment.”

By 1979, Gene, by then a solo act, had worked his way to Las Vegas, as the headliner in the Aladdin Hotel lounge. Soon thereafter, he was opening for Don Rickles, and had the amazing experience of seeing his name under Rickles’ on the classic glittering neon marquee of the Stardust Hotel.

In the 80s, Gene’s stature grew as a well-known and well-loved opening act.