The act of Dean Martin with Jerry Lewis broke up in 1956. Dino was still popular as a singer, but with rock and roll to the fore, the era of the pop crooner was waning, so he was more dedicated to the movies, with some outstanding performances. But as for 1964 Dean Martin hadn’t had a hit record in six years. Last time he figured in the top listing was with the cover of "Volare", in 1958.
By 1964 Ricci Martin, his son, was just like most any other teenager. In the early months of 1964. Ricci was totally crazy about and obsessed with the Beatles. Ever since the Beatles arrival in America a few months previously, they had captivated teenagers far and wide and taken the entire country by storm. They were making appearances on TV, their new film “A Hard Day’s Night” was a smash hit, and their songs were blasting out of every radio on the continent. The records: “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Please Please Me”, et al. were inevitably turning up on the record charts- in the number one spot. And now it was August of 1964 and the theme song to their brilliant first film “A Hard Day’s Night” was sitting brightly atop the charts.
And so it was, that Ricci Martin was raving on and on about “the Beatles this” and “the Beatles that” and “Beatles Beatles Beatles”. Dean Martin, star of stage, screen, television, Las Vegas, and the record world, not being a fan of rock 'n' roll at all got fed up one day and with a bravado that would have put Muhammad Ali to shame confidently told Ricci, “I’m gonna knock your pallies off the charts.” This was particularly bold considering Dino hadn’t had a hit record in six years. And come on man, these guys were the Beatles!
In 1962, Dean Martin had signed a recording contract with Reprise Records, a company owned by his close friend and comrade-in-arms Frank Sinatra. In 1963, Reprise signed a man named Jimmy Bowden to their A & R department. Bowden very much wanted to record an album with Dean Martin. Dean, always an easy-going guy, agreed to work with Bowden. But Dean wanted to record an album of soft, moody, Las Vegas-type songs. It was to be a typical “Dean Martin album”- slow ballads and love songs sung by the droopy-eyed crooner.
The album was ultimately called “Dream with Dean”. The recording studio was set up in a moody light to create the proper atmosphere for the theme while recording. They got together a small band and Dino quickly and smoothly recorded the first 11 songs for the album. But albums always had 12 songs in the US, so Dean asked his conductor and piano player Ken Lane if he had something else for him. Ken said he had an old song he had written with Sam Coslow and Irving Taylor for Frank Sinatra in 1947, "Everybody Loves Somebody". His version was released in 1948, but went nowhere. It was recorded in the '50s by Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington, but still failed to find an audience. You can listen to Frank's version - no offense to Frank Sinatra, a legend, but his version sounds poor and weak.
Coincidentally, even Dean Martin had sung it in 1948 on Bob Hope's radio show in 1948, and also on Martin & Lewis' NBC radio program at about the same time. Dean hated the idea to include it in his new album. The song had been around for a couple decades, had never gone anywhere and seemed destined to be a small, trivial and quickly forgotten number in recording history. After some pushing, he finally agreed because piano player Ken Lane was his close friend. This factor likely had a lot to do with Dean recording a song he couldn’t stand, to help a pal get some extra royalties, so they recorded it with just Ken, a bass player, a guitar and drums.
It's not clear who had the idea to re cut the track with a full orchestra at a higher tempo than the original version from the Dream With Dean album. Supposedly it was the record producer, other souces say it was Dean Martin or Reprise records. Fact is that Dean went back into the studio and re-recorded it for a single release adding a more contemporary sound to it, with a full orchestra and background singers.
The song gradually gained popularity and by August 15, 1964, just as he had boasted to his skeptical son, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” actually knocked the Beatles out of the #1 spot on the Billboard “Hot 100” record charts. And thus, Dean Martin, in all probability, became the one and only known person to correctly predict that he was going to knock the Beatles out of the number one spot on the charts and actually do it! By the way, it was the first chart-topper for the Reprise record label
“Billboard Top Five Songs”- August 15, 1964
1. “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime”- Dean Martin
2. “Where Did Our Love Go?”- The Supremes
3. “A Hard Day’s Night”- The Beatles
4. “Rag Doll”- The Four Seasons
5. “Under the Boardwalk”- The Drifters
When it knocked "A Hard Day's Night" off the top of the US charts, Dino sent a telegram to Elvis Presley that read, "If you can't handle the Beatles, I'll do it for you, pally."
Immediatly it became Dean's theme song for his TV show and ultimately replaced "That's Amore" as his signature song, and he sang it as the theme of his weekly television variety show from 1965 until 1974. The song has become so identified with Martin that later versions are invariably compared to his take.
There is even a quite funny video of Dean Martin and John Wayne singing in duet "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime"; John Wayne is lip syncing to Frank Sinatra’s voice.
As an apt description of the power of the song in Martin's life, the words "Everybody Loves Somebody" appear on his grave marker in Los Angeles.