Commentucci, who is 72 and thriving, performs everywhere from Parx Casino to the Dominican Republic
By Samantha Bambino
For the first decade of his life, Joey Commentucci was convinced everyone in the world was Italian. But you really can’t blame him.
Growing up in a neighborhood deemed the “Little Italy” of North Philadelphia, the culture seeped into virtually every aspect of his daily routine. All of his school peers shared the same heritage, and when he got home, his mother could always be found preparing a fresh meal for dinner. As a native of Italy, she simply wouldn’t stand for any of that frozen stuff.
Needless to say, those Italian roots also influenced the musical tastes of the Commentucci household. Every weekend, the radio dial was set to the soothing sounds of Ol’ Blue Eyes.
“I grew up listening to all of Sinatra’s music. I listened to it in my car, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs,” said Commentucci. “While everybody else was listening to The Beatles and hard rock, I was listening to that. For some reason, it just hit me. Sinatra was one of the best storytellers when he performed a song. He just took you with him.”
The young Frank Sinatra fan would casually sing along to songs like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “My Way.” It was a natural reaction to hearing a favorite track, but his parents quickly realized the vocal gods had gifted their son with something special. Not only did Commentucci have a good voice, he actually sounded like his idol. Slowly but surely, Commentucci honed his creative talents, performing Sinatra hits at small local venues under the name “Joey C” while maintaining a hair salon in Roxborough.
Today, Commentucci is 72 and thriving. With his pitch black hair, crisp suits and unwavering energy (which he credits his mom’s home cooked meals for), Joey C is still spreading his love of Sinatra to fans everywhere from Parx Casino to the Dominican Republic.
Commentucci is best known for his Sinatra tribute shows, the most recent of which took place Oct. 13 at Tiffany Diner on Roosevelt Boulevard. His mission is to keep the music he fell in love with as a child alive and relevant. During each performance, he pours his heart and soul into songs like “Strangers in the Night,” “My Kind of Town,” “New York, New York,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “That’s Life,” “Summer Wind,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and more. Throughout the evening, Commentucci also provides interesting tidbits on Sinatra’s life and the events that inspired each song.
“He has like 25 songs where you hear the first few notes, you know who it is. You know the song,” he said.
Over the years, Commentucci has entertained countless local Sinatra lovers, headlining shows at La Cena Restaurant in Bensalem and De Lorenzo’s in Yardley. On a regular basis, he also travels to Riviera Maya, Cancun and Punta Cana, where he performs at various resorts. In addition, he’s often hired to sing at private anniversary, birthday or corporate parties, charitable events and senior homes.
Earlier this summer, Commentucci briefly transitioned from the spotlight of the stage to the realm of YouTube when he appeared as a guest on Healthy Lifestyle with Eraldo. Donning his signature blue suit and red tie, Joey C was interviewed by host and personal trainer Eraldo Maglara and Kathy Wakile of The Real Housewives of New Jersey about his fitness regime, which involves basic cardio exercises at the gym each day.
Every month or so, Joey C is also invited to perform on The Patti Lattanzi, Billy Carlucci & the Gang Show, which airs on Thursdays at 7 p.m. on the New Jersey-based Crusin’ 92.1.
For Commentucci, singing the hits of Sinatra, whether it’s at a restaurant or on the radio, never gets old. It’s this passion for the music that continues to draw crowds after so many years, and introduce younger generations, including his children and grandchildren, to the iconic artist.
“His songs really resonated in my heart and when I perform, I just get lost in the music and the audience. The audience is responding to what I’m doing. It’s the best feeling in the world for me,” he said. “This is a love for me. It’s something I enjoy doing from the bottom of my heart. Singing is like breathing to me.”
Currently, Joey C is in the process of scheduling a Christmas show, which is slated to include holiday hits made famous by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole and Bon Jovi. While he plans to keep singing at local dining venues, he dreams of one day performing at casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
Keep up with Commentucci at joeycsinatra.com. ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org