Vale appeared on the charts
for the first time in 1953 with "You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart"
and had his greatest chart success with "You Don't Know Me," which peaked
at #14 on Billboard's Hot 100 in
1956. Among his other hits, across more than 50 albums, were "Two Purple
Shadows" and "Al Di La." His recording of "The
Star-Spangled Banner," featuring a 40-piece band and eight background
singers, was featured at sporting events for years, and he frequently appeared
at Yankees games to sing it live; the gold record he earned for it is on
display at the Baseball Hall of Fame. A longtime baseball fan, he owned the
Daytona Beach Admirals minor league team.
Vale sang the Late Night with David
Letterman anthem "It's a Late Night World" on the program's
eighth anniversary special in 1990, and appeared as himself in the Martin
Scorsese movies Goodfellas and Casino, as
well as on The Sopranos. His biography, Jerry Vale: A Singer's Life, was published in 2000. He and his wife Rita were married for more than
54 years, many of them spent in Palm Desert, California, where he died in his
sleep of natural causes on May 18, 2014. He was 83 years old. He is interred at
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cathedral City, right across the street from his
old friend and idol Frank Sinatra, who is buried at Desert Memorial Park.