Those of you who aren’t aware of Wayne Newton’s status as a heavy hitter in Vegas entertainment obviously haven’t looked out of your cab when you leave McCarran Airport, because you’re traveling on Wayne Newton Boulevard. Such is Wayne’s status is the town, as one of the few remaining marquee name variety performers...the type of performer that’s not ashamed to admit he’s there to entertain you, no matter what it takes.
Is he the Midnight Idol or just the King of Vegas Schmaltz? It doesn’t seem to matter to Wayne, because he’s not above poking fun at his own image. From film cameos in Vegas Vacation to the upcoming Ocean’s Eleven, if it’s about Las Vegas, then it’s about Wayne. And now with a long term deal with the Stardust Hotel, playing in the new Wayne Newton Theatre, you can bet Wayne will be around for a long time to come.
Wayne was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1942 and began singing professionally at age 6. When the family moved to Phoenix, he formed a singing duo with his brother Jerry. While still in their pre-teens, they were featured on a local TV show, and then Jackie Gleason’s national TV show. Around that same time, Wayne was noticed by Bobby Darin at a New York nightclub. Bobby decided to take the young singer under his wing, this time as a solo act. The first few releases at Capitol charted well, but in 1963 Bobby was given an up-tempo swinging number written in the Darin style. Bobby was too busy with his publishing business at the time, so he gave it to Wayne. The song “Danke Schoen” was a big hit for Wayne and still one of his signature numbers.