By Sarah Freedman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – In 1953, Dean Martin sang about the moon hitting “your eye like a big pizza pie.” Through Frank DeSimone, better known as Frank E. Dee to his listeners, music fans can still get what he calls “a little slice of heaven.”
Since February of 2004, DeSimone has broadcast GMMY radio from his home in Costa Mesa, Cal. GMMY stands for “Golden Music Memories of Yesteryear” and is a worldwide Internet radio station in which he streams the music of the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, featuring big band leaders and crooners like Martin, Al Martino, Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller, Doris Day and Jerry Vale.
DeSimone, a former Hudson resident for 16 years, recently contributed a chapter to author Richard Grudens” book “Perfect Harmony: Singing Groups of the 20th Century,” highlighting the career of the Ames Brothers. Combining his love of music and writing, the chapter marked the fourth time he has written with Grudens. He contributed to Grudens” other books, “Mr. Rhythm: A Tribute to Frankie Laine,” “Star Dust: The Bible of the Big Bands” and “Sinatra Singing.”
DeSimone said Grudens contacted him through his GMMY radio site, www.gmmy.com, about writing for the book, which is about the music of the Andrews Sisters, Beach Boys, Weavers and Supremes.
When Grudens writes about musicians, the focus is their music and not their personal lives. DeSimone added, “I believe that's the way to go.”
Grudens, who lives in St. James, N.Y. added, “My books reflect [DeSimone's] quest to keep the quality music of the 30s, 40s and beyond, and he does just that through his wonderful Internet radio show.”
“The music was mostly wonderful, hummable and can fill you with joy,” Grudens said.
Like Grudens, DeSimone has written about music and radio personalities for years.
He said, “I like writing about people's lives.”
DeSimone praised Grudens” work in chronicling the music of the big band era and classic crooners. He noted, “It's a beautiful thing. It's educational.”
DeSimone lived in Hudson from 1960 to 1977, a time during which he was one of the advertising managers and a part-time columnist for the “Hudson News-Enterprise,” a newspaper owned and published by Earle W. Tuttle.
He called Hudson a great place to live, adding, “I loved Hudson.”
He said Tuttle taught him about the newspaper business and meeting deadline.
“He was the one who taught me how to type,” DeSimone said.
DeSimone interviewed “a lot of the stars,” including singers like Don Cornell, a favorite of his. He met his idol while covering an event at the Bronx Lounge in Marlborough. He was trying to take photographs, but the area around the stage was crowded. Cornell stopped in the middle of his song and told everyone to “let that kid through.” At first, DeSimone had no idea he was talking about him.
Cornell let him come on stage and said, “Take all the pictures you want.”
DeSimone, who was saddened by Cornell's death in 2004, added, “That was one I never forgot.”
On the GMMY website, he recalled, “It was a Friday night, and there were lines waiting to hear Don display the same magical voice delivery and charm that made him famous. His voice was superb. He sang with great ease, poise and held his audience's attention.”
DeSimone's job with the Hudson News-Enterprise segued into radio work. In the late 70s, he collaborated with Boston DJ and radio great Bill Marlowe of the now-defunct 1330 WHET-AM station.
With Tuttle's support, he hosted the Frank E. Dee Show from 1976 to 1978.
“That's a hell of a boss,” DeSimone added.
Following Marlowe's passing in 1996, he wrote on the GMMY website: “Bill Marlowe became my radio mentor, my teacher.”
Today, DeSimone is still in the radio business. The GMMY station boasts nine DJs and personalities from the United States, England and Italy, who are like family. He noted GMMY's accessibility: “Anybody who's got a computer can listen to GMMY radio.”
Although his goal is to “create the entertainment of my era,” DeSimone loves what he's doing and has fun. He added, laughing, “You can's beat that.”
DeSimone attributes a higher source for the many interesting directions his life has taken: “I think God takes you different roads.”
Grudens said of DeSimone, “Frank has an uncanny sense of belief in everything he does. He is a generous, caring person who simply loves the music.”
As always, it is about the music. Whether DeSimone is playing it or writing about it, the music of his generation remains close to his heart.