No, on “Catch a Falling Star” Perry Como is not referring to literally catching meteorites and holding onto them. Rather there is a long-standing folk belief, dating back to who knows when, that views beholding shooting stars as being good luck. And it is upon that idea that this song is set.
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And that is not to imply that Perry Como had a childish mind or anything like that. In the 21st century, a song like this would be considered more like a kids’ tune. But back during the more-sanitized mid-20th century during which it was released, “Catch a Falling Star” was actually a standard pop song, with the accolades to prove it.
But that noted, what Perry Como is fundamentally saying isn’t fantastical. Indeed looking underneath all of the colorful language, it would appear that what he is actually doing is espousing a positive way of thinking. And this is not only in the name of counteracting the inevitable depressions of life but also just in case one may randomly cross paths with his or her soulmate. You wouldn’t want to meet the man or woman of your dreams without a “pocketful of starlight” in tow, i.e. be so caught in the everyday BS that you’re too gloomy to capitalize on the opportunity.
So overall we would say the entire innocent, if you will, sentiment behind this song is in fact indicative of the era in which it was released. “Catch a Falling Star” is like a 1950s’ version of Pharrell’s “Happy“. And what the narrator is saying is something like once you find a little bit of happiness do your best to hold onto it, sort of like putting bliss in your pocket instead of money.
Who wrote “Catch a Falling Star”?
The writers of this song are a couple of Brooklynites named Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss (1924-2011). And yes, as of the writing of this post in 2021, Paul Vance is still alive at the ripe old age of 91.
“Catch a Falling Star” holds the distinction of being the first single which the Recording Industry Association of America (aka RIAA) had ever certified gold. And for the record, that event transpired specifically on the date of 14 March 1958.
Moreover, prior to the disco era achieving that certification meant that the song sold in excess of 1,000,000 copies. (Though to note, there were songs that sold that many copies even prior to “Catch a Falling Star”.)
“Catch a Falling Star” also topped an old school Billboard list known as the Most Played by Jockeys chart. And it respectively peaked at numbers 3 and 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart.
Also add to the achievements of this song is it earning Perry Como a 1959 Grammy Award in the category of Best Vocal Performance, Male.
In addition to the above, it also received nominations for both “Song” and “Record” of the year awards at the Grammys of 1959. It however, lost both categories to Domenico Modugno’s “Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)”.
“Catch a Falling Star” came out during 1957. Apparently it wasn’t directly associated with any album at the time, though it did have a B-side, another Perry Como hit named “Magic Moments”.
Perry Como (1912-2001) was not only a singer but also actor and TV personality by profession. He hailed from the state of Pennsylvania – an area called Canonsburg to be exact – and traced his parentage back to Italy. As far as his music career went, Perry spent almost 50 years signed to the same label, that being RCA Victor.
In fact this was the only label he ever recorded for and as such is the one responsible for “Catch a Falling Star”. And overall, even though he’s not a name we commonly come across these days, he was one of the most renowned entertainers, both on radio and television, during his day.