When the Wayne comes

If you don’t love Wayne Newton, you don’t love America. Sure, Frank Sinatra might always be the chairman of the board, Dean Martin was the life of the party and Barry Manilow writes the songs, but Wayne Newton is “The Entertainer.”

The man they call “Mr. Las Vegas,” ne Carson Wayne Newton, has been a showbiz dynamo since he was a little guy. He was playing piano and steel guitar by the age of 6. By the time he was 20, he’d played the Grand Ole Opry, performed for Harry Truman and appeared many times on The Jackie Gleason Show — and he was just getting warmed up.

Newton made a mega-hit out of the tune “Danke Schoen,” and cemented his image as a chipmunk-cheeked towhead with a soaring falsetto. Over the years the voice would deepen, his hair would darken into a jet-black plume, and he would grow a world-famous mustache. Despite the aging, fans kept coming.

A less-than-scientific survey puts the number of people Newton has performed for at upward of 30 gazillion, and, night after night, music lovers hear him pour his heart into hits like “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” as if it were the first time he’d ever sung it. His passion for performing runs even deeper than his love of breeding Arabian horses, and that’s deep. That hard-pumping heart of his pushes one-quarter Cherokee and one-quarter Powhatan blood through his veins, making him one of the most successful Native American performers in history.

He’s also chairman of the USO celebrity circle and a Knight of Malta. When not globe-trotting, Newton’s most often found in Sin City, where he’s been enshrined as the prince of the desert, and still rocks the strip 40 weeks a year. Wayne doesn’t come to you; you go to see Wayne.

So it’s a rare treat to see him bring a little bit of glitter gulch magic to Southgate. Take out a loan, hock some jewelry, just do what it takes to see the man who proves that, sometimes, all that glitters really is gold.


7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16. Crystal Gardens, 16703 Fort St., Southgate; 734-285-2210.

Corey Hall is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]

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