Louis P. Picciano, who was better known by his stage name, Lew Picardi, started singing in grammar school and was an immediate “sensation,” his son William Picciano said at a wake held at Hess-Miller Funeral Home on Metropolitan Avenue on Monday, October 24.
While serving in the Korean conflict as an airborne paratrooper, Picardi later became a staff sergeant for the Officer's Club, which he sang for in addition to his work duties.
He became friends with a man named Sydney Kauffman, who went on to play first violin for the Boston Philharmonic, and the two put together a band. The band played gigs at bases and clubs and eventually became very popular, Picciano said.
When Picardi returned to Maspeth from about six years of service in the United States military, the two went to the city in search of music work, playing weddings and other gigs.
“Anything to support their families,” Picciano said.
A lesser-known fact, Picciano said, about his father is that he was good friends with a musician named Victor Tylerico and his son Steve Tylerico, now known as Steve Tyler - the foreman of Aerosmith.
The Piccianos spent summers at the Tylerico's home in New Hampshire, and the two generations of men played weddings, parties and other gigs together.
Picciano, who recently retired from IBM and now works as a telecommunications engineer in addition to his own music playing, said it was fun growing up with a professional musician for a father.
“It was great because I worked with him,” Picciano said.
When the elder Tylerico passed away, Picardi remained close with Steve Tyler, but expanded his music career, Picciano said. He went into music recording and production, producing the first copy of “You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” which became a Dean Martin Hit.
Picardi also worked on Wall Street, most recently doing back office work for the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, which he retired from in the mid-90s.
In addition to being the leader of the 17-piece 1940s-style big band The Lew Picardi Orchestra, Picciano described his father as a family man.
“He really put family before everything else,” Picciano said fondly. “He had a lot of opportunities, but because he had a son and a wife, he made that his priority.”
Picardi was laid to rest on Tuesday, October 25, at the Saint Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island.