Jimmy Roselli was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He had success with the song “Mala Femmena”, which sold over three million records in 1963. It never was an actual hit song for him, but is considered his signature song.
Jimmy Roselli had only one pop hit it was a remake of “There Must Be A Way”, a song previously recorded by Joni James. It reached number 93 pop (according to Billboard′s pop charts). “There Must Be A Way” was an easy-listening hit, reaching #13 in Billboard and #2 in Record World. The song was recorded in 1967.
He also had success with the song “All The Time” that same year. The song reached number 19 easy listening (according to Billboard’s easy listening charts). His third and last hit song was “Please Believe Me” in 1968. That song was number 31 easy listening (according to Billboard’s easy listening charts).
Those were his only U.S. hit singles, although his version of “When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New” twice appeared in the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at number 51 in 1983, and number 52 in 1987.
At the beginning of his career, with appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, with Jimmy Durante, and on the famous Copacabana, critics were calling him a ‘miracle'”.
As the New Yorker Magazine states, “guys were trying to put a stranglehold on him. He pushed them all away. Although he was in good terms with a number of mob chieftains, he claimed that he had “never done business with organized criminals”. Jimmy Roselli at times was relegated to selling his music out of the trunk of his car parked in Little Italy in Manhattan.
Jimmy Roselli is a favorite among Italian-Americans and his signature tune “Mala Femmina” is featured twice in Martin Scorsese’s early classic Mean Streets. Roselli sang in perfect Neapolitan dialect. Other Neapolitan songs recorded by Roselli include “Core ‘ngrato”, “Anema e core” and “Scapricciatiello”. Jerry Lewis said of him that “Roselli sings as an Italian should sing”.