Update 06/08/09: The link is fixed
I have just found a link to a brief essay on Mario Lanza's contribution to the expansion of the image of the brash male singer, and also to that of the singing leading man in Hollywood. It's called "Lanza and the Crooner's Coffin" by Lonnie Barone.
Barone argues that since the invention of the microphone, popular singers with an "intimate sound," singers like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Vic Damone, became the standard for male singers to the exclusion of any guy who wasn't a "skinny, sweet-voiced boy with tussled hair and a spoonful of sugar in every note."
And then came Lanza in the late 1940s, chewing up scenery and singing loud. This was the beginning of the era of Gene Kelly and Marlon"Hey Stella" Brando, actors known for their rough, I'm-gonna-kiss-ya-honey masculinity.
Barone even claims that Lanza paved the way for Elvis!
Read the essay and tell me what you think.