Pietro Como and his wife Lucia emigrated to a small town outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Abruzzese, Italy in 1910. They had thirteen children, and the first one born in the U.S. was Pierino Ronald, nickamed 'Perry.' Papa Como worked in a steel mill, but he had a fine baratone voice and he insisted that all of his children learn music. Perry played the little organ at home by ear, and learned to play trumbone and guitar also. At the age of ten he started working in a nearby barber shop, and by the age of 14 the barber allowed him to start cutting hair, but he had to stand on a box to get high enough to do the job. Perry liked being a barber so much that at the age of 17 he left Steve Fragapane's barber shop and started his own barber shop, with the passion of being the best barber in Cannonsburg. He enjoyed his work so much that he usually sang songs while cutting hair. In 1932, when Perry Como was 20, he took his young wife to Meadville, Pennsylvania where his uncle had a barber shop in a local hotel. There wasn't much to do in the way of evening entertainment in 1932 Meadville, and one weekend Como, his wife and some friends made the trip into Ohio to Cleveland where they went to the Silver Slipper ballroom to hear Freddy Carlone and his orchestra. During the evening Freddy Carlone asked if anyone in the audience wanted to come up on stage and sing with the orchestra. A nervous Perry Como was pushed onto stage by his wife and friends, and after his song Freddy Carlone immediately asked him if he would join their orchestra as their vocalist. Thus started his legendary singing career that would last for the rest of his life.