Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gene Pitney, R. I. P.

Aw, man, not Gene Pitney. Here's a guy I never met who had a big influence on my life through his music. The first song by him that I remember hearing is "(I Wanna) Love my Life Away," a great hit back in the spring of 1961. Those were the days.

CNN.com - Gene Pitney found dead in hotel - Apr 5, 2006: "Pitney was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on February 17, 1941.

His 40-year career included hits such as 'It Hurts to Be in Love,' '(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance,' 'Every Breath I Take,' 'Town Without Pity,' 'Only Love Can Break a Heart' and the operatic 'I'm Gonna Be Strong.' His last U.S. hit was 'She's a Heartbreaker' in 1968.

Pitney was also a highly regarded songwriter -- he wrote the Crystals' No. 1 hit, 'He's a Rebel,' Rick Nelson's smash 'Hello Mary Lou' and Bobby Vee's 'Rubber Ball.' Some of his own hits, though -- 'Only Love,' 'Liberty Valance' and 'Tulsa' -- were written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

He was an early subject of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound -- Spector produced Pitney's version of Carole King and Gerry Goffin's 'Every Breath I Take' as well as the Crystals' 'He's a Rebel' -- and an early supporter of British bands such as the Rolling Stones."

4 comments:

Ivan G. said...

My God, this is devastating to hear. We've lost quite a few of the greats, but I truly thought Gene would be around forever.

Duane Swierczynski said...

Nobody does romantic desperation like Gene Pitney. I used to listen to his stuff a lot in my single days...

That said, I've always wanted to write a story about an angry tourist, and call it "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Travel."

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Yeah, I was sad to hear this. I still have the tape of his songs you made for me and I listen to it once in a while. I'll have to put it in the car tomorrow and give it another listen on the way to work.

The Stevo in H-Town said...

I wuzza 'bout 14-16 when that dude had his day. You get different opinions about his voice and a lotta folks put him in "the guilty pleasure" category...Either way, I bought every album he recorded and still think his singing style was pretty damned original..Tellya what...If you were goin' thru a break-up with a teenage girl at the time...Pitney could bringya to tears.....



Never hadda #1 Hit..."Only Love Can Break a Heart" reached #2....You guessed it!...Beat out by "He's A Rebel" by The Crystal's and written by......Pitney