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."