Gene Pitney Birthday

On February 17, 1940, Gene Francis Alan Pitney, better known as Gene Pitney, was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Clyde McPhatter, Moon Mullican, and the Crows, were some of his first musical influences. During his high school years, Pitney formed his first group, Gene & the Genials. Then he was part of  The Embers, band dedicated to Doo Wop, genre that Pitney loved. He was part of the duo Jamie and Jane with Ginny Arnell (in 1963 he recorded the hit Dumb Head).

In 1961 he signed with the musicor label of composer Aaron Schroeder and his first single, (I Wanna) Love My Life Away, entered directly into the Top 40. In addition to composing and singing Pitney played several instruments in the recording and even made his own choirs . That same year he got with the song Town Without Pity, the main theme of the 1961 film of the same title played by Kirk Douglas for United Artists, the 20th place in the charts. Written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, the song won a Golden Globe aware and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, an award it didn’t get and which won the Moon River theme composed by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini. Pitney performed the song at the Oscar ceremony on April 9, 1962. His musical successes continued in 1962, the song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance, reached number 4 in 1962. Although he shares a title with western John Wayne, the song was not used in the film due to an editorial dispute. That same year, Only Love Can Break a Heart became successful in the United States, it was ranked number 2 on the American charts, followed in December by Half Heaven, Half Heartache, which reached number 12 on the Billboard. Pitney maintained a close relationship with The Rolling Stones, along with Phil Spector, was present in the first sessions of the British debut album, and even played the piano on some subject. In 1964 he recorded the song, composed by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, That girl Belongs To Yesterday, which reached number 7 on the UK charts. In 1965 he recorded two excellent lp’s with country singer George Jones, very successful albums and rewarded by different specialized magazines. Among his compositions, for other performers, are such important topics as:  Hello Mary LouToday’s TeardropsHe’s A RebelBlue Heartaches, Dark, Dark Sunglasses, LonelinessSure Fire Bet, Blue Heartaches, Tomorrow Is A Comin‘, etc… Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Clide McPhather, The Kalin Twins, The Crystals, Tommy Edwards, The Kittens, are some of the artists for whom he composed pitney, the list is very long, almost always reaping great successes. On April 5, 2006 he died in Wales, during a tour of the United Kingdom, because of a heart attack.



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