Wednesday 17 February 2010

"If we stop to gaze upon a star, people talk about how bad we are"

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of the simply fantabulosa Gene Francis Alan Pitney, singer, songwriter, and one of those remarkable survivors of the melee that hit America when the British Invasion conquered the West in the early 60s, and indeed remained a cult icon for the British "cool" musical establishment for decades.

An out-and-out master of that certain "Wall of Sound" style, Mr Pitney wrote such classics as He's a Rebel for The Crystals, Today's Teardrops for Roy Orbison, Rubber Ball for Bobby Vee, and Hello Mary Lou for Ricky Nelson. His own masterpieces include The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and his poignant version of Bacharach & David's Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa. Of course we remember him more recently for his duet with Marc Almond on that superb reprise of his 1967 hit Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart - it became Gene's first UK number 1 in late January 1989, lasting four weeks at the top.

However it is with my favourite Gene Pitney number - and its (gay?) lyrics with which a whole generation of "small town boys" must have identified - that I say rest in peace to a musical genius, taken away from us too soon...

Gene Pitney on the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame

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