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Gene Pitney

One of the most interesting and difficult-to-categorize singers in '60s pop, Gene Pitney had a long run of hits distinguished by his pained, one-of-a-kind melodramatic wail. Pitney is sometimes characterized (or dismissed) as a shallow teen idol-type prone to operatic ballads. It's true that some of his biggest hits -- "Town Without Pity," "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "I'm Gonna Be Strong," "It Hurts to Be in Love," and "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa" -- are archetypes of adolescent or just-post-adolescent agony, characterized by longing and not a little self-pity.

But Pitney was not just an archetype of his style -- he was one of the best at his style, and indeed one of the few (along with Roy Orbison) that could pull it off convincingly. Also (like Orbison), he had more range than he's generally given credit for, making forays into tough pop/rock, country, and even borderline rockabilly. Other than Dionne Warwick, he was the best interpreter of Bacharach-David's early compositions. Although he didn't pen much of his material, he was a composer of note, writing "He's a Rebel" for the Crystals, and "Hello Mary Lou" for Rick Nelson. He was also something of a closet hipster -- he was the first American artist to cover a Jagger-Richards song ("That Girl Belongs to Yesterday," which was a British hit before the Rolling Stones had ever entered the U.S. Top 100), contributed to an actual Rolling Stones session in early 1964 (during which they recorded "Not Fade Away"), had a brief fling with a teenage Marianne Faithfull, and recorded songs by Randy Newman and Al Kooper long before those musicians became famous.

Pitney broke into the music as a songwriter in his late teens, getting his first taste of success when Rick Nelson had a hit with "Hello Mary Lou" in 1961. That same year, Pitney had a small hit with his first single, "(I Wanna) Love My Life Away," a self-penned demo on which he sang and played every instrument -- an extraordinary feat for 1961. Another 1961 single, Goffin-King's "Every Breath I Take," was produced by Phil Spector, and is one of the very first examples of his pull-out-the-stops Wall of Sound productions. Pitney didn't really find his metier, however, until late-1961's "Town Without Pity," which became his first Top 20 entry.

For the next four years, Pitney was one of the most successful solo male vocalists in America, reeling off over a dozen more Top 40 hits. While lovelorn angst was his stock-in-trade, some of the singles were fairly innovative -- "Half Heaven, Half Heartache" and "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" were crossover country-pop before that term existed, "Mecca" was one of the few big pop/rock hits to bear the influence of Middle Eastern music (albeit in a superficial fashion), and "Last Chance to Turn Around" was a hard-boiled tough-luck tale worthy of a top-notch B-movie thriller.

Pitney withstood the initial onslaught of the British Invasion fairly well, scoring Top Ten hits in 1964 with "It Hurts to Be in Love" and "I'm Gonna Be Strong." By 1966, though, he was in serious trouble stateside. Ironically, by this time he was a much bigger star in Britain, making the U.K. Top Ten six times in 1965-1966. He could also depend on a faithful international audience throughout Europe, and frequently recorded in Italian and Spanish for overseas markets. In 1966, he became one of the first artists to reach success with Randy Newman compositions, taking "Nobody Needs Your Love" and "Just One Smile" into the British Top Ten.

Pitney entered the U.S. Top 20 one last time in 1968 with "She's a Heartbreaker," a rather forced updating of his trademark sound, and reached the Top 40 in Britain for the last time in 1974. Still, he remained a big concert draw on the overseas nostalgia circuit. In 1989, he made number one in the U.K. again by duetting with Marc Almond on a remake of one of his '60s singles, "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart." He died in April 2006, the night after a show in Cardiff, Wales. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Very Best Of Gene Pitney (Remastered)

1. Somewhere In The Country

3. Nobody Needs Your Love

4. Half Heaven Half Heartache

5. Just One Smile

6. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

7. It Hurts To Be In Love

8. True Love Never Runs Smooth

9. I'm Gonna Be Strong

10. Maria Elena

11. Backstage/I'm Lonely

12. Princess In Rags

13. Shady Lady

14. Town Without Pity

15. Only Love Can Break A Heart

17. Last Chance To Turn Around

18. I Must Be Seeing Things

19. Mecca

21. Yours Until Tomorrow

22. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday

23. I Wanna/Love My Life Away

24. (The Man Who) Shot Liberty Valance

x

Track List: The Extended Play Collection

1. A Town Without Pity

2. (I Wanna) Love My Life Away

3. Only Love Can Break A Heart

4. Every Breath I Take

x

Track List: Greatest Hits of All Time

1. Town Without Pity

2. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

3. Only Love Can Break a Heart

4. Every Breath I Take

5. Looking Through the Eyes of Love

6. I Must Be Seeing Things

7. Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa

8. It Hurts to Be In Love

9. Backstage

10. Half Heaven – Half Heartache

11. I'm Gonna Be Strong

12. Last Chance to Turn Around

x

Track List: Italiano

1. A poche ore da te (Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa)

2. Citta spietata (Town Without Pity)

3. Un soldino (If I Didn't Have a Dime)

4. Ritorna (Half Heaven – Half Heartache)

5. Resta sempre accanto a me (True Love Never Runs Smooth)

6. E se domani (If Tomorrow)

7. Che sara di me (What Will Happen to Me)

8. Quando vedrai la mia ragazza (When You See My Girl)

9. E quando viene la notte (Come the Night)

10. Non lasciamoci (Only Love Can Break a Heart)

11. Foglie morte (Autumn Leaves)

12. Vorrei capire perche (Tell Me Why)

x

Track List: Espanol - Famous Hits Recorded In Spanish

1. A La Luna He Pedido Tu Amor (Mr. Moon, Mr. Cupid & I)

2. Dile Que Vuelva (Tell Her To Come Back)

3. Mecca (Mecca)

4. Quiero Amor (I Wanna Love My Life Away)

5. Me Voy Para El Campo (Last Chance To Turn Around)

6. Mucho He De Llorar (I'm Gonna Be Strong)

7. Lagrimas Y Mas Sufrir (Half The Laughter, Twice The Tears)

8. 24 Horas De Tulsa (24 Hours From Tulsa)

9. Si No Tuviera Dinero (If I Didn't Have A Dime)

10. La Gloria Y El Sufrimento (Half Heaven Half Heartache)

11. Hojas Muertas (Autumn Leaves)

12. Sol El Amor (Only Love Can Break A Heart)

x

Track List: Only Love Can Break A Heart

1. True Love Never Runs Smooth

2. Cry Your Eyes Out

3. Only Love Can Break A Heart

4. Donna Means Heartbreak

5. I Should Try To Forget

6. My Heart, Your Heart

7. Half Heaven, Half Heartache

8. Tower-Tall

9. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valence

10. Little Betty Falling Star

11. If I Didn't Have A Dime

12. Going To Church On Sunday

x

Track List: The Gene Pitney Story

1. Town Without Pity

2. (I Wanna) Love My Life Away

3. Tower-Tall

4. Angelique

5. Just One Smile

6. Blue Gene

7. The Boss's Daughter

8. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valence

9. E Se Domani (If Tomorrow)

10. Backstage

11. 24 Sycamore Street

12. Country Dancing

13. Flower Girl

14. Sweet Kentucky Rose

15. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart

16. Never Had No Toys

17. Playing Games Of Love

18. Where Did The Magic Go

19. That's What Sends Men To The Bowery

20. I Can't Make It Without You

x

Track List: Golden Greats

1. Bus Stop

2. Stop! In the Name of Love

3. Cara Mia

4. Baby I Need Your Lovin'

5. A Groovy Kind of Love

6. Green Green Grass of Home

7. Count Me In

8. (You've Lost) That Lovin' Feelin'

9. Time Won't Let Me

10. Cryin'

11. Mission Bell

x

Track List: Backstage (I'm Lonely)

1. Blue Color (Original Musicor Recording)

2. Angelique (Original Musicor Recording)

3. River Street (Original Musicor Recording)

4. Eyes Talk (Original Musicor Recording)

5. No Matter What You Do (Original Musicor Recording)

6. California (Original Musicor Recording)

7. Backstage (Original Musicor Recording)

8. Conquistador (Original Musicor Recording)

9. Turn Around (Original Musicor Recording)

10. Dream World (Original Musicor Recording)

11. Flamingo (Original Musicor Recording)

12. Nobody Needs Your Love (More Than I Do) (Original Musicor Recording)

x

Track List: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

1. Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa

2. There's No Living Without Your Loving

3. Last Chance To Turn Around

4. Lonely Drifter

5. In Love Again

6. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

7. Run, Run, Roadrunner

8. Down In The Subway

9. (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days

10. Born To Lose

x

Track List: Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

1. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

2. Maria

3. Close To My Heart

4. More

5. On The Street Where You Live

6. All The Way

7. Tonight

8. Misty

9. Unchained Melody

10. Rags To Riches

11. Anywhere I Wander

12. As Long As She Needs Me

x

Track List: Blue Gene

1. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

2. Autumn Leaves

3. Half The Laughter, Twice The Tears

4. I'll Be Seeing You

5. Lonely Night Dreams

6. Answer Me My Love

7. Blue Gene

8. Yesterday's Hero

9. Maybe You'll Be There

10. Keep Tellin' Yourself

11. I Can't Run Away

12. House Without Windows

x

Track List: Only Love Can Break A Heart (2009)

1. Only Love Can Break A Heart

2. I Can’t Run Away

3. It Hurts To Be In Love

4. Marianne

5. If I Never Get To You

6. More

7. As Long As She Needs Me

8. Anywhere I Wander

9. Princess In Rags (2009)

10. All The Way

x

Track List: Sings Just For You

1. Teardrop By Teardrop

2. Mecca

3. Cornflower Blue

4. Not Responsible

5. Angels Got Together

6. Don't Let The Neighbors Know

7. Ship True Love Goodbye

8. House Without Windows

9. Aladdin's Lamp

10. Time And The River

11. Peanuts, Popcorn & Crackerjacks

12. Tell The Moon To Go To Sleep

x

Track List: Young And Warm And Wonderful

1. Young & Warm & Wonderful

2. Golden Earrings

3. Seranade Of The Bells

4. Where Is Your Heart

5. Silver Bracelets

6. On A Slow Boat To China

7. Far Away Places

8. Hey There

9. South Of The Border

10. Till The End Of Time

11. I'll Be Seeing You

12. Two Sleepy People

x

Track List: She's A Heartbreaker

1. She’s A Heartbreaker

2. Hate

3. (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days

4. Run, Run, Roadrunner

5. Small Town, Bring Down

6. Yours Until Tomorrow

7. Somewhere In The Country

8. Love Grows

9. Heaven Held

10. If I Only Had Time

x

Track List: Big Sixteen Volume 2

1. It Hurts To Be In Love

2. Oh Annie Oh

3. Today's Teardrops

4. Fool Killer

5. Laurie

6. Hawaii

7. Little Betty Falling Star

8. Brandy Is My True Love's Name

9. I'm Gonna Be Strong

10. Hello Mary Lou

11. I Love You More Today

12. Half The Laughter, Twice The Tears

13. Lyda Sue, Wha'dya Do?

14. If I Didn't Have A Dime (To Play The Jukebox)

15. Every Breath I Take

16. I Laughed So Hard I Cried

x

Track List: Singing The Platters' Golden Platters

1. The Great Pretender

2. Twilight Time

3. Harbor Lights

4. I’m Sorry

5. The Magic Touch

6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

7. Heaven On Earth

8. Only You

9. One In A Million

10. My Prayer

x

Track List: Pitney Sings Bacharach

1. Baton Rouge Or Frisco

2. If I Never Get To Love You

3. True Love Never Runs Smooth

4. Little Betty Falling Star

5. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

6. Somewhere In The Country

7. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

8. Fool Killer

9. Only Love Can Break A Heart

10. Donna Means Heartbreak

x

Track List: Super Star

1. She Lets Her Hair Down (Early In The Morning)

2. Shady Lady

3. A Street Called Hope

4. Think Of Us

5. I Remember

6. Playing Games Of Love

7. California (Californie)

8. All The Young Women

9. Maria Elena (I’m Going Away To War)

10. The French Horn

x

Track List: It Hurts To Be In Love And 11 More Hits Songs

1. I'm Gonna Be Strong

2. Walk

3. I Love You More Today

4. Who Needs It

5. Follow The Sun

6. Lips Were Redder On You

7. It Hurts To Be In Love

8. The Last Two People On Earth

9. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday

10. E Se Domani

11. Hawaii

12. I'm Gonna Find Myself A Girl

x

Track List: Big Sixteen Volume 3

1. Rags To Riches

2. Born To Lose

3. Last Chance To Turn Around

4. Amor Mio

5. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

6. Remind My Baby Of Me

7. I Can’t Stop Loving You

8. I’m Afraid To Go Home

9. Stay

10. On The Street Where You Live

11. There’s No Livin’ Without Your Lovin'

12. Princess In Rags

13. Unchained Melody

14. Close To My Heart

15. I Really Don’t Want To Know

16. All The Way

x

Track List: The Many Sides Of

1. Town Without Pity

2. I Wanna Love My Life Away

3. I Laughed So Hard I Cried

4. Dream For Sale

5. Twenty Two Days

6. Today's Teardrops

7. Hello Mary Lou

8. Take Me Tonight

9. Harmony

10. A Greater Love

11. Every Breath I Take

12. Sure Fire Bet

13. Chance To Belong

x

Track List: Nessuno Mi Puo Giudicare

1. Nessuno Mi Puo Giudicare

2. Con Te Verso L'amore

3. Innamorata

4. Amici Miei (My Friends)

5. Le Ragazze Come Te

6. I'm Gonna Be Strong

7. Lei Mi Aspetta

8. Verro

9. La Spia

10. I Tuoi Anni Piu Belli

11. Non Tornare Piu

12. A Nome Mio

x

Track List: Just One Smile

1. Just One Smile

2. The Boss’s Daughter

3. Leave My Laurie Alone

4. Losing Control

5. (In The) Cold Light Of Day

6. Lonely Drifter

7. The Comedian

8. Rising Tide Of Love

9. Another Page

10. In Love Again

11. She Believes In Me

12. Ask Me How Much I Love You

x

Track List: I Must Be Seeing Things

1. I Must Be Seeing Things

2. Marianne

3. Save Your Love

4. Down In The Subway

5. If Mary's There

6. Don't Take Candy From A Stranger

7. One Day

8. She's Still There

9. Just One Smile

10. There's No Livin' Without Your Lovin'

11. I Lost Tomorrow (Yesterday)

12. If I Never Get To Love You

x

Track List: 18 All-Time Greatest Hits

1. Only Love Can Break A Heart

2. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

3. It Hurts To Be In Love

4. Half Heaven - Half Heartache

5. Town Without Pity

6. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

7. Something's Gotten A Hold Of My Heart

8. Backstage

9. I'm Gonna Be Strong

10. Maria Elena

11. Mecca

12. She's A Heartbreaker

13. Last Chance To Turn Around

14. Shady Lady

15. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

16. True Love Never Runs Smooth

17. I Must Be Seeing Things

18. Unchained Melody

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Gene Pitney - I'm Gonna Be Strong

1. 24 Hours From Tulsa

2. I'm Gonna Be Strong

3. Only Love Can Break A Heart

4. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday

5. True Love Never Runs Smooth

6. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

7. It Hurts To Be In Love

8. Mecca

9. Half Heaven, Half Heartache

10. Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart

12. I Must Be Seeing Things

13. Backstage (I'm Lonely)

14. Nobody Needs Your Love More Than I Do

15. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

17. If I Didn't Have A Dime

18. Somewhere In The Country

19. Town Without Pity

20. Princess In Rags

21. Yesterday's Hero

22. Just One Smile

23. Maria Elena

24. Shady Lady

x

Track List: I'm Gonna Be Strong - The Hits And More

Disc 1

1. (I Wanna Love) My Life Away

2. Town Without Pity

3. Only Love Can Break A Heart

4. If I Didn't Have A Dime

5. Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa

6. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday

7. I'm Gonna Be Strong

8. I Must Be Seeing Things

10. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart

11. Hello Mary Lou

12. Somewhere In The Country

14. Unchained Melody

Disc 2

1. Every Breath I Take

2. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

3. Half Heaven, Half Heartache

4. Mecca

5. It Hurts To Be In Love

6. Last Chance To Turn Around

7. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

8. Princess In Rags

9. Backstage (I'm Lonely)

10. Just One Smile

11. She's A Heartbreaker

12. Nobody Needs Your Love (More Than I Do)

13. Maria Elena

14. Shady Lady

Disc 3

1. True Love Never Runs Smooth

2. Yesterday's Hero

3. Billy You're My Friend

4. Yours Until Tomorrow

5. She Lets Her Hair Down (Early In The Morning)

6. A Street Called Hope

9. Donna Means Heartbreak

10. The Fool Killer

11. Little Betty Falling Star

14. Louisiana Mama

x

Track List: 25 All-Time Greatest Hits

1. (I Wanna) Love My Life Away

2. Every Breath I Take

3. Town Without Pity

4. Hello Mary Lou

5. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

6. Only Love Can Break A Heart

7. If I Didn't Have A Dime (To Play The Jukebox)

8. Half Heaven - Half Heartache

9. Mecca

10. True Love Never Runs Smooth

11. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

12. That Girl Belongs To Yesterday

13. It Hurts To Be In Love

15. I'm Gonna Be Strong

16. I Must Be Seeing Things

17. Last Chance To Turn Around

18. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love

19. Princess In Rags

20. Backstage (I'm Lonely)

21. Nobody Needs Your Love

22. Just One Smile

23. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart

24. She's A Heartbreaker

25. Yours Until Tomorrow

x

Track List: Young And Warm And Wonderful (Deluxe)

1. Young, Warm And Wonderful

2. Golden Earrings

4. Where Is Your Heart

5. Silver Bracelets

6. On A Slow Boat To China

7. Far Away Places

8. Hey There

9. South Of The Border

10. Till The End Of Time

11. I'll Be Seeing You

12. Two Sleepy People

13. Just One Smile

14. Where Did The Magic Go?

15. Leave My Laurie Alone

16. Losing Control

17. (In The) Cold Light Of Day

18. Lonely Drifter

19. The Comedian

20. The Rising Tide Of Love

22. Another Page

23. In Love Again

24. She Believes In Me

25. Ask Me How Much I Love You

26. The Boss's Daughter

27. Flower Girl

x

Track List: The Country Side Of Gene Pitney

1. For Me This Is Happy

2. I'm Gonna Listen To Me

3. She Thinks I Still Care

4. I'm Up To My Neck In I.O.U.'S

5. More I Saw Of Her (The Blinder I Became)

6. A Thousand Arms (Five Hundred Hearts)

7. Drinking From The Well Of Your Love

8. Life To Go

9. I'd Like To See Me Stop You

10. Won't Take Long

Comments

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Great voice.
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Just love that guy,

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I fell in love with Gene Pitney when I was 16 in 1966 ,I got my first record player the 33 album I bought was Gene Pitney
the , I have never stopped loving him. .his voice still drives me crazy. . Thank you Pandora .I get to enjoy him over and over every day. .and it takes me back
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Love his voice!
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Gene Pitney great voice. Only love can ment a broken heart
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love Gene Pitney!
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Gene Pitney was truly a class act! Only love can break a heart a classic
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Nothing brings me back like Just One Smile--a real heartbreaker
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One of the best
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First class talent.
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I have always love Gene Pitney music.
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Refreshing
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alnavarijo
Oooh yes ! Pandora has allowed us old geezers to reach the end of the line in a happy state , singers like Pitney , Orbison & literally hundreds of others made the late 50s & early 60s some of the best times to be a pimple face teen . Ha ! Eat your hearts out you other generations that missed out on the best times for great music .
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I can't get enough of Gene Pitney's voice and songs!
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My Veteran mother played one of five albums every night and this is one of them. I know the songs by heart and the clicks of each album dropping. It was his songs and Orbison that got me to play a guitar and write which I have done in many years. Thank you Panadora and the families of great artists.
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four seasons, frankie valli
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under rated, but still a class act.
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mike3345mike
Just made Gene Pitney radio!!
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mike3345mike
I would listen to WLS and WOKY years ago..are they still kicking the hits out?
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Still listening MOM!!!!!
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Nice
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I discovered him in 1985 and became a big fan. Then two years later I had the pleasure of seeing perform live.
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" The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence ", is a perfect ballad & I have looked everywhere to find that song! Mr Pitney you did a superior job! RIP Mr Pitney...
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Gene Pitney...sin g e r w/ class, sang songs w/ class; from my teenage years to now, and forever. FHS 68
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Remember, my MOM listening to This.
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The greatest Gene Pitney song!Absolut e l y have loved this song my entire life. It is also a true gunfighter ballad. Mr Pitney should have pursued country music on an exclusive basis. He had not only a wonderful voice but he too had the knack for storytelling !
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What a great but unique voice.
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This time we're really breaking up, Only love can break a heart, and Crying....So m e of my best days!
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dshapera
Gene Pitney was a great singer and song writer. He was well known for being a regular guy. RIP, Gene
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GENE PITNEY he was a clean-cut guy
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He's been my favorite since I was a little kid. Saw him in concert twice and it was fabulous! He even sang to me. Sigh...
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Man, this guy had such a voice!! I love him !!
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R.I.P. Gene
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chargary, the rink I believe was known as the Blue Lantern, correct me if I'm wrong. FHS 64
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As a teen in the early 60's no other artist created more passion and pleasure on the dance floor than Gene's music. Some of the greatest memories of my youth.
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Saw him in the early 60's at a place called "the rink" on Island Lake in Brighton, Michigan. I was hooked, one if the greats...
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mpbrown168
One of my very favorites ever. Listen to his music often. Can still remember seeing him singing I'm Gonna Be Strong on the Ed Sullivan show in black & white. I was blown away at his voice and the way he could hold that note at the very end. Thought he never got the recognition he deserved. Never got to see him perform. Was sorry to hear of his death. Another of our greats gone.
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What a powerful voice. Don't hear Gene much on the radio at all these days. That's a shame, what a talent!
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alluwant656
FORTUNATE 2 HAVE THE OPPORUNITY 2 C Gene IN CONCERT IN THE 1990'S.I am familiar with all his songs & lyrics a true musical genius
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How about my favorite " Green green grass of home - best regards to wife and son
From roger canaan maine now la ca
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Loved Gene Pitney from the start. I still listen to his music. I was so sad to hear of is passing. I don't think any other singer could match his voice and range.
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What a GREAT singer, I saw him perform at the Red Rooster in Greensburg, Pa. when I was in my teens. It was a dance club for teenagers. He was so great, I still ave a lot of his 45's. There will never be anyone like him, just like Roy Orbison. They are all in heaven singing to everyone. Miss them all. Too bad they don't have any dance lands for teens today, that would be better than getting in trouble, if I ever hit the ottery I would build a place just for all of are teens!
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hey 'Luke...are you thinking of 'Who Shot Liberty Valance' ??? and even though the song was the same, it never was actually in the movie...
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Watched the movie for this, with James Stewart.
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I loved him, thought he was an awesome vocalist. Town without pity was favorite.
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Listening to Looking thru the Eyes of Love...my favorite Pitney song.
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was kid back in the early 60's when i first heard Pitney, liked him then, like him now more than ever.
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lorifingerpo p p i n
One of my very favorites . Carry him with me in my heart
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torgo76
Gene Pitney had such a unique sound. No one could sing quite like him; his voice is instantly recognizable . He left us too soon :(
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kpccox
I don't think his music grows outdated. Good music lasts a long time.
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