It takes talent
to reach the pinnacle of success in international show business
and stay firmly entrenched at the top for over thirty-five
years -- outstanding talent!
PITNEY is a talented guy. Not only is he a musician of rare
versatility and a singer of great range and perception, he is
a supreme professional at his chosen craft of entertaining.
In addition, GENE is also a prolific songwriter with
a string of million-selling international hits to his credit.
first breaking through to outstanding acclaim at the same time
the BEATLES were beginning to make waves internationally,
GENE PITNEY has continued to travel the world delighting
audiences year after year.
PITNEY'S unique voice and presentation has ensured that
songs like TWENTY
FOUR HOURS FROM TULSA,
GONNA BE STRONG,
THROUGH THE EYES OF LOVE
still sound fresh, vibrant, and relevant in the new millennium.
In a career spanning thirty years, during which he has worked
with artists ranging from THE ROLLING STONES to BURT
BACHARACH and PHIL SPECTOR, GENE PITNEY has
maintained an appeal which has encompassed every spectrum of
the record-buying public. In 1990, he found success in an entirely
new contemporary market with his worldwide number one duet,
GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART.
the single gave GENE his first number one hit in the
UK (his 1967 original version of SOMETHING'S...
only hit number five on the British charts). The duo of GENE
PITNEY, dressed in an immaculate white tuxedo, and MARC
ALMOND, in black leather, was tagged as "The Odd Couple," which
may have made for a perfect combination to help create one
of the biggest-selling single records of 1990.
the single gave GENE his first hit in several years,
he has always maintained an active touring profile performing
six months a year with sold-out tours throughout the world.
GENE enjoys a loyal, diverse fan base with an audience ranging
from 5 to 105 years old.
success of SOMETHING'S
GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART
resulted in a massive demand from the contemporary market for
GENE'S sixties hits. At the same time, older fans wanted
new recordings; a pleasant dilemma now being solved with GENE
returning to the studio which he built in his home in CONNECTICUT.
on February 17, 1941, and raised in the small New England village
of ROCKVILLE, CT, GENE initially did not have
any real ambitions to be a singer. He was more at home collecting
stamps and coins, trapping mink and muskrat, and experimenting
with electronics. However, he played in his own local band
called "GENE PITNEY & THE GENIALS." At this point, he
began to compose songs, gleaning inspiration from the beautiful
countryside of New England. An excellent student, GENE attended
WARDS ELECTRONICS SCHOOL where he began his study of electronic
engineering. Music would stop the electronics career but not
before GENE would gain an insight into how the technical
side of a recording studio worked.
spare time was devoted to music, but when his songwriting began
interfering with his electronics theory classes, he soon realized
that music was taking over his life. In 1959, he began singing
with a young girl named GINNY ARNELL and, shortly afterwards,
made his first single recording entitled CLASSICAL
ROCK & ROLL.
On the B-side was a duet called STROLLIN' THROUGH THE PARK.
Says GENE, "We called ourselves 'JAMIE AND JANE.'
I knew, however, that I didn't want a professional career in
music with only a first name or as half of a duet, so I moved
on to record CRADLE OF MY ARMS the following year under the
name of 'BILLY BRYAN.' In fact, the record company wanted
to call me 'HOMER MUZZY.' Well, that was it. I wasn't
going to go through life with a name like that! I decided it
was time to start using my real name, GENE PITNEY!"
first success came when the KALIN TWINS recorded his
song, LONELINESS. "From that point," GENE says, "I decided
to concentrate on writing songs instead of singing them." It
was exactly the right move for GENE to make at that point
in his career; his songs were recorded by some of the biggest
stars of the time. STEVE LAWRENCE recorded TEARS FROM
HEAVEN, TOMMY EDWARDS covered BLUE
and BILLY BLAND cut HARMONY. In 1960, ROY ORBISON
as the B-side to his million-selling single, BLUE ANGEL, and
became a worldwide hit for US artist BOBBY VEE and UK
artist MARTY WILDE. They each went on to become MILLION-SELLERS!
in heavy demand as a songwriter, GENE soon realized that
he could sing his own songs just as well or better than the
artists who were recording them. In a small four-track studio
on 7th avenue in New York, he made a demo of a self-penned song
WANNA LOVE MY LIFE AWAY
for about THIRTY DOLLARS. Although it was created on
a shoestring budget, the record had a very big sound. GENE
experimented with multi-tracked vocals and overdubbing, used
his electronics experience to create a mini-masterpiece in record
production, and revolutionized recording techniques in the process.
GENE sang seven vocals on the recording and played PIANO,
GUITAR, and DRUMS to keep the session costs down!
thirty-dollar demo was released as a single and reached Number
39 in the US charts and hit Number 26 in Britain. Says GENE, "I had just turned 20 and suddenly I was doing every television
show, radio show, and record hop they could book me into. When
the hits started coming, I was recording and touring almost
simultaneously." At the same time, GENE'S composition
released by RICK NELSON, became a Top Five hit and sold
two million copies in America and Europe. HELLO
received a second BMI MILLIONAIRE AWARD in 1997 because
it had been performed over TWO MILLION TIMES in the US
scored his second hit with EVERY
BREATH I TAKE,
which was produced by PHIL SPECTOR. His first American
Top 20 hit and million-selling single was the title song from
a movie of the same name: TOWN
The song won the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD for "Best Song in
a Motion Picture" and was nominated for an OSCAR. GENE
at the Academy Awards in Hollywood. He was the first pop artist
invited to perform at the Academy Awards! It was an important
performance for GENE because it firmly established his
name throughout America.
film was initially a box office disaster," GENE says, "but after the success of the record, the film was re-released
and became a huge hit. That's the kind of power records had
in those days." Another movie theme, THE
MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE,
gave him an immediate follow-up hit, reaching Number 4 in the
US charts to register his second GOLD DISC. To this day,
it is one of GENE'S most requested songs in concert performances.
career began to skyrocket. One song after the next reached the
top of the charts: ONLY
LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART
(his third million seller), IF
I DIDN'T HAVE A DIME
(which was the B-side of ONLY
LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART
and made the US Top 100 on it's own merits), HALF
HEAVEN, HALF HEARTACHE,
LOVE NEVER RUNS SMOOTH,
HURTS TO BE IN LOVE.
and PHIL SPECTOR consolidated their mutual admiration
for each other's work in the summer of 1962 when SPECTOR'S group, "THE CRYSTALS," recorded
PITNEY song, HE'S
Within weeks of its release, the song stormed its way to the
top of the American Hit Parade, sold a million, and actually
deprived GENE of making the coveted Number 1 spot himself.
At the same time that HE'S
was at Number 1, Gene's single ONLY
LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART
sat at Number 2! HE'S
received a BMI MILLIONAIRE AWARD in 1998 for having surpassed
ONE MILLION AIRPLAYS in the US.
1963, Pitney had great success throughout the world with his
recording of TWENTY
FOUR HOURS FROM TULSA.
This song was the beachhead from which GENE PITNEY'S
fame spread rapidly. Before long, he had established his name
worldwide, developing huge followings in Italy, France, Germany,
Latin America, Mexico, Japan, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand,
and Canada. He maintained a simple but shrewd philosophy: If
a record breaks in any particular territory, then go there,
show yourself, meet people, and make as big an initial impact
as you possibly can. This has paid off time and time again!
Today, GENE PITNEY is one of the most traveled artists
in international show business, regularly doing concerts, cabaret,
and television appearances around the world. He has been faithful
to his maxim, and has enhanced his popularity in many countries
even further by re-recording many of his English speaking hits
in various native tongues.
FOUR HOURS FROM TULSA
riding high in the British charts in November of 1963, GENE
traveled to England for a promotional tour. While appearing
on the THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS PROGRAM, he met the ROLLING
STONES (who later provided him with his next single). Although
a seemingly unlikely combination, GENE and THE STONES
struck up an immediate rapport. MICK JAGGER and the band
admired PITNEY's polish and his professionalism. They
were also totally fascinated by his tremendous knowledge of
recording techniques. GENE liked the group's freshness
and gutsy attitude. Pitney's endorsement of the group in America
helped them break through to US success shortly afterwards.
For their part, MICK JAGGER and KEITH RICHARDS
penned GENE's next UK and USA hit record, THAT
GIRL BELONGS TO YESTERDAY.
This song became the first JAGGER/RICHARDS composition
to hit the American Charts.
returned the compliment by playing piano on the Stones' LITTLE
BY LITTLE, which made up the flip side of NOT FADE AWAY. With
PHIL SPECTOR playing maracas and GENE on
piano, they appeared on the group's first Decca album, "THE ROLLING
STONES." The track, NOW I'VE GOT A WITNESS, is subtitled "LIKE UNCLE PHIL AND UNCLE GENE." Lying
in the vaults are two other Stones songs which have never been
released commercially: AND THE ROLLING STONES MET PHIL AND
GENE and MR. SPECTOR AND MR. PITNEY CAME, TOO.