Connie Francis

Gary:

There is no question that I am an old time Rock and Roller.  In my teenage years, I mainly listened to groups or Male Singers.  Well not always… there where a couple of girls. I bought their records and danced to their music.

There were a lot of female singers, but two white Pop Artists come to mind.  I think I will just list by year, the songs I enjoyed and not worry about their popularity.  Now I know I will miss some of your favourites, so I will say “Sorry” ahead of time.

The two girls I listened to the most were Brenda Lee and Connie Francis!


Connie Francis

Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero

Connie Francis (born December 12, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey)

VIDEOS:

1958 / Who’s Sorry Now /
.
196? / Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool /
.
1989 / London / Medley /
.
In Japan /
.
You Make Me Feel So Young / with the man she loved “Bobby Darin” /
.
Her Bio – Part 1
.
and Part 2 /
.
part 3 /
.

.

All music was recorded on the MGM Label

1.   1958/ January/ Who’s Sorry Now

2.   1958/ July/ Stupid Cupid/ written by Neil Sedaka

3.   1958/ October/ Fallin’

4.   1958/ December/ My Happiness

5.   1959/ May/ Lipstick On Your Collar

6.   1959/ May / Frankie B side

7.   1959/ November/ Among My Souvenirs

8.   1960/ February/ Mama

9.   1960/ May/ Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

10. 1960/ August/ My Heart Has A Mind Of It’s Own

11. 1960/ October/ Many Tears Ago

12. 1961/ January/ Where the Boys Are

13. 1961/ April/ Breakin’ In a Brand New Broken Heart

14. 1961/ June/ Together

15. 1962/ July/ Vacation

[Editor’s Note:  This is a relationship that was not allowed in 1956/57/58!]

Early in her career, Connie Francis was introduced to Bobby Darin, an up-and-coming singer and songwriter. Darin’s manager arranged for him to help write several songs for her. Despite some disagreement about material, after several weeks Darin and Francis developed a romantic relationship.


Francis’ strict Italian father would separate the couple whenever possible. When her father learned that Bobby Darin had suggested the two lovers elope after one of her shows, he ran Darin out of the building at gunpoint, telling Bobby to never see his daughter again.

Francis saw Darin only two more times – once when the two were scheduled to sing together for a television show, and again when Francis was spotlighted on the TV series This Is Your Life.

By the latter’s taping, Bobby Darin had married actress Sandra Dee. Francis says she and her father were driving into the Lincoln Tunnel when the radio DJ announced Darin’s and Dee’s marriage. Her father made a negative comment about Bobby finally being out of their lives. Angered, Francis wrote, she had hoped the Hudson River would fill the Lincoln Tunnel, killing both herself and her father; she later wrote that not marrying Darin was the biggest mistake of her life.


Born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero in Newark’s Italian Down Neck or Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey neighborhood, she is considered the most prolific and popular female rock ‘n’ roll hit-maker of the early rock era — the late 1950s to the early 1960s. After an appearance on Startime, Francis was advised to change her name from Franconero to something more easily pronounceable, as well as to quit the accordion and focus on singing.

Francis’ first single “Freddy” (1955) met with little success. Her next nine singles were also failures, and she began considering a career in medicine; however, “Who’s Sorry Now” (a cover version of a 1923 song) launched her into super-stardom worldwide.

Francis recorded the song at what was to have been her final recording session for MGM, as the label was about to drop her since her previous singles had generated little activity. She has said (paraphrased from The Billboard Book of Number One Singles by Fred Bronson) that she recorded it at the suggestion of her father, who convinced her it stood a chance of becoming a hit because it was a song adults already knew and that teenagers would dance to if it were released with a more contemporary arrangement.

The gamble paid off. In April 1958, “Who’s Sorry Now” reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart (number 4 in the USA); in 2000, it was named one of the Songs of the Century.

On January 1, 1958, she debuted it on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand television show; by mid-year over a million copies were sold. This was followed by many other hits over the next decade, as Connie Francis became one of the most popular vocalists in the world.

Francis specialized in downbeat ballads delivered in her trademark “sobbing” style — such as “My Happiness,” “I’m Sorry I Made You Cry,” “Among My Souvenirs,” “Together,” “Breakin’ In a Brand New Broken Heart,” and the Italian song “Mama,” many of which were remakes of old standards.

However, she also had success with a handful of more upbeat, rock-and-roll-oriented compositions, such as “Stupid Cupid,” “Lipstick On Your Collar,” and “Vacation.”

Among her other notable performances were “In the Summer of His Years” (a tribute to slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy) and Bert Kaempfert’s “Strangers In The Night” (although the latter song is more identified with Frank Sinatra).

Both “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” went to No.1 on the Billboard music charts in 1960. In 1962 she had another No.1 hit with “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You.”

Francis recorded in nine languages during her career, including English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, and even Japanese, and remade many of her hits in foreign languages, including “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” and her signature song, “Where the Boys Are.” In fact, her biggest hit album in the U.S. was 1960’s Italian Favorites, and she followed it with several more albums of Italian songs over the years, as well as collections of Spanish-language and Jewish songs, among others.

Where The Boys Are,” one of many Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield compositions Francis recorded during her career (others included “Stupid Cupid” and “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”), gained wide exposure through its inclusion in the 1960 motion picture with the same title. Francis had a role in the film and sang the title song.

During the first half of the 1960s she starred in three additional films — Follow the Boys (1963) (the title song of which became a No. 17 Billboard single for Francis), Looking for Love (1964) and When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965).

In 1960 Francis became the youngest headliner to sing in Las Vegas, where she played 28 days a year for nine years.

In 1961 she was successful in starring in her own television special on ABC television sponsored by Brylcreem titled Kicking Sound Around, singing and acting along-side Tab Hunter, Eddie Foy Jr. and Art Carney.

She appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on July 1, 1962 with French singing star Johnny Hallyday in a show that was taped at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris, France.

On July 3, 1963 she played a Command performance before Queen Elizabeth II at the Alhambra Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland. By 1967, she had 35 U.S. Top 40 hits, and three number ones.

Connie Francis has always been a great fan of Country music and recorded several albums of Country standards during her pop career. In 1969 she had a modest Country hit with “The Wedding Cake” and made the Country charts again in 1982 with “There’s Still a Few Good Love Songs Left in Me.”

Several Country singers found chart success remaking Francis’ pop hits for the Country market, including Marie Osmond (“Who’s Sorry Now” in 1975), Susan Raye (“My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” in 1972), Margo Smith (“Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You” in 1978), and Debby Boone.

During the height of the Vietnam War in 1967, Connie Francis performed for U.S. troops.

Francis ended her recording career in 1969. She returned in 1973 with “The Answer,” a song written just for her, and soon began performing again.

Her son Joey was born in 1974.

Tragedies followed soon after… In 1974 she was sexually assaulted in a hotel following a performance in Westbury, New York. Nasal surgery to correct a sensitivity to air conditioning deprived her of her ability to sing professionally for four years. Her brother was murdered in 1981.

Francis’ autobiography, Who’s Sorry Now? was published in 1984. Francis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental disease which includes severe depressions and manic highs. She uses the drug Lithium to balance out the emotional highs and lows caused by the disease.

Connie Francis resumed her career in 1989 after discovering the drug and has continued singing and recording since then. Francis still holds a world-wide appeal shown through continued music sales and sold-out appearances.

Her latest CD The American Tour contains performances from recent shows. In late December 2004, Francis headlined in Las Vegas for the first time since 1989. (lastfm)

In March of 2007, Francis performed to a sold-out crowd — composed of gay urbanites and conservative suburbanites — in San Francisco. The “little diva” belted out versions of her “woebegone ballads . . . in full force,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s music critic.


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5 responses to “Connie Francis

  1. Barbara Jordan

    Great article Russ! I would love to see her in person. I can relate to the strict Italian father, having had a very strict, old-fashioned Greek father!

    Thanks for putting her recordings on the blog.

    Barbara

    • Hi Barb!
      Thanks for stopping by. Gary and I are having a lot of fun updating this thing nearly every day and the number of hits is starting to go through the roof. We are hoping this Blog will continue to grow exponentially, as it has over the past 3 months. I’m glad you like hearing the music. Have you checked out our INDEX? Lots of Artists and music!
      – Russ

  2. I heard that a demo of her recording “Who’s sorry now” was sitting in a pile of records on the desk of a record producer, and by chance he listened to it. And the rest is history.

  3. Thanks very much for this great item on the legendary Connie Francis. I am a Connie Francis fan for more than 50 years and had the pleasure of seeing her perform on stage and meeting her in person after the shows. She is a great artist and a wonderful person, who really appreciates her fans.
    Hans Kunzel, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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