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Profile: Connie Francis

By

Connie Francis

Connie Francis

source: myspace.com

Born:

Concetta Rosemarie Franconero, December 12, 1938, Newark, NJ

Genres:

Pop, Rock and Roll, Country, International

Instruments:

Vocals

Contributions to music:

  • The most popular female entertainer of the rock and roll era
  • One of the first rock performers to become an international superstar
  • Was the most popular female adult-contemporay artists of the Seventies, and a popular country singer as well
  • The very image of teenage girlhood in her era's music and movies
  • An important symbol of success to the Italian-American community
  • An icon to the gay community for her ability to bear tragedy both on record and in life

Early years:

Although she'd become one of history's most popular vocalists, Concetta Franconero made her first splash as an accordion player, filling a gap on the NBC Ford Startime variety specials in the mid-Fifties. Host Arthur Godfrey soon had her singing, having changed her name to the "easier to pronounce" Connie Francis. But despite a recording contract with MGM, she wasn't having real national success -- that is, until the end of her very last session, when she reluctantly covered a song from 1923, "Who's Sorry Now," at the insistance of her father, who'd become convinced all it needed was a newer, more modern arrangement.

Success:

Dick Clark evidently agreed, heavily promoting the song on American Bandstand, and soon the nineteen-year-old had the biggest hit in the country. Putting aside her backup plan (pre-med at NYU), she followed with several more smashes, most of them either tortured, classic ballads of love gone wrong or uptempo, rockier numbers often penned by Brill Building songwriters Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. During this time she also began singing in her native Italian and then Yiddish, while also expanding her international fan base. When rock got harder, Connie merely switched to adult contemporary, and later, country.

Later years:

Francis retired in the late Sixties after working tirelessly for the better part of two decades. But the ensuing years were tragic: a series of bad marriages, a botched nose job that affected her voice, the murder of her brother, and, most notoriously, a rape that occurred while on a "comeback" tour in 1974 (which led to a landmark case when she sued the hotel for poor security). Through it all, she has persevered, occasionally venturing out into the public eye to perform. (Francis is one of the earliest celebrity sufferers of bipolar disorder.) She remains an international draw.

Other facts:

  • Her first single, 1959's "Freddy," was accepted only because the record company head wanted to present it as a birthday gift to his son of the same name
  • Seriously dated Bobby Darin in the early Sixties until dissuaded by her disapproving father
  • Recorded a post-assassination tribute song to JFK entitled "In the Summer of His Years"
  • Has recorded and performed worldwide in 15 different languages
  • The youngest performer ever to headline in Las Vegas
  • Has a member of the "Shrike Team" named after her in the anime series Victory Gundam
  • Gloria Estefan is set to portray Francis in a biopic tentatively titled Who's Sorry Now?

Awards/Honors:

  • Golden Globes (1964)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" (1960)
  • "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own" (1960)
  • "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You" (1962)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "Who's Sorry Now?" (1958)
  • "Among My Souvenirs" (1959)
  • "Frankie" (1959)
  • "Lipstick On Your Collar" (1959)
  • "My Happiness" (1959)
  • "Mama" (1960)
  • "Many Tears Ago" (1960)
  • "Where The Boys Are" (1961)
  • "Breakin' In A Brand New Broken Heart" (1961)
  • "Together" (1961)
  • "When The Boy In Your Arms (Is The Boy In Your Heart)" (1961)
  • "Second Hand Love" (1962)
  • "Vacation" (1962)
R&B:
  • "Who's Sorry Now?" (1958)
  • "Among My Souvenirs" (1959)
  • "Lipstick On Your Collar" (1959)
  • "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" (1960)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Italian Favorites (1960)
  • More Italian Favorites (1961)
Other popular recordings: "I'm Sorry I Made You Cry," "Carolina Moon," "Fallin'," "I'll Get By," "You Always Hurt The One You Love," "If I Didn't Care," "You're Gonna Miss Me," "Plenty Good Lovin'," "God Bless America," "Teddy," "Robot Man," "Jealous Of You (Tango Della Gelosia)," "No One," "(He's My) Dreamboat," "Baby's First Christmas," "I Was Such a Fool (To Fall In Love With You)," "He Thinks I Still Care," "I'm Gonna' Be Warm This Winter," "Follow The Boys," "If My Pillow Could Talk," "Your Other Love," "Blue Winter," "Be Anything (But Be Mine)," "Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight," "For Mama (La Mamma)," "Wishing It Was You," "My Child," "Forget Domani," "Roundabout," "Jealous Heart," "Love Is Me, Love Is You," "So Nice (Summer Samba)," "Spanish Nights And You," "Time Alone Will Tell," "My Heart Cries For You," "Lonely Again," "My World Is Slipping Away," "Why Say Goodbye (A Comme Amour)," "I Don't Wanna Play House," "The Wedding Cake," "I'm Me Again"
Covered by: The Saints, Debby Boone, Tracey Ullman, Robert Palmer, Mandy Moore
Appears in the movies: "Where The Boys Are" (1960), "Follow The Boys" (1963), "Looking For Love" (1964), "When The Boys Meet The Girls" (1965)
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