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Born Feb. 17 1940 Gene Francis Alan Pitney in Hartford, Connecticut . Gene spent most of his youth in Rockville, Connecticut. Gene formed a band while a student at Rockville High School called Gene and the Genials. On leaving high school Gene headed for New York City and the Brill Building. In 1959 Gene Pitney joined with a young singer Ginny Arnell and recorded some songs for Decca as Jamie & June. After a stop at Blaze and some solo recordings under the assumed name, Billy Bryan, Gene recorded under his own name for Festival in 1960.
Gene's first hit came with his first recording under his own name, "I Wanna Love My Life Away",a song which he wrote himself. Gene was also a budding songwriter and tried to push his songs to anyone who would listen. Brill Building veterans Burt Bacharach and Hal David liked what they saw and formed an alliance with the ambitious young singer/songwriter.
Under the guidance of Phil Spector, Gene recorded a song for Musicor in 1961 that was to be his breakthrough hit."Town Without Pity" a song from the film of the same title, was a smash hit record in 1962 and the record-buying public began to take notice. Bacharach and David were churning out songs in the early 60's that Gene turned into hits: Liberty Valance,Only Love Can Break A Heart -- his biggest hit ever, and Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa. Valance was inspired by the John Wayne/Jimmy Stewart movie of the same name, but the song was never actually sung in the movie itself.
Gene wrote [or co-wrote]songs for others like the Crystals with He's A Rebel or Ricky Nelson with Hello Mary Lou or Bobby Vee with Rubber Ball amongst others. during 60's Gene continued to make records: Mecca It Hurts To Be In Love, I'm Gonna Be Strong.
As big a star as he had become in the United States, Gene Pitney was an even bigger star in the United Kingdom. His publicist, Andrew Loog Oldham, acted in the same role for the Rolling Stones and Gene did some things with them. A song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, That Girl Belongs To Yesterday was recorded by Gene and went to number seven on the UK charts. He played maracas on the Stones' recording of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away and piano in the background of other songs by the Stones.
Gene Pitney had 16 top forty songs in the USA from 1961 to 1968, and he had forty such songs in the UK all the way up to 1974. Gene is married with three sons, Gene is to start recording duets with one of his son's shortly. Gene has also recorded songs in Spanish,German and Italian.