Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Connie Francis - Behind the Fame

Updated July 29, 2016

Connie Franconero grew up in New Jersey, of Italian heritage.
In 1955 MGM gave Connie a contract for several singles. The first one was Freddy, which the MGM chief wanted as a gift for son Freddy's birthday. A pretty good song, but they say it was only played at the local park merry-go-round. The following singles had some good pop items, but not enough for hits. In 1957 Connie sang the voice of Tuesday Weld in the movie Rock Rock Rock  for two songs, which became one of the singles. Really lame songs.
After the 10th non-hit her father got serious and stepped in. He decided to choose the song Who's Sorry Now, which was a pop oldie. Finally she had a big hit and the rest is history.

From then on her father directed her recording career. In the earlier days they had been approached by mobsters, who said they could make her a star because they owned all the jukeboxes. Father turned it down. Now he seemed to have the golden touch in choosing records.
Connie became interested in a relationship with Bobby Darin then. Father didn't approve and that was stopped. I don't know but possibly Bobby had mob connections. There's a lot of that.
For her first movie Where the Boys Are in 1960 father approved only if there was nothing sexual for her. So Tuesday Weld did that stuff. Connie was not made up very attractive and was not presented as exciting. That improved in later films.

Now from 1958 to 1963 she was blessed by great pop-rock compositions by New York composers like Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. A lot of sentimental love songs with great harmony and melody.
From 1963 the caliber of American songwriting started to wane and like everyone else she was having less success.
That year she had a hit with In The Summer Of His Years, which was a tribute to President John F. Kennedy after his assasination. Strangely, that song is completely ignored since then. I think it's politics. Jews who mostly control the media want to suppress him.
Some songs are overlooked because of the timing of her hits albums. I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter came too late for her second hits album. However it did get included in the 15 Hits LP which covered her from the start. Other hits that came too late for the hits LPs were Blue Winter and Your Other Love.

Albums continued thru the 1960s along with some lesser hits.
As time went on she had problems with marriage, and in 1974 she was raped in her hotel in Long Island after performing.
In the late 60s she had plastic surgery to make her nose look less Italian and more American. She looked fine but it affected her vocal range negatively. Then a couple decades after that she had it again to somewhat revert her look, to where she is now.

Apparently she bought the copyrights to her recordings from MGM (or Polydor), which was having constant problems with repeated bankruptcies and ownership changes (also affecting the James Bond films). She does not tolerate unauthorized distribution, including posts on YouTube. If I could hear from her maybe I could present some samples here.

Connie still performs today. She was the best selling female artist in the world until Mariah Carey came.

Connie Francis on the Statler Brothers Show 1998:

You can also see her biography program starting at this link.                                              

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame

July 26, 2013

With the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame getting a lot of attention, 1950s Pop music wasn't getting enough. So John Rook decided to pay it tribute with a new Hall Of Fame organization. The first round of inductees was in 2007.
It has been selecting Pop artists from all decades since then. The first year told the tale of what it was all about.

Inductees of 2007 were
Pat Boone
Patti Page
Teresa Brewer
Bobby Darin
Bing Crosby
Perry Como
Nat King Cole
Jimmy Clanton
The Four Seasons
Connie Francis
Aretha Franklin
Ricky Nelson
Diana Ross
Roy Orbison
Paul Anka
The Beatles
Beach Boys
Tony Bennett
Doris Day
Fats Domino
Neil Diamond
Elvis Presley
Johnnie Ray
Neil Sedaka
Chubby Checker
Frank Sinatra
Johnny Cash
Ray Charles

John Harlan Rook was an American radio announcer and director going back to the 1960s.
Here are links:
The Hit Parade HoF site
The Wikipedia article                                        

This is an example of how the new wave of late 1960s hippie music displaced the former Pop and Rock and Roll music of the 1950s and early 1960s. Even Wikipedia refuses to have a separate article on the Hall, but buries it within the John Rook article. It took until 2007 to think of this, and it does not seem to be well known.
There is an element that disregards 1950s Pop. It favors jazz or punk or soul. It comes down to who controls the media the most.
When Dick Clark was alive he worked to feature the classic music. He also organized the annual Peoples' Choice music awards show, which was a reaction to the otherwise leftist control of the media which shoved soul and jazz down everyone's throats.
The radio music services don't have 1950s Pop channels.
Somehow 1940s Pop becomes categorized as jazz too.

Each year nominees are named early in the year, and you the public can vote until the results are counted about 11 months later.
So as The Democrats say, vote and vote often.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

À La Carte - Euro Girl Group

 (updated January 6)

In 1978 two then little-known German producers - a married couple Tony Hendrik and Karin Hartmann, employed by Hansa International (sub-label of Ariola-Eurodisc), developed the project of a female pop group. These girl-groups were especially popular in Europe in the late 70s.  Among others those included Arabesque (Germany), Baccara (Spain), Maywood and Luv (both from the Netherlands).

The first single of A La Carte "When The Boys Come Home" (Ariola/Hansa 100 478-100) was released in March 1979. The song, performed by three attractive girls from London: Patsy Fuller, Julia and Elaine, gained popularity and the group was invited to the famous German TV-show "Musikladen" ("Music Shop"). The single had good sales, and in October a second catchy single was released "Doctor, Doctor (Help Me Please)" (Ariola/Hansa 101 080-100), with a new line-up: Patsy Fuller, Jeanny Renshaw, Denise Distelle. After that nobody dared to deny their reputation as the best dance girl-band. In 1980 one more replacement occurs: instead of Denise Distelle came Katie Humble. In March 1980 this line-up a launched new single - a cover of Manfred Mann's 60s super-hit "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (Ariola/Hansa 101 677-100), in a short time followed by their first album - "Do Wah Diddy Diddy Round" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 202 143-320).
The next single of A La Carte - "Ring Me, Honey" (Ariola/Hansa 102 429-100), was released in September 1980.
In January 1981, after a change of two members, Jeanny Renshaw, Linda Daniels and Joy Martin released the new single "You Get Me On The Run" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 102 871-100). The lead vocals in the song were of Jeanny and Joy. The third girl, Linda Daniels, was needed only for the "phantom" presence of the third singer, the recent Denise Distelle. Then were issued 3 singles and the next album called "Viva" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). "In the Summer Sun Of Greece" was released on a single (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 263-100) in April 1982 and its front cover shows one more change in the line-up: Kati Humble's comeback instead of the blue-eyed blonde Linda Daniels. This line-up existed until the group's splitting.

In July 1982 they released the single "Aha Tamoure" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 569-100) and the group's activity was summed up on the first compilation - "The Wonderful Hits Of A La Carte" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 204 935-302). This album included nearly all the hits of A La Carte: "When The Boys Come Home", "In The Summer Sun Of Greece", "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Aha Tamoure", "Viva Torero" and others.
In January 1983 was released the single called "Radio" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 918-100). The two new songs were never issued on any LPs.
The next album of the group "Rockin' Oldies" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 205 743-320) and new single "On The Top Old Smokie" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 105 802-100) were released at the same time in September 1983. In 1984, the group launched the next single "Jimme Gimme Reggae" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). The title song was a new version of the one from the first album, and a completely new song - "Lightyears Away From Home" was on the back side.
After that, A La Carte disappeared from the scene. Probably, it was the result of the birth of the new "lovely child" of their producers, Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik, the male trio Bad Boys Blue, launched in 1984 with "L.O.V.E. In My Car ". But maybe also because of decreasing demand in the music market for female acts and a corresponding increase for male ones. The attractive girl-groups were getting competition from male duos and trios like Modern Talking, Joy, London Boys, Silent Circle, Pet Shop Boys...

[This article is based on a defunct old GeoCities website in order to keep the information alive. The credits given were:
Original Russian text by Alex (Invisible Man), with assistance of Marc Wiese.
2004-2005 English translation by L.D.]

The World Of A La Carte