CONNIE FRANCIS Biography - Musicians

 
 

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CONNIE FRANCIS

Name: Connie Francis                                                                     
Birth name: Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero                                               
Born: 12 December 1938 Newark, New Jersey, United States                                 
                                                                                         
Connie Francis (born December 12, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American pop         
singer best known for international hit songs such as "Who's Sorry Now?", "Where         
The Boys Are", and "Everybody's Somebody's Fool". She is known to have one of           
the most distinctive voices in the history of pop music.                                 
                                                                                         
Connie Francis was born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero in the Italian Down Neck,         
or Ironbound, neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey. 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 Ford                               
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. During this time Connie was introduced to then up           
and coming singer/songwriter Bobby Darin. Bobby's manager arranged for Darin to         
help write several songs for Connie in order to help jump-start her singing             
career. Initially the two artists couldn't see eye to eye on potential material         
but after several weeks Bobby and Connie developed a romantic interest in one           
another. Unfortunately Connie had a very strict Italian father who would                 
separate the couple whenever possible. When Connie's father learned that Bobby           
had suggested the two lovers elope after one of Connie's shows, he ran Darin out         
of the building while waving a gun telling Bobby to never see his daughter again.       
Bobby saw Connie only two more times after this happened, once when the two were         
scheduled to sing together for a television show and again later when Connie was         
spotlighted on the tv series This Is Your Life. To date Connie has said that not         
marrying Bobby was the biggest mistake of her life.                                     
                                                                                         
After considering a career in medicine due to the failure of her first few demos,       
a cover version of the song "Who's Sorry Now?" (1923) by Bert Kalmar and Harry           
Ruby launched Francis into super-stardom worldwide. She recorded the song at             
what was to have been her final recording session for MGM; the label was about           
to drop her owing to her previous singles' poor sales. Francis has said 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. On January 1, 1958, the song debuted on Dick Clark's               
American Bandstand television show, and by mid-year over a million copies were           
sold. In April 1958, "Who's Sorry Now" reached number one on the UK Singles             
Chart and number four in the USA. This was followed by many                             
other hits over the next decade, as Connie Francis became one of the most               
popular vocalists in the world.                                                         
                                                                                         
As Francis explains at each of her concerts, she began searching for a new hit           
immediately after her 1958 single Who's Sorry Now? became a success. She was             
then introduced to Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who played every ballad           
they had written to date, for Connie. After a few hours, Francis began writing           
in her diary while the two songwriters played the last of their ballads. After           
they finished their last song of the session, Francis told them that they wrote         
very beautiful ballads but that she considered them too intellectual for the             
young generation of the time. Greenfield then suggested to Sedaka a song they           
had written that morning for another girl group. Sedaka protested, believing             
that Francis would be insulted. Greenfield said that she hated all the other             
songs they had performed and that they had nothing more to lose. Sedaka                 
reluctantly agreed to play Stupid Cupid with Greenfield for Francis. As soon as         
they finished playing the song, Francis told them that they had just played her         
new hit record. Francis' song reached #14 on the Billboard charts. While Francis         
was writing in her diary, Sedaka asked her if he could read what she had written.       
After she refused, Sedaka was inspired to write The Diary, which was his first           
hit single. Through the rest of her early career Sedaka and Greenfield wrote             
many of Connie Francis' hits such as Fallin and Where the Boys Are.                     
                                                                                         
Connie specialized in downbeat ballads (often remakes of old standards)                 
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". However, she also had success with a               
handful of more upbeat, rock-and-roll-oriented compositions, such as "Stupid             
Cupid", "Lipstick On Your Collar", "Robot Man" and "Vacation".                           
                                                                                         
Among Francis' 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 often identified with Frank             
Sinatra). Both "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "My Heart Has                           
a Mind of Its Own" went to number one on the Billboard music charts in 1960. In         
1962, Francis had another number one hit with "Don't Break the Heart That Loves         
You".                                                                                   
                                                                                         
Francis remade many of her hits in foreign languages, including "Everybody's             
Somebody's Fool" and her signature song, "Where the Boys Are". Francis recorded         
in thirteen languages throughout her career: English, German, Swedish, Dutch,           
French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian (and its dialect Neapolitan), Hebrew,               
Yiddish, Japanese, Latin and Hawaiian. During a concert at the Golden Stag               
Festival in Bra┼čov, Romania in March 1970, Francis performed live in Romanian.         
Francis' biggest hit album in the U.S. was 1959's Italian Favorites; 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.                         
                                                                                         
In the 1960 motion picture Where the Boys Are Connie was able to highlight her           
acting talents to a broader range of audiences. 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,[citation needed]   
where she played 28 days a year for nine years. In 1961, she starred in her own         
television special on ABC television sponsored by Brylcreem titled Kicking Sound         
Around, singing and acting alongside Tab Hunter, Eddie Foy Jr. and Art Carney.           
Francis 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,         
Francis had 35 U.S. Top 40 hits, three of which were number ones. 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.                   
                                                                                         
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." She appeared on 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.                                               
                                                                                         
Connie released her autobiography, Who's Sorry Now? in 1984. It was her second           
attempt at writing as she had previously released the book For Every Young Heart         
in 1962.                                                                                 
                                                                                         
In 2000, "Who's Sorry Now?" was named one of the Songs of the Century. 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.             
                                                                                         
In March and October 2007, Francis performed to sold-out crowds at the Castro           
Theater in San Francisco.                                                               
                                                                                         
In December 2007, Connie Francis was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.         
                                                                                         
Francis appeared in concert in Manila, the Philippines, on Valentine's Day 2008.