Gene Pitney (born Gene Francis Alan Pitney in Hartford, Connecticut, USA on 17 February 1940 - died 5 April 2006 (Cardiff, Wales). After a successful singing career spanning five decades, at the age of 66, he was found dead of natural causes, while in the middle of a sellout UK tour.
Pitney, a pop rock pioneer, had his greatest success overall in Britain, first travelling there after his first self penned hit in 1961. "I Wanna Love My Life Away" hit #26 on the UK singles chart & just broke into the top 40 in the US.
His early music recorded for the "musicor" label was romantic, lonely and dramatic, fitting in alongside contemporaries like Buddy Holly, Neil Sedaka, Roy Orbison & serves as an audio time capsule of a more innocent time.
Gene Pitney - Yesterday's Hero…
Gene was a Brill Building songwriter who even before his singing career took off, had written one of Ricky Nelson's biggest hits "Hello Mary Lou". He had been helped out initially in his career by Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and later recorded some of their songs which became big hits like "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and the classic "Only Love Can Break A Heart". At the time his "Only Love…" recording was a #2 chart hit, he had written the number 1 song that week; "He's A Rebel" (A Phil Spector production recorded by The Crystals). All in all Pitney himself recorded 16 top 40 songs in the US from 1961 to 1968.
Gene's biggest popularity was in England, where he used the Rolling Stones publicist Andrew Loog Oldham to get his fame established, which lasted there to the day of his death. In the UK, Gene had 40 top-40 charting hits through 1974. He finally hit #1 in the UK in 1990, performing a duet with Marc Almond of Soft Cell. Pitney died April 5 on tour in 2006. He was found by his tour manager fully clothed on his bed at a Hilton Hotel in Cardiff , shortly after performing a concert.
Artist descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.