Gene Pitney

“The secret of my success was very simple. When I found a great song, I grabbed it.”
-- Gene Pitney
Gene Pitney's first top 40 record, "I Wanna Love My Life Away," was truly a one man tour de force. Pitney wrote the song, experimented with multi track dubbing as he recorded the song, did all the mixing himself, played the piano, guitar, and drums himself, produced the demo and got Musicor to release the single. It peaked at #39. With all of his interest in the production end of the record business, Pitney soon crossed paths with Phil Spector and Pitney's next release, "Every Breath I Take" was one of Spector's first steps towards his "wall of sound" style. Pitney first gained national attention when he recorded a movie theme song, "Town Without Pity." He was invited to sing the song at the Academy Awards in 1962, and although the song didn't win ("Moon River" was the winner), his appearance was one of the first times an artist from the rock and roll era was invited to sing at the awards. Pitney's biggest success came in 1962 with "Only Love Can Break A Heart." It was kept from being a #1 recording by The Crystals' "He's A Rebel" -- a song written by Pitney. Gene Pitney also had great success as a song writer, beginning with "Rubber Ball" (#6) for Bobby Vee in 1961 and including "Hello Mary Lou" (#9) for Ricky Nelson. Unlike many other artists of The Elvis Era, Pitney's success continued into the years of the "British Invasion." In 1964, he recorded "It Hurts To Be In Love." Originally intended as a Neil Sedaka release, due to a contract dispute, Pitney was brought in by RCA and they used his lead vocal with Sedaka's background harmonies. In 1965, "Last Chance To Turn Around" reached #13. Pitney continued limited top 40 success all the way through 1968 when "She's A Heartbreaker" reached #16. Gene Pitney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
I Wanna Love My Life Away 2/27/1961 39 1
Every Breath I Take 6/5/1961 42
Mr. Moon, Mr. Cupid and I 6/5/1961 42
Town Without Pity 12/18/1961 13 10
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 5/19/1962 4 8
Only Love Can Break a Heart 9/29/1962 2 11
If I Didn't Have a Dime 1/5/1963

Half Heaven - Half Heartache 1/5/1963 12 8
Mecca 4/13/1963 12 7
True Love Never Runs Smooth 8/3/1963 21 6
Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa 11/16/1963 17 6
I m Gonna Be Strong 1/7/1964 9 9
It Hurts to Be in Love 8/29/1964 7 10
I Must Be Seeing Things 3/20/1965 31 4
Last Chance to Turn Around 5/22/1965 13 7
Princess in Rags 12/18/1965 37 2
Backstage 5/14/1966 25 5
She s A Heartbreaker 6/15/1968 16 8