Monday, November 2, 2009

Connie Francis

Connie Francis Somebody created a blog dedicated entirely to Connie Francis. I am in awe…

I grew up with Connie Francis in the house – two albums. One was called Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites, which was a bit odd, given that Connie Francis is not Jewish, but not that odd, given that many people who are not Jewish sing Jewish songs. The other album was called Silverkrin Shampoo Presents Sing Along With Connie Francis. Interestingly, these LPs, which seem like the product of a has-been, were actually released during the early 60s when Connie was still having hits.

Ok that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. This is about Connie Francis. Connie Francis. She was huge, Connie Francis was. Between 1958 and 1964 she had 35 top 40 singles, and between 1957 and 1969 she had 56 top 100 singles. But all I knew of Connie Francis was those two silly LPs that my parents had, and if I ever listened to them, it’s because I made a point of listening to every LP that my parents owned, just to say I had.

My collection started with a collection of 10 songs, an LP I picked up at The Country Music Centre on Selkirk Avenue, of which I’ve written previously. I can’t even remember the name of the LP, The Best Of Connie Francis or something no doubt; it had a horrible picture of her on thConnie Francise cover, I do remember that. I picked more songs though, many on old scratchy 45s, most, if not all, at Pyramid Records, of which I’ve written previously, and from The Very Best Of Connie Francis, which had 11 that were not on that first LP that I had, the one with the ugly cover. That’s it. The story of Connie Francis.

Connie Francis:

Lipstick On Your Collar – The classic song of teenage two-timing. Judy’s Turn To Cry came later. The percussive organ here is what gives the game away. “Were you smoochin’ my best friend?” From the summer of 1959.
Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – From the summer of 1960, this was one of 3 Connie Francis hits to reach number 1 on Billboard. The song is about an obsessive self-destructive relationship. And that shopping centre organ makes it all seem so… what… kitchy? Not The Heartbeats song.
Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You – A bit country, but just a bit. Features Connie’s multi-tracked vocals – shades of Patti Page. Another number 1 hit, this from the winter of 1962.
My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own – “ I hear your voice, and something stirs inside of me.” Number 1 in the fall of 1960.
Among My Souvenirs – Connie laments a lost love. From early 1960. Marty Robbins did this.
Where The Boys Are – This was a movie. The song, though its title wouldn’t suggest it, is a ballad – a ballad about finding Mr. Right. “My true love waits for meeee.” I don’t know where the boys are. In the locker room? In the bar? In the pool hall? From the winter of 1961.
Vacation – A song about summer vacation. This is an unrecognized summer holiday song, to stand along Summer In The City, Sunshine Superman, Here Comes Summer, Summer Holiday, and a million Beach Boys songs. The sax break is classic. From the summer of 1962.
Frankie – It isn’t specifically about Frankie Avalon, and it isn’t specifically not about Frankie Avalon. The song is about the end of the romance, but Connie and Frankie were not, as far as we know, real-life lovers. Movies and tabloids are something else. This summer of ’59 hit was the B side of Lipstick On Your Collar.
My Happiness – A song of longing. Are they separated temporarily or permanently? Not sure. From the winter of 1959.
Who’s Sorry Now – An I-told-you-so ballad, the song that put her on the map, though she’d had a song on the top 100 previously. From the winter of 1958.
Follow The Boys – This is a bit odd. Really this is kind of a Where The Boys Are rewrite. From the spring of 1963.
I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter – Just to prove that Connie didn’t show any seasonal favouritism. From the winter of 1963.
Second Hand Love – Love on the rebound, and it’s not working out. From the summer of 1962.
You’re Gonna Miss Me – Someday, she says, you’re gonna miss me. I think the missing comes sooner as opposed to later. Definitely not the 13th Floor Elevators song. From the autumn of 1959.
Many Tears Ago – Connie looks back at an old dysfunctional relationship. From late 1960.
If My Pillow Could Talk – This hit from the summer of 1963 has a girl group sound to it, not surprising – it was, after all, the summer of 1963. And what would the pillow say? Well it would speak of tears and crying and stuff. I think if a pillow could talk it would say “Help! I’m suffocating…”
Mama – Not the B. J. Thomas song. She sings this mostly in Italian, and it’s pretty MOR. The English part is pretty much what you’d expect. From the spring of 1960.
Teddy – My friend’s brother was Teddy. He married a girl that he met at university. Thing is, I met her first, she joined me at a table at the cafeteria. Can I sit here, she said, and my eyes bugged out. Good looking she was. I didn’t want to marry her, though I let her sit at the table. Teddy married her, and for some reason they ended up in the newspaper, some kind of human interest article. I don’t think they stayed married though. I can’t tell you her name, because I don’t remember it. But the song: “Teddy,” unlike “Johnny” or “Bruce” doesn’t have that aura of macho. Still, he’s her guy. From the spring of 1960, the B side of Mama.
When The Boy In Your Arms (Is The Boy In Your Heart) – I guess that’s ideal, and that’s what she sings about. The song, though, is presented philosophically, not personally. From the winter of 1960 / 1961.
Baby’s First Christmas – The B side of When The Boy In Your Arms. Yuck. It doesn’t get more maudlin than this. From the 1960 season.
Together – Not the Nilsson song, obviously. The catch here, of course, is that they did Connie Franciseverything together, even the breakup. From the summer of 1961.
Breakin’ In A Brand New Broken Heart – A self pity song from the summer of 1961.

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