1959 Connie Francis – If I Didn’t Care
Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero was born in New Jersey and grew up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Encouragement from her father led her to perform singing and playing the accordion in talent shows and pageants. She attended high school in New Jersey when her family moved back to her birth state. While still in high school, she appeared as Connie Franconero in the NBC program Startime Kids.
Arthur Godfrey convinced Connie to stop using the accordion on stage. He also got her to change her name to Connie Francis when she appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.
Connie signed a recording contract with MGM Records that granted her ten single recordings. She began recording the singles in 1955. It took two years and nine failed singles before she had a hit record. MGM had notified Connie that her contract would not be renewed before her last recording session. Her father insisted that she record a cover version of a song from 1923, Who’s Sorry Now. She resisted recording the song, but there was just enough recording time in her last session to finish it. The record languished through the end of 1957. She appeared on American Bandstand and later the Dick Clark Beechnut Saturday Night show in early 1958, and her single took off. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 1958 and sold over a million copies. Her record label decided to keep her after that.
Turn the clock back to 1939, when The Ink Spots recorded If I Didn’t Care. Their single became one of the most popular songs of all time, selling more than ten million copies.
By the end of 1958, Connie had released four more top forty singles. Her most recent hit had been My Happiness, which peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. Her first release in 1959 was a remake of the Ink Spots’ hit. Her single If I Didn’t Care peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 in 1959.
Connie’s next single, Lipstick On Your Collar, took her back into the top five later that year. She recorded 22 more top forty singles, including two chart-topping singles, and ten more that reached the top ten. Like many other pop singers from the fifties, her career floundered after the British Invasion began in earnest in 1964.
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