1963 Lou Christie – The Gypsy Cried
Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco was born in a small town near Pittsburgh. He conducted his high school choir and sang solos with the group, but he set his sights on someday singing on American Bandstand.
When he was only fifteen years-old, Lugee met Twyla Herbert at an audition in a local church basement. Twyla has described herself as a mystic and clairvoyant and worked with Lugee co-writing over 200 songs (including most of his early hits). She also predicted which of their songs would be hits.
Lugee began recording songs for small local record labels. Twyla wrote The Jury, which Lugee recorded with Twyla’s daughter and a few other singers. They released the single on the Robbee record label in 1961. It became a local hit and immediately demonstrated his falsetto.
Nick Censi was a disk jockey, music director, and program director in the Pittsburgh area in the early fifties. He co-founded Co & Ce Records in 1962 and began doing A&R work for the label. Lou brought Nick some demo tapes.
Nick convinced Lou to change his name to Lou Christie. He also made Lou listen to Sherry by the Four Seasons and encouraged him to use his falsetto in a similar fashion on a recording. Lou and Twyla wrote the song The Gypsy Cried and Nick produced the single. The single did well regionally and eventually Nick licensed the record to Roulette Records for national distribution. It sold over a million copies, but because of the slow national release, it peaked at only #24 on the Hot 100 in 1962.
Lou’s next single, Two Faces Have I, also extensively used Lou’s falsetto. It reached #6 on the Hot 100 in 1963 and also earned a gold record by selling over a million copies. He finally got to appear on American Bandstand and other television shows.
Lou continued recording for Ce & Co Records, but did not reach the top forty with other singles on that label. He recorded for Colpix in 1964 and early 1965 but those singles didn’t even reach the Hot 100 at all.
Charlie Calello was the bass player in The Four Lovers, but left the group before it became The Four Seasons and got replaced by Nick Massi. He became the arranger for the Four Seasons’ recordings beginning in 1962.
In 1965, Charlie arranged, conducted, and produced an album for Lou for MGM Records. That album contained Lou’s next two top forty singles, including the chart-topping single Lightning Strikes that rebooted Lou’s career.
That same year, Charlie replaced Nick as the bass player in The Four Seasons. Charlie later worked on over 100 top forty singles for a wide variety of musicians including Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, and even Bruce Springsteen.
Nick discovered and produced the Vogues, who also recorded hit records on the Ce & Co label.
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