1961 Gene Pitney – Town Without Pity
Gene Pitney grew up in Connecticut and was a member of several bands in the late fifties. The first time he recorded came with a group called the Embers in 1958. Gene teamed up with Ginny Arnell, and they released a few singles as Jamie and Jane.
Gene also began writing songs that became hits for other artists. Bobby Vee recorded Rubber Ball in 1960, and the record reached the top ten the next year. Gene also wrote Hello, Mary Lou, which Ricky Nelson took into the top ten in 1961.
Aaron Schroeder was a songwriter and producer who formed Musicor Records in 1960. United Artists Records distributed the label’s records. Gene had written the song (I Wanna) Love My Life Away and Aaron produced his recording of the song in late 1960. It featured Gene playing multiple instruments and multi-tracking his own vocals.
The single snuck up to #39 on the Hot 100 in early 1961.
A few months later, Gene recorded the theme song for the film based on the 1960 German novel Das Urteil (The Verdict). The film starred Kirk Douglas and was retitled Town Without Pity. Dimitri Tiomkin wrote the music for the soundtrack and the theme song. The lyrics came from Ned Washington, who began writing lyrics for songs in the forties; some of his more famous creations included When You Wish Upon A Star and High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’).
Aaron again produced Gene’s single, and Town Without Pity peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 in 1961. The song received a nomination for an Oscar, but lost out to Moon River.
Gene’s next recorded the theme song for (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance in 1962 and followed that with his biggest hit, Only Love Can Break a Heart.
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