1960 Annette – First Name Initial
Annette Joanne Funicello became one of a few actors/singers who appeared using just their first names. She was only twelve years-old in 1955 when Walt Disney saw her at a dance recital. He was casting the Mickey Mouse Club and signed Annette as his last Mouseketeer.
Besides appearing on the shows as one of the Mouseketeers, Annette also appeared in some of the show’s serials. After the success of her roles in the second and third Spin and Marty serials, Annette became the star of her own serial, Walt Disney Presents: Annette. She sang the song How Will I Know My Love in the show, and the popularity of the song led to its release as a single in 1958.
Music producer Tutti Camarata, another Disney employee, aided Annette’s singing career by having her sing each song twice. This double tracking made her singing sound much fuller than her solo singing voice.
Annette had a top ten single in 1959 with Tall Paul. The song was rumored to be about Paul Anka, who appeared to have a crush on Annette, but he has denied that the song was about him. It had to be one of the shortest top ten singles of all time, clocking in at only minute and thirty-eight seconds.
Her next three singles failed to even reach the top forty, but she returned there with First Name Initial near the end of 1959. That single ran a more reasonable 2 minutes and nineteen seconds and again credited her backup singers as The Afterbeats.
After another pair of hit records in 1960, Annette’s singing career faded away, but she made up for that with an acting career that included the Beach Party movies.
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