Red Robinson's Legends Of Rock - Gene Pitney (2023)



Gene Pitney a singer and songwriter, he wrote for other artists who had great hits like Tom without pity 24 hours from Tulsa and it hurts to be in love.

Gene Pitney came to Vancouver during Expo 86, where we talked to him: the legendary Gene Pitney.

You know.

Reading your bio, you were born in Hartford Connecticut, but raised in Rockville.

Could you imagine that, as a gene as the title for an album raised in a Rockville? Well, they hung me with that.

Read right right.

In the beginning, somebody on one of the radio stations from Hartford called me, the Rockville rocket, and, to this day I mean graying, hair and all I'm still referred to as the Rockville rocket at home.

What do you think gene of the reunion of rock and roll a revival of rocker I hate? The word revival sounds like a diet.

It never did, but all of the attention performers, like yourself and Roy, Orbison and all of the accident were so big in the sixties.

Is it that the kids today are without their own brand of music or what? But it's so phenomenal.

Well, it's an amazing thing to me, because I didn't realize until well.

Not a year ago, I thought that, like when the 50,000 watt station in Harford yeah went fifty 60s music I thought it was a localized situation.

I didn't know that it was a program thing all the way across the country and I noticed when I just recently did a Corps, a tour of Ontario that is in Canada, and it's pretty much around the world, because I've been doing tours non-stop for like 26 years so so has Roy.

So has a lot of the people that you mentioned right.

For me, this happening is isn't like matter of fact.

The two of them on right now has nothing to do with the fact of that happening.

It's beneficial, but I have people that, like right into the fan club and they say I, remember one girl.

She was like 17 and she said, I wish I lived in the 60s and I have to ask people because it fascinates me why, and you come to a conclusion after a while that there was like the only word, I can come up with his optimism.

Yes, there was definitely an optimism and a feeling of that.

If everybody did something together, they could create something.

It was a thing.

A piece was a big part of it.

John Kennedy was a big part of it, positive thinking, positive lyrics and all the songs, and it was a very very up time and to me the 70s was a complete loser.

Wash out so I mean I, don't know whether there's any song that he's gonna relate back to from from the 70s, but it's all of a sudden come full circle.

Again he's a rebel with the crystals.

You wrote that rubber ball for Bobby Vee, today's teardrops, with Roy Orbison, did the other side of one of his giant hits called Blue Angel and hello Mary Lou for Rick Nelson, and was it a situation like Neil Diamond had because I've talked to him.

You know he said he was writing all of this, and then he realized that maybe he couldn't be as good or better than some of the others, but he thought the way to get his songs out was to sing him himself.

That was his motive it.

It was absolutely a side door situation.

For me, there were people in armed and that listened to the sound that I have that high-pitched, sound and I could tell when they were listening me play piano or guitar that they were saying.

Is that sound something good? Is it marketable where people want to buy it, or is it going to be a turn-off as far as people you go back to Neil for a moment, I remember Neil, coming around as a songwriter and coming in sitting down playing things on the piano, and it's so relative, because I remember the same thing with Bacharach and David when they first started.

Writing their time had to come where their sound was acceptable.

Right Neil was doing the crackling Rosie's and things like that.

We Caroline oh yeah, which it just wasn't ready for for somebody else to record it.

I, don't know why, but the music at that time, the trend or whatever was happening in the day.

You know go back into the late 70s like with disco or something were flooded the market.

So if you heard anything else, you'd say well, it's not not right for now, but his time had to come and when it did, of course, bingo they found out the best guy to record.

His song was himself and Burton Hal.

When they were writing.

They were writing over a long long time with a certain type of a sound that really almost like after Alfie from the movie.

Then they came into their own, but they'd been around having a hit here and there with R&B stuff and different kinds of songs for a long time, but did not not until the timer right.

But how did you feel when, for instance, with Rick Nelson, hello, Mary Lou or today's teardrops, which he did and in Roy Orbison did? Was that a flattering thing I mean it's like you've done a painting and someone that has admired it who's, also an artist either.

My favorite part of songwriting is like the fact that you created it's kind of like your baby and especially, if you're writing on your own and you do the lyric animality and then you still love to have somebody take it and do something with it.

That was totally different produce it a way that you hadn't had in mind whatsoever like if hello, Mary, Lou, for instance, I, never in a million years, would have pictured Rick Nelson being the guy.

For that record, people will say how can you say that, because when they first heard it, they heard it probably with Rick Nelson singing it, which is automatic.

So you rate the two together but I sat in my little 35 Ford coupe with my guitar strumming and I.

Had that phrase in my head, hello, Mary, Lou, goodbye heart and I just knew that if I could wrap the song around it, that I had a winner and then every time that I had a good song.

That I wrote the reason I never got to record them.

Was it I had a song out as a recording artist.

So when my song was out there, my publisher being very very aggressive, said well: I got a good song.

I'm, not gonna, wait for him by the time his song is, goes down, the charts so bingo.

Somebody else had it talking to Bobby Vee last year, and- and he mentioned a rubber ball- was really the first giant that he had.

He had records up before that devil or angel and things, but to write.

You didn't have him in mind for it either.

Obviously, when you wrote it, or did you I'm not sure, with that one, the only one that I ever wrote forth I said I'm gonna actually get them to record.

One I want to have their follow-up record was he's a rebel because I had heard what Phil Spector had done with uptown, and it was the first time I'd ever heard, a complete string, section written for a funky song like an R&B or a actually a rock way and I was parked in front of the Connecticut Bank and Trust building.


Remember exactly where heard on a radio, and it made such an impressive oppression on me.

That I said I'm going to write the next single for them and never think in a million years that I could but I did.

But as far as rubber ball sounds maybe like there was some connection because it was it's right up his alley.

I mean it was the right company, Holly ish, like Booz Allen, and when I heard it I, remember telling the publisher I said: that's gonna, be your first first big hit by me as a songwriter, because I had that that listeners ear, which you you wear wear out after a while when you start writing and you get clinical and you start listening to the arrangement, you start listening to different parts of the song.

You don't take the whole thing and encompass it and just say that's a hit, but that's not a hit and who close to it yeah and at that time I still had it.

I heard one play on it.

I said bingo winner, but I.

Remember you being interviewed I, don't know who did it yours and years ago, when you did town without pity, which won a Golden Globe Award was nominated for an Oscar I think you sang sang that on the Oscars that year, scared me to death.

Yes, what was that like working with somebody like Dimitri Thompkins? Well, it was a funny session because when they, the reason I got the song to begin with, it was political I happened.

I was on music or records which was distributed by United Artists records.

The film was produced by United Artists and the guy managing me said you know: can we get jean to do a song from a movie and they came up with that? One and I went out to LA and I got the song.

It was a very unusual song.

I miss Tillis today, but it was very usual for that period of time.

I thought how do I sing this thing? What do I do with it to make it successful like how am I supposed to approach it and I thought the best thing I can do is just go in and sing it straight, a ballad and as straight voiced as I, possibly can as a brown voice like I remember, we started seven o'clock at night and, as the night progressed, I could see in the booth Chunkin was there and Erin Schroeder was doing the production.

Jimmy Haskell was with the stick and Don Kaas.

They had written all the arrangements and they were all kind of like looking at each other and saying yeah.

You know it's alright, try it again and we'll do something different.

It was changing your orchestra, changing the girls and a group in the back singing everything and I could tell that.

Nothing's really happening 3:30 4 o'clock, the next morning, I was running out of pipes and instead of going what a town without pity I was going, what a town with- and he said- that's it that's what we're looking to chorale and the boys yeah as they called it.

A grips is what they wanted.

You've recorded an Italian in Spanish at one time in history, without getting into all the details.

I think he had the country album on the charts.

Italian hits I mean you were on the charts all over the world.

Sometimes a different language is that that must have been an incredible time for you personally, it was incredible.

Incredibly successful, but I didn't realize what a difficulty that makes for you when you do that, because you, you think of the challenge of going after having success in one other, any one of those fields and it's terrific, but once you do have it like take, for instance, Italy, which became very, very, very big for me.

Once you have success in Italian in the Italian language that meant one more whole new set of songs.

They had to go after right for the next LP and for the next single when I went to the country field.

Okay, now you got to have all nuke.

It's got to be country in western stuff.

It's got to fit to feel that you're going into so it just made it like a 12-month year was, was impossible.

It was really like an 18-month year.

It was needed to conclude all those gene, one of the things.

That's fascinated me about about your career and I'm, a big fan of Gene Pitney.

You know you and I remember.

We did a show here in Vancouver with the chiffons and a whole bunch of people back in 63 or 64, but at a certain period of your career you did something that I really admire.

I think you've.

You know what I'm talking about.

You gave up the road and all of that to be with your wife and raise your kids, and do you regret that I was the biggest benefit thing I ever did for myself and I didn't realize it at the time it was right in the early 70s and I was travelling like 11 months out of the year, my oldest two boys were 1 & 2, 2 & 3 whatever at that time, and it was like a guilt situation where I just said it's wrong and I see too many.

What I call absentee daddies all the time and I vowed to try to go cut back to six months out of the year, not knowing that by well.

By doing that, first of all, I knew I was going to lose the recording side right because I used to spend three or four months, just looking for material and I also had a pick and choose where I was going to go and as a result, kind of like lost my own backyard for the market in North America, but I didn't know that anybody in any job that, if you keep pursuing something, if you work at it as hard as I, do when I go into something.

If you keep at it all the time, it erodes your working just as hard, but your hundred-percent cuts down to 90% and you think your outputs, the same and you're doing things just as good.

Well, my benefit from the whole thing was it when I got away from it and forced myself to take a couple months off and then I went back out and did another a live, show, oh the enthusiasm, and they were fresh again, oh yeah, for being out there, I mean that's it.

What you got to do it well, how old are Chris, David and Todd? Now David is the little guy he's only eight, but Todd is now 19.

Chris is 18 they're, both in college and everything is much more settled.

I spend more time on the road now than I did before it's a whole different way of life, but I didn't realize if I do and that that's the beauty of it that the benefit was coming.

My way as well.

Gene good luck with all of your shows in your career you're, one of the great originals of American music, and thank you for talking well.

Thank you reading my pleasure.

Thank you see again.

Thank you.

My friend, you.


What happened to Gene Pitney? ›

Pitney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. A tireless performer, he died while on tour in 2006.

Is Gene Pitney alive or dead? ›

Who sang with Gene Pitney? ›

Marc Almond featuring Gene Pitney (1989)

By then, Gene Pitney had heard of Almond's version and offered to re-record it with him, as a duet. This version replaced the solo version which was put on the B-side of the single. The duet reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in January 1989.

How old was Gene Pitney when he died? ›

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