Sunday, April 21, 2013

Connie Francis--Who's Sorry Now (1958)

    Connie Francis looked down at the letter in her hand. It was an acceptance letter from New York University offering her a four year scholarship. She was ready to turn her back on what was thought at one time to have been a promising singing career to pursue something a bit more stable. Her contract with MGM was almost up...8 solo singles, and one duet with Marvin Rainwater which had just scraped into the top 100 at #93. It seemed that at the age of 19 her entertainment career was ending before it even really began.
     Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero had been performing since the age of four, playing the accordion and singing. She had even had a reoccurring part on the NBC children's show, "Startime Kids" from 1953 to 1955. During this time she made an appearance on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. It was here that Godfrey suggested she change her name to Connie Francis, and also to ditch the accordion. She did both with no hesitation.
     She signed a recording contract with MGM records for 10 records. The first 8 were flops, and then there was the duet with Rainwater which did better, but not enough for the company to choose to renew their contract with her.
     So she had pretty much decided to move on. She had graduated from Belleville (N.J.) High School in 1955 as a salutatorian and NYU was ready to offer her a free ride. To add to her disappointment, her dad kept pestering her about recording a song that he remembered called, "Who's Sorry Now". Francis hated the song, thinking it was too old for teens her age. Her dad on the other hand, remembered that it had been a hit with his generation, and in a contemporary setting, he thought teens could dance to it as well.
     This disagreement went well into the recording session on October 2, 1957. Connie had been set up to record several songs with one being chosen for release. The first three were recorded and even while the tape was running, the daughter and father were arguing about the song. With almost no time left, she put down the master of the song. When released, it did what the previous 9 songs had done. What could not have been predicted however was on Jan. 1, 1958, Dick Clark played the song on American Bandstand. By the summer the song had sold over a million copies and Connie Francis was a star, with the song finally peaking at #4 on the charts.
     It was the beginning of a very successful stretch for the singer having a total of 26 songs in the top 40 from 1958-1964 including two number 1's: "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You" (1962) and "My Heart Has a Mind Of It's Own" (1960).

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