Tuesday, July 20, 2010

EVER WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO CONNIE FRANCIS?

Today I heard a song by Connie Francis and it started me thinking about where she is today and why she suddenly stopped performing. I knew there was an incident with her but for some reason I did not know the whole story. I remember hearing that she was attacked but what I found out shocked me.

Do you remember her and what happened back then? She was so pretty and had such an angels voice.

The following is what I found on her:


Connie Francis is the prototype for the female pop singer of today. At the height of her chart popularity in the late '50s and early '60s, Connie Francis was unique as a female recording artist, amassing record sales equal to and surpassing those of many of her post-rock era male contemporaries. Ultimately, she branched into other styles of music -- big band, country, ethnic, and more.

She still challenges Madonna as the biggest-selling female recording artist of all time. Like Madonna, Concetta Rosemarie Franconero comes from an Italian American background. Francis started her music career at three, playing an accordion bought for her by her contractor father George. Her father's dream was not for his daughter to become a star, but for Francis to become independent of men as an adult with her own accordion school of music. At age ten, she was accepted on Startime, a New York City television show that featured talented child singers and performers. The show had no one else who played an accordion. Its host, legendary TV talent scout Arthur Godfrey, had difficulty pronouncing her name and suggested something "easy and Irish," which turned into Francis. After three weeks on Startime , the show's producer and Francis' would-be manager advised her to dump the accordion and concentrate on singing. Francis performed weekly on Startime for four years.

After being turned down by almost every record label she approached, 16-year-old Francis signed a record contract with MGM, only because one of the songs on her demo, "Freddy," also happened to be the name of the president's son. "Freddy" was released in June 1955 as the singer's first single. After a series of flop singles, on October 2, 1957, she undertook what was to be her last session for MGM. Francis had recently accepted a pre-med scholarship to New York University and was contemplating the end of her career as a singer. Having recorded two songs, she thanked the technicians and musicians, hoping not to have to have to record the third song her father had in mind, an old tune from 1923. After a false start, she sang it in one take. When Dick Clark played "Who's Sorry Now" on American Bandstand, he told its eight million viewers that Connie Francis was "a new girl singer that is heading straight for the number one spot."

"Who's Sorry Now" was the first of Francis' long string of worldwide hits. By 1967, she had sold 35 million world wide, with 35 U.S. Top 40 hits, and three number ones ("Everybody's Somebody's Fool," "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own," "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You," and "Stupid Cupid" ) to her credit. 1963's "In the Summer of His Years," written as a tribute to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, remains one of the earliest known charity records, with proceeds donated to dependents of the policemen shot during the incident.

1957's "Who's Sorry Now" was going to be her final session for MGM. She ended that relationship in 1969, choosing not to renew her contract when MGM was taken over by Polydor. She opted instead for domestic life with her third husband. Francis didn't return to the recording studio until 1973 when the writers of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon," longtime friends, wrote "The Answer" especially for Francis. In 1974, her husband encouraged her to return to the stage, with disastrous consequences.

After her third performance, she was raped at the hotel she was staying in. Ultimately, this incident contributed to the end of her marriage. During 1975, nasal surgery temporarily robbed her of her voice. She was on the comeback trail in 1981 when her brother, George, was brutally murdered. It took seven years to determine that through all of those events, she was also a manic depressive. She finally made her return to the stage and recording in 1989 and Connie Francis continues to sing to sold-out audiences. She has recorded more than 70 LPs.

In the late 1960s Connie went to Vietnam to sing for the troops. Through the years, she has performed charity work for organizations such as UNICEF, the USO, and CARE.Following a November 1974 performance at the Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, New York, Francis was the victim of a brutal rape and robbery after an intruder broke into her hotel room and held her at knifepoint. She won a lawsuit against the hotel for inadequate security, the result of which influenced the hotel and motel industry to install deadbolts, viewing ports, and improved lighting. Francis was unable to sing for years after her attack, but slowly recovered until she was again able to tour in the early 1990s.Her autobiography, Who's Sorry Now, was released in 1984.

14 comments:

Beth Niquette said...

What an incredible lady. I had no idea.

Junibears said...

How lovely to catch up with her life. I didn't know all that and she was one of my favourite singers in the 50's.
Thank you Patti.xx

slommler said...

Thanks for the info...I knew some of the story too. She is one strong brave lady. Amazing!
Hugs
SueAnn

linda said...

Wow. i had no idea. 'Who's sorry now' was one of my favorite songs.
Thanks for the info, very interesting.

Vickie said...

Such a beautiful voice she has. I've always enjoyed listening to her. I didn't know the full extent of her story though. Always nice to learn something.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

I remember Connie very well. She has had a very difficult life.

Rock The Jukebox said...

Wow, Connie's been through a lot. Thanks for posting this!

JANN said...

Very interesting post on Connie. I had previously read some about her and knew she had been raped . Just awful that would happen. She was always a favorite of mine too. Such talent. Loved her in WHERE THE BOYS ARE , have you ever heard that song of hers called FALLIN, I think that is the name. Thanks for this good post.

Anonymous said...

That was well written and informative. When I was a kid I asked my grandma if Connie Francis was still alive and she said yes but then told me what happened to her and that she has never been the same. About two years ago I heard her give an interview on Sirius sattelite radio. The host asked her questions about music and all she talked about was the rapist and what he did. It was very akward and I felt very sorry for her. I love this little website you have here by the way.

Anonymous said...

I grew up listening to the beautiful voice of Connie Francis. She was our favorite. My single mother raised 3 small children, We had the pleasure of meeting Connie Francis at the Mill Run Theatre in Niles, Illinois in the mid to late 1980's. A memory and treasure that touched our hearts forever. Connie Francis is forever in our hearts. We love her!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post on Connie Francis. I grew up listening to her hits. She is truly a phenomenal singer. I don't think anyone's voice today could compare to the magnificent voice of Connie Francis. What happened to her was a tragedy, but she came back when most people would not have been able to return to the industry. That's because her singing has always come from her heart and soul. A Class Act.

Patricia Urbano said...

I enjoyed your post on Connie Francis. I grew up listening to her hits. She is truly a phenomenal singer. I don't think anyone's voice today could compare to the magnificent voice of Connie Francis. What happened to her was a tragedy, but she came back when most people would not have been able to return to the industry. That's because her singing has always come from her heart and soul. A Class Act.

Patricia Urbano said...

I enjoyed your post on Connie Francis. I grew up listening to her hits. She is truly a phenomenal singer. I don't think anyone's voice today could compare to the magnificent voice of Connie Francis. What happened to her was a tragedy, but she came back when most people would not have been able to return to the industry. That's because her singing has always come from her heart and soul. A Class Act.

Clarence Ahrman said...

Such a talented and gorgeous lady. Love her songs. Brings back memories when I listen to her songs.