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.

27 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...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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.

John Neal said...

That Article on Connie Francis was written very well. And I personally did know all of that because I am and consider myself to be her most devoted fan in the world. I say that because it all started when i heard the Imcomobrake, hearfelst soulful, unique voice ever. I was in middle school. I bought a total of 56 Albums by her. Some of the songs were the same but in a different language such as Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Yiddish, etc. It was and is her unique voice and unparalleled phrasing. I got on here because I heard she was deceased and had to find out. I commend you on your article and I too would put the natural voice of Connie Francis against against anyone yesterday or today. She sings songs better than the people who released them. I hope and pray that her movie is made soon. What a Movie That Will Be. John from Columbus, Ohio

charlotte said...

thank you connie for all your beautiful songs you brought to millions

Shrinksjp said...

Connie celebrated her birthday yesterday. For the past few years, she performed rarely. Baltimorenetradio.com carries programs on her and she often is interviewed by them. She remains one of the top selling female vocalists of all time. She is very active in mental health and with U.S> veteranss.

sarah lee said...

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. See the link below for more info.


#happened
www.ufgop.org

Patsy said...

I enjoyed the information so much, I had seen Miss Francis perform in Buffalo N.Y. thought it was in the 90's still have her autograph. I thought I remember something about her being crazy in love w/Bobby Darin but her father was so totally against it and had forbidden her to see him, think he ended up w/ Sandra Dee

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LiLa Hidell said...

At 85 years old, I have enjoyed the music of Connie Francis for a LONG time. Patsy Cline is the only other female singer that I consider to be equal to Connie. "Who's Sorry Now" and "Crazy" are favorites of mine. I remember seeing Connie on talk-shows over the years and felt such compassion for what she experienced in that hotel room in her young life. I, too, began wondering whatever happened to her; was she still alive? Glad to hear she is - and at just 76, hope she has many happy years coming to her. AND, thank you for posting this information for those who love her.

Fred Woodcock said...

The first time I heard of Connie Frances I was 18 years old an d staying at my aunts place in Calgary Alberta my aunt had this record of Connie's I think I must have wore it out while I was there. Connie was not only a beautiful woman but she could sing like an Angel my only wish is that serious Radio would play her songs more. She was probably my first love. Fred Woodcock

Syd Wagstaff said...

Hello everyone, I am so glad I found this site as my wife and I love Connie Francis, we have many Vinyl and c.d. recordings of hers and no one can get close to her superb vocals, and it is great to hear that she is still performing after such a traumatic life, good on you Connie. To those of you that read this you all should try and obtain a copy of Connie Sings Buddy Holly it is a record that is a Rock "N" Roll vocal master class, brilliant arrangements and superb backing from the musicians and backing vocal group, if you don't have a copy of this recording do get one soon you will not regret it. Best wishes to Connie and you all who still love and remember her she has given us a great deal of pleasure over the years. We are both in our 70s and 60s but still love music.

Syd Sue Wagstaff
Crewe, Cheshire,
North West England.

Unknown said...

She is still truly loved what a beautiful voice she had. Would you believe my soon to be 13 year old son (tomorrow's his bday) loves her music. He finds it very relaxing and listens to it to daily 😊 Would love for him to meet her

Anonymous said...

Hi, Every time I hear Connie Francis sing, I get goose bumps. She was born with the most wonderful gift in the world. When I die , I hope its her voice that sends me too wherever I'm supposed to be going. I know I'll be blessed, Thank you Connie, from a loyal and faithful fan.

Terry Fox , Sylvania Ohio said...

Thanks for not giving up. I just watched where the boys are and your voice and beauty made me smile. You bring many fabulous memories in my home. Love you bunches.

Anonymous said...

To Connie... I have spent 30 years of active military service in the U.S.Navy and at 80 years of age, one of my greatest moments in life would be to listen to your beautiful voice singing our NATIONAL ANTHEM at either the ARMY -NAVY football game or better still at the NFL championship game! You have sooo many followers that it would be A MOMENT TO REMEMBER.

Thomas W Kelly III
Captain U.S. Navy (ret)