Connie Francis-19 Original Albums & Bonus Track
Connie Francis (born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, December 12, 1938) is an American pop singer and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw. Despite several severe interruptions in her career, she is still active as a recording and performing artist.
Following another idea from her father, Francis traveled to London in August 1959 to record an Italian album at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios. Entitled Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites, the album was released in November 1959. It soon entered the album charts where it remained for 81 weeks, peaking at number 4. To this day, it is still Francis’ most successful album. “Mama,” the single taken from the album, reached number 8 in the United States and number 2 in the United Kingdom.
Following this success, Francis recorded seven more albums of “favorites” between 1960 and 1964, including Jewish, German, and Irish, among others. These albums marked Francis’ transition from the youth-oriented rock ‘n’ roll music to adult contemporary music, which George Franconero, Sr. had realized to be necessary if his daughter wanted to pursue a successful longterm career in music.
Nevertheless, Francis continued to record singles aimed at the youth-oriented market. Among her top-ten hits on the Hot 100 were “Breakin’ in a Brand New Broken Heart” (1961, number 7), “When the Boy in Your Arms (Is the Boy in Your Heart)” (1961, number 10), “Second Hand Love” (1962, number 9), and “Where the Boys Are” (1961, number 4). The last became her signature tune and was also the theme song of Francis’ first motion picture of the same name. The movie also introduced the concept of spring break, as the once sleepy town of Fort Lauderdale became the hotspot for college students on their spring vacation in the wake of the movie’s success. Although she appeared in three further motion pictures, Francis was never satisfied with herself as an actress, and after appearing in a made-for-television movie in 1966, she declined further offers.
The success of “Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites” in late 1959/early 1960 led Francis to become one of the first American artists to record in other languages regularly. She was to be followed by other major British and American recording stars including Wanda Jackson, Cliff Richard, Petula Clark, Brenda Lee, the Supremes, Peggy March, Pat Boone, Lesley Gore, the Beatles and Johnny Cash, among many others. In her autobiography, Francis mentioned that in the early years of her career, the language barrier in certain European countries made it difficult for her songs to get airplay, especially in Germany.
Francis used these reflections as the basis for her April 1960 recording, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool.” Although this single became her first number 1 on the US charts (immediately followed by her second number 1, “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own”), and its B-side “Jealous of you (Tango della Gelosia)” became a huge hit in Italy, it failed to make any impression on the German charts.
Veteran lyricist Ralph Maria Siegel penned a set of German lyrics, named “Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel”, which, after some friction between Francis and her MGM executives, was recorded and released. The song peaked at number 1 in Germany for two weeks, as it did in many other countries, and Francis had six more number 1 hits on the German charts.