Memories-Part 1 banner





THE  MEMORIES
Posted March 3 2002

REVIEWS

1966 -  (Source: Variety) - Congo Room,  Hotel Sahara,  Las Vegas, NV - November 8 - December 11, 1966.

"Stunning Connie Francis, yummy as a wedding cake icing in glitter-studded white lace evening pajamas, makes it a perfect evening at the Sahara.
In an entirely new program, with the exception of  her heart-wrenching "Mama", the top ranking femme singing star enchants with medleys of rock and roll ditties, a wow batch of bossa-novas, a tuneful salute to George Gerschwin compositions and a trio of sock show tunes. Interspersed are Connie's pulse-hopping version of "What the World Needs Now", "Witchcraft" and her thrilling "The Impossible Dream" closer.
A witty gal, with a cute way with a comedy line, she tosses in topical comments plus a funny bit on the strange names of musical groups, and even stranger titles of their hit tunes, in Variety's current best-selling charts. 
There is no faulting Connie Francis and her spine-tingling way with a song - ...Joe Mazzu is her musical conductor."

1967 - NITERY REVIEWS - (Daily) Variety,  Fri. April 21, 1967.   The Sahara, Las Vegas, NV.

"Las Vegas - April 20.- In her current stand, Connie Francis joyfully tells of her forthcoming marriage, and it's possible that romance has given her more animation and more flair for comedy than she's ever had. 
She jumps on the "Cabaret" and "Winchester Cathedral" bandwagons for her two first numbers, and pleasantly sells a singalong which includes "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" , "Mas Que Nada" and her trademark "Mama".
She also does an amusing novelty, "Would you believe it?", in which she explains why the entire world is Jewish.  She salutes Broadway's "Mame" and "Hello Dolly", bowing off with a fine "Born Free".
Joe Mazzu conducts the Louis Basil orchestra (21) for Miss Francis."

1961- Album Review - NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (UK) - "Connie Francis sings "Never On Sunday" and Other Title Songs From  Motion Pictures."  (MGM)

"And a great job she makes of them, too! Connie gives a dramatic intensity and a clipped precision to 12 famous theme songs from films, and throughout there's a country-and-western sound about her singing and the accompaniment by the Jordanaires (enlarged into mixed-choir size) and Cliff Parman's beaty orchestra.  Connie injects life into the chirpy, cheeky "Never On Sunday" and uses her considerable vocal range well in "Three Coins In A Fountain", High Noon" and "Moulin Rouge".   She is more tender in "Tammy" and very carefree in the Latin-American "Anna".  Another hit lp for Miss Francis."

1962 - Single review - UK - December 1962 - Richard Attenborough RECORD MAIL (E.M.I.) - Connie Francis: I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter / Pretty Llittle Baby  (MGM 1185)

"Connie has found the right way to beat the cold on these long winter days and nights...she's got herself a boy-friend.  Rhythmically, it's a twist, with a nice, uncluttered accompaniment with Connie in top vocal form.  Number starts slow, but it is not long before we're really moving through one of her finest sides.
Rather a cute one on the flip too, concerned with puppy love.  It's slower than the topper. Very nice."

1966 - POP SPOTLIGHT (A BILLBOARD REVIEW) USA - Album review - "Movie Greats Of  The 60's" - Connie Francis (MGM E/SE 4382)

"In a well flavoured program of motion picture hit tunes of the 60's,  Miss Francis has a winner in these exceptional interpretations.  Her swing treatment freshens "Call Me Irresponsible", and her sensitive feel for "I Will Wait For You" is well done.  "Forget Domani" with a bright arrangement by Don Costa is a stand-out."

1966 - Album review - NEW RECORD MIRROR - UK (NOV. 12TH, 1966 - (Norman Jopling / Peter Jones) - "Movie Greats Of The 60'S" - Connie Francis

"Connie's latching on these tunes, many of which are some of the best written today, was a shrewd idea.  She sings delicately, or when required quite powerful, through tunes like "Strangers In the Night" and "Somewhere My Love".  All of the songs are familiar.  Despite this being about her millionth lp, she still churns them out good." 



1963 - UK review 1963 (further data unknown to me) - CONNIE FRANCIS - If My Pillow Could Talk / Lollipop Lips (MGM 1202)

"Piano and clapping hands introduce the latest from Connie, and this should take her right back into the Top Ten. Tune and arrangement are breezy enough, but the lyric is sad and wistful.  If Connie's pillow could talk it would tell her boyfriend about all the sleepless nights she's had.  Organ comes in half-way through, and Connie sings with herself in a style reminiscent of some of her earlier hits."

1962 - UK review -December 1962 from DISC - Connie Francis: I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter / Pretty Little Baby  (MGM 1185)

"Connie keeps to the up-tempo and you'll go twisting with her to keep warm this winter, all right.  Double tracking on voice and orchestra lays down and infectious beat.  A first-rate disc for parties around this time of the year - and early next year, too.
Miss Francis is in happy  romantic voice as she hands this one out.  Some good instrumental moments, too, will please the dancers. 
"Pretty little baby" on the other side has a quieter but no less happier rythm.  Connie goes into the Latin field for this pleasant ballad, and there will be many individual sales for this half.  In fact, with these contrasting dance rythms the disc may become a double header."

1966 - USA album review BILLBOARD REVIEW PANEL (1963) "Live At The Sahara in Las Vegas"  (MGM E/SE 4411)

"The excitement and creativity behind the exceptional SRO Francis nightclub act is captured on this disk recorded live during her performance in Las Vegas.    Her patter, her moods, and delivery are captivating.  Her firey version of "La Bamba" is among the best.  On the ballad side her moving standby "Mama" is nothing short of sensational. "Sunrise, Sunset" is another hit. "

August 27th, 1966 - Billboard review - SO NICE (Summer Samba) CONNIE FRANCIS / MGM 13578; Johnny Mathis MERCURY 72610.

"The instrumental chart climber by Walter  Wanderly is given two strong vocal treatments by two top stars.  The Francis version has a little of  the flavour of Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night",  while the Mathis version is a warm, lush treatment.  Both should prove chart contenders.

1965 - UK album review New Record Mirror - Connie Francis All Time International Favorites (MGM C 1012)

"This is a good album from Connie.  She specialises in singing tunes from other lands, but this album, somewhat of a mixture, is very effective. Her voice is clear and not at all whiny and her version of  "And I Love Him" is beautiful.  Other goodies on here include a dramatic but not overpowering "What Now My Love" and a crisp "Milord".  Plenty of other English and European favorites here." (Four Stars).

196? - UK EP review from RECORD MAIL - Connie's American Hits -  MGM EP 769 - Hollywood / No One / When the Boy In Your Arms / Dreamboat

"This quartet of Connie's American top-sellers has never been released in this country.  They will be welcomed by her many fans, however, for they are typically top-class material.  It was particularly interesting to hear "When the Boy In Your Arms", for this is her version of the song which was such a resounding success here for  Cliff Richard.  John D. Loudermilk gets composer credits for the lusty, rocking "Hollywood" and the moody beater "Dreamboat".  "No One" is a fine showcase for Connie's plaintive ballad style." 

1966 - USA Billboard review  (Oct 15, 1966) - Connie Francis - Spanish Nights and You - MGM 13610

"Intriguing rhythmic ballad has the ingredients of the Martino winner "Spanish Eyes".  Top Francis performance."
 

Posted March 25 2002
 




Jan writes:  "As a treasure-seeker I have found so many memories of Connie Francis among my souvenirs, that I'll probably be able to entertain you all with them this whole year."
*****

(Interview)

This is an article that was published in 1960 in a British rock and roll-weekly.  It is one of the oldest things I found.

New Musical Express (UK), Friday, May 13, 1960 - CONNIE FRANCIS SAYS POP IS HEALTHY !  by Derek Johnson.

"Encouraging, healthy and gratifying!" 
That's the Connie Francis verdict on today's pop music scene - the picture she paints of current trends in Tin Pan Alley, for she believes that many of the present hit records simply wouldn't have sold a couple of years ago, but since then there's been a distinct broadening of tastes in pop music appreciation.

"People are forever claiming that rock is dead" she told me as we took tea in her London hotel. "But something far more pleasing and significant has happened.  Rock is no longer a novelty - it's been completely accepted.  And in years to come, future generations will regard it as the pop music of our day."

Connie maintains that this infiltration of rock into pop has given the public a much wider scope of enjoyment.  She believes for instance that songs such as "Mack the Knife" and "Green Fields" would never have sold in quantity two years ago because the teenage fans were not then prepared to accept anything other than basic beat.

"I could certainly never have recorded a song like "Mama" in those days, she assured me. "Quite apart from it being a ballad, it happens also to be over four minutes long, and such a thing was unheard of a year or two back"

It's to Connie's credit and advantage that she is always prepared to adapt her output to meet the demand of the times.

"I shall always sing whatever is popular at the moment" she declared. "for the simple reason that I want to do my utmost to please the people who buy the discs."  After giving me the assurance that she would never neglect the youngsters, Connie advanced this intriguing theory: " Most recording artists make the mistake of securing a few hit records and then abandoning the teenagers. This has happened to every major American disc star in the last ten years." 

I tackled Connie on the subject of why she cuts many of her albums in this country, as opposed to in the American studios. 

"Let me put in this way" she explained." the States excel in rock backings.  Over here they just don't seem to have the feel or the drive.  But you have to go out of America to achieve the best and most effective string sound.  I can listen to twelve albums with only one British recording amongst them, and I can pick out the solitary British disc purely by means of its string sounds.  It's a particular sort of quality you get here, which is nothing to do with the amount of musicians used."

So Connie has crossed the Atlantic once more, this time to record three albums (of Spanish, Jewish and Italian songs), with two further LP's up her sleeve. In the meantime she's basking in the reflected glory of her "Italian Favourites" album, which was waxed in Britain last summer, and is now high on the American charts.

"I've recorded several albums in the States", she laughed. "But I had to come to this country to make my first seller.  And, of course, it was from this LP that we took my "Mama" single hit.

Connie expressed the opinion that the Italian LP has done her probably more good in America than any other single factor because it is reaching a far wider public than her usual hit parade discs.  In other words, adults are buying it as well as teenagers. 

I asked Connie about the sudden last-minute change which dropped "Teddy" as her coupling with "Mama", and substituted "Robot Man". The disc is released today (Friday) and viewers heard Connie perform both numbers on last Sunday"s Palladium TV show.

"Well, "Teddy" is a number similar to "Frankie", and you'll remember that, although "Frankie" was a hit in the States, it didn't mean much here.  We felt we'd rather give Britain a number in the "Stupid Cupid" idiom, and just at that opportune moment, along came "Robot Man". We're very excited about this song.  In fact I can tell you that it would have been on the reverse side of "Mama" in America if we'd known about it in time."

But it seemed to me that Connie was even more enthusiastic about her follow-up disc, which has just been released in the States and which will ultimately find its outlet here titled "Everybody's Somebody's Fool",  it's selling like wildfire there, and promises to be one of her biggest successes.

As Connie is so completely in touch with the present-day American scene, I asked her to tip one or two up-and-coming names which she considered were determined for wider recognition. 

"So far as the boys are concerned, watch for Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson and Neil Sedaka.  The disc fans are already very familiar with them, but I think their reputation is bound to expand beyond the limitations of the hit parade.  As for the girls, the same things goes for young Brenda Lee."

Connie herself is widening her scope at the moment, as she negotiates for a major film role in Joe Pasternak's "Where the Boys Are".  All that remains is for a couple of script alterations to be settled, and the green light will be given.  It will provide Connie with a strong dramatic role plus the opportunity to showcase a couple of songs.

Marriage?

"What's the position with you personally, Connie?" I asked her. "Any sign of marriage yet?", and the young singer put down her teacup and burst into laughter!

"Oh, my goodness, no." she chuckled. "But don't worry, I still have a few years before I finish up on the shelf". 
Connie became more serious. "Actually I wish I had more time to date" she said wistfully. "But I feel that my career is at the stage where I must devote one hundred percent of my time to it.  I don't mind to much because I love my work."

It seems that her legion of fans also love her work  judging by the amount of letters she receives.  These average about 5000 letters per week, and it appeared to me that a fair proportion of this amount was stacked in her hotel room!
Indeed, they very nearly resulted in disaster, for Connie and her fan club secretary were so busy trying to reply to them that they failed to notice the television set go up in smoke during the Royal Wedding.  Fortunately they spotted it just as it was about to burst into flames!

(END)
 

1962 - New Record Mirror, single review - UK - Connie Francis : "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You" / "Ain't That Better Baby?" (MGM 1157)
  ' EITHER HALF IS A SELLER FOR CONNIE FRANCIS'
Connie Francis  duets with herself  for the slow rocking ballad "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You", and makes a commercial success of the sentimental lyric.  Narrative break may hold back some sales ont his side of the Atlantic, but for the most part it's another carefully tailored production.  Don Costa directs the orchestra, using plenty of weeping strings and cling-cling piano. 
Stan Applebaum picks up the baton for the beefier other side. "Ain't That Better Baby" is a polished twister that should be right in the current mood. Connie pipes it out neatly.
A seller either half up. 

1965 - Single review - "Strip" - Belgium, March 27, 1965 - Connie Francis:  Ho Bisogno Di Vederti / Una  Cosa Che Non Sai  (MGM 61.106)

According to us, the most commercial hit of the whole San Remo series. "Ho Bisgno di Vederti"  in a masterly Italian way interpreted by Connie Francis.  From weeping, changing over to elated and beseeching.  An art Connie Francis is very familiar with. 
She performs this clever song brilliantly in every nuance.


Well, that's it for the first two months of Jan's memories!
If you would like to read about Jan becoming a
Connie Francis fan,

 

CLICK HERE!




"Memories" Main Page
To APRIL/MAY Memories
BACK TO "THE INCOMPARABLE CONNIE FRANCIS" DIRECTORY!

 

This site created and maintained by John A Donatelli Jr
1999-2015 John A Donatelli Jr