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APRIL 1999

Part IV

by Jerry Osborne
Jerry Osborne from

September 1991


 Welcome to PART FOUR of the interview that appeared in the September, 1991 edition of DISCoveries Magazine.

 

INTRODUCTION
There are only two female singing stars whose name is found among the Top 20 in all three chart achievement categories: Most Charted Singles; Most Top 40 Songs; and Most Top 10 Hits.  One is Aretha Franklin - the other is Connie Francis.

-For the record, the records speak for themselves: 56 charted singles; 35 Top 40 hits; and 16 Top 10 hits.


-From 1958 until the British invasion, Connie Francis and Brenda Lee were clearly the queens of rock and roll, not just in America but worldwide.  However, looking just at the top artists, overall, of the rock era, as compiled by Joel Whitburn from Billboard, Connie is ranked No. 18, and ranks behind only one other lady singer, Aretha Franklin (No. 8).


-To fully comprehend the incredible recording success of Connie Francis, though, it's important to keep in mind, no matter how immense she was in the States, she was never as popular here as she was internationally.


-Yes, for the record & the records, Connie Francis is clearly a Promethean performer - and interviewing this courageous lady was a rare treat.


INTERVIEW - PART IV

DISCoveries: And you also used the Jordanaires.
Connie and The Jordanaires

Connie:
"I had the Jordanaires in the background, yes. So I really had a great foundation.  One of the reasons, I feel, so many of my records sold (they say 80 or 90 million but that doesn't count bootlegs, which is about three times as many as the legal records. So we may be talking about 300,000,000 records), is because I sang so many different kinds of things.  I was singing Italian as a kid, and so the first time I went to London my father said cut an Italian album  , then a Jewish album  and a Spanish album  and so forth.  He used to dump these monstrous projects in my lap, like he just said it and that was it.  But I would do it because he was always right.  He would watch TV shows like Mitch Miller and Lawrence Welk, and these type shows were his favorites.  But they were favorites of the rest of America too.  So he had kind of a feel for what people would want to hear.  That's why he had me doing all these different types of songs, to widen my appeal."


Disc:
"He was pushing you to broaden your adult appeal."


Connie:
"That's right.  He once said to me "what do you want to do, work Allan Freed's Brooklyn Paramount shows forever?" Before I did Mama on the Perry Como show, everyone considered me a rock and roller, even though Who's Sorry Now wasn't a rock and roll song.  Still they pegged me a rock and roller because of Stupid Cupid and Lipstick On Your Collar, etc. and the adults didn't pay me any mind.  Not true in foreign countries.  Overseas, especially in England, I was an adult star before I was an adult star in America.  But here, they didn't take me serious until that night on the Perry Como Show.  I remember it was a Wednesday night, and I had a concert at Carnegie Hall the following Sunday and only two hundred seats had been sold.  Within 24 hours after doing the Perry Como Show they were scalping tickets to get into my show at Carnegie Hall.


DISCoveries: "An obvious turning point in your career."


Connie:  "It was the turning point of my career.  Immediately the distributors called for a single of Mama and it became an international hit.  I felt very lucky.  As I was leaving for England, my father said, "Connie, I forgot to tell you to include Mama on your Italian album." I said okay and that was that.  I had never heard the song before.  And when I recorded it and those other Italian tunes I didn't speak Italian.  I did them all
phonetically."

DISCoveries:
"Didn't you pick up some Italian at home from your grandparents?"


Connie:
  "The only Italian words I knew were the curse words I heard from my Grandma."


DISCoveries:
  "And you didn't want them on the album."


Connie:  "No. But I didn't speak Italian.  I did it all phonetically.  Only after I came back from Italy the third time did I speak Italian, I had a teacher with me 24 hours a day to teach me Italian."

Well, that's about it for now.
Next update - Connie's Singles!  I may update at any time. Make sure you email me to be notified when I do!
 *
Thought You Missed Something?  No! You Haven't!

You are at Part 4
Go to:

Part 01 Part 09
Part 02 Part 10
Part 03 Part 11
Part 05 Part 12
Part 06 Part 13
Part 07 Part 14
Part 08

I've loved Connie's music for about 51 years now. I try to get my hands on as much of her music as possible. If you'd like to see what I've amassed over the years; and, by the way still am collecting; check out the pages below. If nothing else, they are informative and entertaining!

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