The Mrs & I sat down to a light and healthy dinner about an hour & a half ago (healthy means I had to eat a yucky salad…). Somehow, our conversation turned to the very first record album I ever bought.* It was what is now known as “a Vinyl”. A 33 1/3 rpm two sided record by Gene Pitney, featuring the songs “She’s a Heartbreaker” and “Town Without Pity”. I was 13 years old. And for money, I washed the windows of a jewelry store in downtown Sterling, Illinois every Wednesday afternoon after school. I got paid $2! On top of my 25-cent weekly allowance, I was feeling pretty well-to-do for a 13-year-oldster! I saved my earnings for a month to buy the album because I L-O-V-E-D “Heartbreaker”! My Dad found Gene’s voice annoying, so I only played the album when he wasn’t home.
After dinner, I found a whole bunch of Gene’s songs on YouTube and played She’s a Heartbreaker, and Town Without Pity, and 24 Hours From Tulsa. Then I did a search to find out what/where Gene was up to these days. Sadly, I discovered he passed away on April 5, 2006 in Cardiff, Wales after performing at St. David’s Hall. Reportedly, his last song was “Town Without Pity”. He is buried in Somers Center Cemetery in Somers, Connecticut.
A nicely written overview of Gene’s life was in the The Telegraph, dated April 6, 2006:
by Hugh Davies
The following excerpt is from the article:
“…He walked to the front of the stage to shake the hands of fans and sign their books then strolled the 500 yards to his 7th floor suite at the Hilton hotel, where he lay down fully clothed on his bed to rest. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack…”
*I remember how the topic came up… We had a Michael Bublé cd playing, and one of the songs struck me as sounding very much like Town Without Pity! Ha!