iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Gene Pitney

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Gene Pitney

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 02 March 2003

"Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the singer-songwriter Gene Pitney. Gene grew up in Rockville, Connecticut, the middle child of a large family. His father worked in the local mills and the family sold fruit and vegetables from their garden to supplement this income. A shy child, Gene says that performing couldn't have been further from his mind, although he enjoyed singing. His first solo performance at school resulted in an embarrassing whimper as Gene was petrified by the expectant audience.

In his teens he began to learn the guitar and piano, and formed a local band whilst at high school, finding that performing was a good way to overcome his shyness. Spotted by what Gene calls "the proverbial fat man with a cigar", he was taken to New York and recording contracts soon followed. Soon his songs were being recorded by some of the biggest stars of the time - Hello Mary Lou was released by Rick Nelson, Roy Orbison recorded Today's Teardrops as the B-side to his million-selling single, Blue Angel, and Rubber Ball became a worldwide hit for US artist Bobby Vee and UK artist Marty Wilde. By the mid sixties Gene had found international success with the Bacharach song Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa. In 1990 he had his first number one in this country with Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, a duet with Marc Almond.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: The Last Song by Elton John
Book: The Giant Book of Mensa Puzzles by Robert Allen
Luxury: Case of Opus One wine

Music Played

8 items
  • Favourite Track

    • Image for Elton John

      Elton John The Last Song

      Elton John: The One, Rocket

  • Image for Chuck Willis

    Chuck Willis C C Rider

    Atlantic Rhythm & Blues/Vol.3 1955-1958, Atlantic

  • Image for Chuck Berry

    Chuck Berry Roll Over Beethoven

    Chuck Berry's Golden Hits, Mercury

  • Image for Gillian Welch

    Gillian Welch Tear My Stillhouse Down

    Revival, Almo Sounds

  • Image for Israil Kamakaiwo'ole

    Israil Kamakaiwo'ole Over the Rainbow

    Finding Forrester/Soundtrack, Columbia

  • Image for Norah Jones

    Norah Jones Nightingale

    Come Away with Me, Blue Note

  • Image for Gipsy Kings

    Gipsy Kings Queda Te Aqui

    Love and Liberty, Columbia

  • Image for Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

    Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman Con Te Partiro - Time to Say Goodbye

    Time to Say goodbye, Coalition

Credits

Presenter
Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest
Gene Pitney

Broadcasts

Podcasts

  1. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1942-1959

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1942-1959

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  2. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1960-1969

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1960-1969

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  3. Image for Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1970-1986

    Desert Island Disc Fragment Archive 1970-1986

    Some Desert Island Discs programmes only exist in their incomplete form. They may be missing…

  4. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1951-1955

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1951-1955

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  5. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1956-1960

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1956-1960

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  6. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1961-1965

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1961-1965

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  7. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1966-1970

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1966-1970

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  8. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1971-1975

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1971-1975

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  9. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1976-1980

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1976-1980

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  10. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1981-1985

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1981-1985

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  11. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1986-1991

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1986-1991

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  12. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1991-1996

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1991-1996

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  13. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 1996-2000

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 1996-2000

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  14. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 2000-2005

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 2000-2005

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  15. Image for Desert Island Discs Archive: 2005-2011

    Desert Island Discs Archive: 2005-2011

    Castaways choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the mythical desert island.…

  16. Image for Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

    Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

    Kirsty Young asks castaways to choose eight records, a book and a luxury to take with them to the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss