Sunday, January 11, 2009

Soundtrack Songs: Town Without Pity

Gene Pitney: Town Without Pity


Gene Pitney started his music career with Gene & the Genials; by the time of his death, he had over 20 songs chart in the Top 20. He also wrote hit tunes for others, such as He's a Rebel for The Crystals and Ricky Nelson's Hello Mary Lou.

His first big success came in 1961, with his performance of the title song from the film, Town Without Pity, which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song in a Motion Picture and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Pitney was the first Pop singer to perform at the Oscars, singing Town Without Pity at the 34th Annual Academy Awards show.

Gene would've had two soundtracks under his belt if not for a squabble between his music publishers and Paramount Pictures. Though The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was a Top 10 hit in 1962, business decisions caused it to be left off the John Ford film of the same name.

Pitney last charted in 1989 with a duet with Marc Almond of a remake of Gene's 1967 song, Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart. It brought him his first UK #1 hit in 1989, staying there for 4 weeks. In 2002, after three decades in the music business, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pitney died in 2006 at the age of 66. Fittingly, his final show ended with an encore of Town Without Pity.

Take these eager lips and hold me fast
I'm afraid this kind of joy can't last
How can we keep love alive
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two
What a town without pity can do

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