a1955 was the year that would see rock ‘n’ roll explode on the scene and change popular music for a generation defining era. There were less than a handful of female artists who were getting noticed in this male dominated genre. It was also the year that the first single from Connie Francis was to be released. After trying and failing to get a record deal, MGM finally decided to give Connie a chance, offering her a twenty-side deal. The first single, by no means rock ‘n’ roll, came and went without a great deal of interest, MGM continued to release a further eight singles, none of which got anywhere near the charts. After nine unsuccessful singles (18 sides) MGM was finally ready to drop her from their roster. Her father had other ideas, and for over a year, he had pleaded with her and MGM to record an old standard written in 1923, “Who’s Sorry Now”. With only 16 minutes remaining at that final session, Connie’s father gave her no choice other than to record the song about which he’d been hounding her for so long. On January 1st, 1958, three months after that session, America’s teenage icon, Dick Clark, turned Connie’s world around. He just happened to pick up a record that had been lying on his desk for months and played it that day, liked it and continued to play it every day until April, when “Who’s Sorry Now” had sold close to a million records and a massive hit in both America and Britain. A surprised Connie listened to Dick Clark announce “Here’s a new girl singer, and she’s headed straight for the #1 spot!” At the time, she had not met Dick Clark, the national spokesman for every teenager in America, but soon after they met, they developed a close that lasted until his death.
Following the success of “Who’s Sorry Now”, Connie embarked on a nonstop schedule, filled with endless recording sessions, appearances on every TV variety show going, and record-breaking appearances at America’s top nightclubs. At New York City’s, Copacabana, she became the biggest female draw for the next 11 years. Throughout the 60’s, she continued to break all records at Hollywood’s famous Coconut Grove, the Lincoln Center and countless others. She was named “America’s Sweetheart of Song”. A year later, the market was flooded with everything Connie Francis, from diaries to scrapbooks, to autograph books, charm bracelets, record carriers, coats, scarves, sportswear, t-shirts, jackets, to posters. Connie also experienced many firsts in her early career. At 22, she was the youngest performer ever to star at the Copa, the first to land her own ABC-TV network special and also at 22, the youngest-ever star to headline in Las Vegas at the Sahara Hotel and the first female to have a million-selling rock ’n’ roll hit, “Stupid Cupid”, written by her friends, Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield. She appeared on every popular TV variety show, from The Ed Sullivan Show to The Joey Bishop Show, It was on a milestone appearance on The Perry Como Show, when she introduced a song called “Mama”, culled from her first Italian album that, for the very first time, instead of being considered only a rock ’n’ roll singer, Connie Francis became an overnight sensation with the adults; and it was they who were responsible for sell out concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
She had already established herself as the all-time best-selling female record star in England, and all other English-speaking countries from Australia to South Africa, and soon achieved similar status in Germany, Italy, Latin America and Japan, singing her massive hits in their native languages. It was early 1958 that she rocketed to the top of the Hit Parade in Britain too and in doing so, she achieved the distinction of being the first girl to top the Hit Parade in Great Britain for many months, and the only girl to occupy the number one slot in 1958. She continued to make Hit Parade headlines with her single releases and between her visit here in August 1958 and her return in February 1959, she was to be heard on many successful singles and sold seven million records in a twelve-month period. Connie was young, she was wholesome and she was singing with a rock ‘n’ roll beat. Hit followed hit for this globe trotting star, and by 1960 she made it into films in her own right, appearing in Where The Boys Are, with the title song written by her long time friends Howie Greenfield & Neil Sedaka. It was recorded in nine different languages and topped the charts in 15 countries. Her success continued throughout the 1960s and well beyond.
This collection gathers tracks featured on some of her best-loved late 1950s and early 1960s EPs. Connie at her best, an incomparable artist, stylist and vocalist who found her niche in that exciting musical era that spanned the fifties and sixties, and went on to worldwide stardom