There are three “Connie’s” that I most remember from the 1950’s & 60’s – Connie Francis, Connie Stevens and Connie whats-her-name that stole my 10th grade boyfriend. I got him back but that’s the last time EVER that we’ll mention THAT Connie ;- ). For now I want to feature the beautiful Connie Francis, my all-time favorite female singer.
She was the darling of the 50’s and 60’s in America as well as in Europe and made 31 albums & 26 hit singles. In 1960, she became the first female singer to have two consecutive No. 1 singles, both on the top for two weeks: "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own." That same year, she became the youngest headliner to sing at the Copacabana in New York City as well as in Las Vegas. She also recorded in 15 languages. Her most famous (and beautiful) foreign language album, to me, was “Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites”. Of course I knew NO Italian but I could sing along with every track – phonetically.
Early in her career, she was introduced to and fell in love with Bobby Darin but her very controlling father disapproved of him & when he learned that Darin had suggested the two elope her father ran him off at gun point & told him never to see his daughter again. She only saw him to more times for TV programs they both appeared on and she learned sadly learned of his marriage to Sandra Dee on the radio. She later said that not marrying Darin was the biggest mistake of her life.
Her fabulous career included 4 movies for MGM: Where the Boys Are (1960); Follow the Boys (1963) (the title song of which became a No. 17 Billboard single for Francis); Looking for Love (1964), and When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965). I saw them all when they came out but recently caught “Looking For Love” on a late night classic movie channel. It was so adorable – sweet, innocent, silly, chauvinistic - demonstrating the spillover of the 50’s women’s roles to the not yet women’s movement of the later 60’s. It was a very confusing time & I remember it well. And it was a time when women were still dressing to the nines and oh my, the clothes worn in that film were to DIE for! Connie was also recognized for the gorgeous fashions she always appeared in.
Some of the beautiful "looks" of Connie Francis
Her later life was filled with heartbreak and tragedy. She was brutalized and raped in 1974. She had 4 failed marriages, and was plagued with chronic depression which hospitalized her many times and kept her from performing for many years. In 1989, she resumed her performing career. Her most recent CD The American Tour (2004) contains performances from recent shows. In late December 2004, Francis headlined in Las Vegas for the first time since 1989. In March and October 2007, Francis performed to sold-out crowds at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. She appeared in concert in Manila, the Philippines, on Valentine's Day 2008. In 2010, she also appeared at Las Vegas Hilton. If I’d known she was in Vegas last year I would have BEEN THERE! My "bucket list" will never be complete until I can see this incredible lady perform.
Unfortunately & incredibly, as of this writing she is still not in the rock & roll hall of fame, yet she was the first female pop star worldwide. She has also done a lot of work for victims' rights since her rape in the '70s.
So for now, while I’m working on my current project, it’s going to be Connie Francis week here at Sponge Curlers & I will feature some of my favorite tunes by her on my playlist. I hope you enjoy them too. I have gleaned all information from Wikipedia, and added some of my own comentary.
Have a GREAT treasure hunting weekend!