Thursday, February 17, 2011

"I'm Gonna Be Strong" by Gene Pitney

Gene Pitney's influence as a songwriter casts a very long shadow indeed over American popular music; so why, then, have I chosen to feature him performing a song he didn't write on what should have been his 71st birthday? Well, because that's just what I'm like!

I'm Gonna Be Strong was originally written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Frankie Laine in 1963; it was Pitney, though, who made it a hit in 1964, using the same skills which made Town Without Pity such an era-defining smash in 1961. The first time I heard this song, of course, was when Cyndi Lauper included a version of it on her 1994 greatest hits compilation Twelve Deadly Cyns...and Then Some; as is usually the case with material as strong as this, it loses nothing in translation.

Pitney died in April 2006, in the midst of a UK tour.

*Which she'd earlier recorded with her band Blue Angel in 1980.

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