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Lest We Forget

Posted on April 5, 2006

Gene Pitney

Singer/Songwriter; Wrote “Hello Mary Lou” and “He’s A Rebel”; Performed “Town Without Pity” and “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance”


Singer/Songwriter Gene Pitney passed away Wednesday, April 5, 2006 after doing what he loved best-performing. The 65-year-old performer was found dead in his room in Wales the day after what fans are calling one of his best performances. Authorities say it appears that he died of natural causes.

During a long career, Pitney had hits as a singer – “24 Hours from Tulsa,” “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance,” and “Only Love Can Break A Heart” to name just a few. As a writer, he penned “Hello Mary Lou” for Ricky Nelson, “Rubber Ball” for Bobby Vee and “He’s A Rebel” for The Crystals. (However it’s actually Darlene Love singing the lead on “He’s A Rebel”, not a member of the Crystals.)

Pitney even crossed over onto the Country charts teaming with George Jones on songs like “I’ve Got Five Dollars and It’s Saturday Night” and “Louisiana Man”, both Top 40 Country hits in 1965.

In 1989, he made number one in the U.K. again by duetting with Marc Almond on a remake of one of his ’60s singles, “Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart.”

Gene Pitney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

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