Connie Francis (born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero; December 12, 1938) is an American pop singer of Italian heritage and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1950s and 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw. Despite several severe interruptions in her career, Francis is still active as a recording and performing artist (as of November 2011).
Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero was born in the Italian Down Neck, or Ironbound, neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, as first child to George Franconero, sr, and Ida Franconero née Ferrari-di Vito, spending her first years in a Brooklyn neighborhood on Utica Avenue/St. Marks Avenue before the family moved to New Jersey.
In her autobiography Who's sorry now?, published in 1984, Francis recalls that she was encouraged by her father, George Franconero, Sr., to appear regularly at talent contests, pageants and other neighborhood festivities from the age of 4 as a singer and accordion player.
Francis attended Newark Arts High School in 1951 and 1952. She and her family moved to Belleville, New Jersey, where she graduated Salutatorian from Belleville High School Class of 1955.
During this time, Francis continued to perform at neighborhood festivities and talent shows (some of which were broadcasted on television), appearing alternately as Concetta Franconero and Connie Franconero. Under the latter name she also appeared on NBC's variety show "Startime Kids" between 1953 and 1955.
During the rehearsals for her appearance on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts", Francis was advised by Arthur Godfrey himself to change her stage name to Connie Francis for the sake of an easier pronunciation. Godfrey also told her to drop the accordion – advice she gladly followed, for she had begun to hate the large and heavy instrument. Around the same time, Francis took a job as a singer for Demonstration Records. These records were brought to the attention of established singers and/or their management who would subsequently choose or decline to record the song for a professional commercial record.
In 1955, the "Startime Kids" went off air. In May that same year, George Franconero Sr. and Francis' manager George Scheck brought up the cash for a recording session of four songs which they would try to sell to a major record label as Francis' own act. The story goes that every record label she had tried had turned her down, mainly because owing to her job as a demo singer, Francis merely sounded like a copy of other singers of the day like Kitty Kallen or Kay Starr but had not yet developed a distinctive sound of her own.
Finally, even when MGM Records decided to sign a contract with her, it was basically because one track she had recorded, "Freddy", happened to be the name of the son of a company executive, Harry A. Myerson, who thought of this song as a nice birthday gift. Hence, "Freddy" was released as Francis' first single, which would turn out as a commercial failure just as her following eight solo singles.
Despite these failures, Francis was hired to record the vocals for Tuesday Weld "singing" scenes in the 1956 movie "Rock, Rock, Rock", and for Freda Holloway in the 1957 Warner Brothers rock and roll movie "Jamboree".
In the fall of 1957, Francis enjoyed her first chart success with a duet single she had recorded with Marvin Rainwater: "The Majesty of Love", b/w "You, My Darlin' You", peaked at # 93 on Billboard's Hot 100.
But her minor chart success came too late – Francis' recording contract consisted of ten solo singles and one duet single. Even though success finally had seemed to come with "The Majesty of Love", Francis was informed by MGM Records that her contract would be discontinued after her last solo single.
Francis considered a career in medicine and was about to accept a four-year scholarship offered at New York University. At what was to have been her final recording session for MGM on October 2, 1957, she recorded a cover version of the 1923 song "Who's Sorry Now?", written by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. Francis has said that she recorded it at the persistence of her father, who was convinced it stood a chance of becoming a hit because it was a song adults already knew and that teenagers would dance to if it had a contemporary arrangement.
Francis, who didn't like the song at all and had been arguing about it with her father heatedly, delayed the recording of the three other songs during the session so much, that in her opinion there was no time left on the continuously running recording tape. But her father insisted, and when the recording "Who's Sorry Now?" was finished, there were only a few seconds left on the tape.
The single seemed to go unnoticed like all previous releases – just as Francis had predicted. But on January 1, 1958, the song debuted on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand". By mid-year, over a million copies had been sold, and Francis was suddenly launched into worldwide stardom. In April 1958, "Who's Sorry Now" reached # 1 on the UK Singles Chart and # 4 in the US. For the next four years, Francis was voted the "Best Female Vocalist" by "American Bandstand" viewers.
And we stop the bio here....at "Who's sorry now?".....and so, Connie's early work: 1955-58.
01. Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer -Arthur Godfrey Talent Show 12-20-1950
02. Daddy's Little Girl -Arthur Godfrey Talent Show 12-20-1950
03. The Wheel of Fortune -1952 "battle of the ages" -TV
04. You Belong to Me -1952 "battle of the ages" -TV
05. Freddy 1955
06. Didnt I Love You Enough 1955
07. (Oh Please) Make Him Jealous 1955
08. Goody goodbye 1955
09. Are You Satisfied 1955
10. My Treasure 1955
11. My First Real Love 1956
12. Believe In Me (Credemi) 1956
13. Send for my baby 1956
14. Forgetting 1956
15. I Never Had A Sweetheart 1956
16. Little Blue Wren-1956-dubbed voice for Tuesday Weld "Rock rock rock"
17. Everyone Needs Someone 1956
18. My Sailor Boy 1956
19. No Other One 1957
20. I Leaned On A Man 1957
21. Eighteen 1957
22. Faded Orchid 1957
23.The Majesty Of Love-w/ Marvin Rainwater-1957
24. You, My Darlin' You-w/ Marvin Rainwater-1957
25. You Were Only Fooling (Whille I Was Falling in Love) 1957
26. Who's Sorry Now 1957
27. I'm Beginning to See the Light 1958
28. How Can I Make You Believe in Me 1950s
29. My Sister's Clothes 50s