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1960s / Gene Pitney 24 Hours From Tulsa
Gene Pitney passed away last April, 2006, of natural causes, he was 65, but he left a legacy of hits going back to the early 60's and had been touring for the last 40 years. His songs have been recorded by some of the world's biggest stars, Hello Mary Lou was released by Rick Nelson, Roy Orbison recorded Today's Teardrops as the B-side to his million-selling single, Blue Angel. He is also credited with helping the Rolling Stones break into the American market with his endorsement of the band. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote his hit That Girl Belongs to Yesterday which became the Stones duo's first composition to reach the American charts. Gene once recalled how his first solo performance at school degenerated into an embarrassing whimper as he was petrified by the expectant audience. Overcoming his nerves over the next few years, Pitney learned to play the guitar and piano and formed a schoolboy band. It was during one of their gigs that his distinctive voice was discovered by the proverbial "fat man with a cigar" who took him off to New York, and the rest was history.