WPON-AM 1460 - Insane World Of Mike Sain - Gene Pitney Tribute - April 12, 2006

The "Insane World Of Mike Sain" airs every Wednesday at 9:00 AM Eastern Time on WPON-AM 1460 Detroit. Today's show was in tribute to Gene Pitney who passed away last Wednesday. All songs listed below are ones performed by Gene Pitney unless otherwise noted. A few songs by other artists that Gene Pitney wrote were also included in this morning's playlist. Also in today's show, WPON deejay Dr. Roman Franklin (a.k.a. Doctor of Doo-Wop) phoned in and shared some interesting facts regarding "He's A Rebel" as played today (see below).

  • Every Breath I Take - 1961
  • I'm Gonna Be Strong - 1964
  • Rubber Ball - Bobby Vee - 1961
  • It Hurts To Be In Love - 1964
  • Mecca - 1963
  • He's A Rebel - The Crystals - 1962
  • Town Without Pity - 1962 (by request)
  • Last Chance To Turn Around - 1965
  • Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa - 1963
  • (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance - 1962
  • Looking Through The Eyes Of Love - 1965
  • She's A Heartbreaker - 1968 (by request)


  • "Every Breath I Take," which was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, became a hit for Gene Pitney in 1961. This song later also became a country chart hit for Eme in 1981.
  • "I'm Gonna Be Strong," which was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, became a hit for Gene Pitney in 1964. The B-side of "I'm Gonna Be Strong" was "E Se Domani (If Tomorrow)" sung in Italian. ("E Se Domani" was one of many foreign language songs recorded by Pitney starting from around the mid 1960s as he began amassing a wider international fan base.)
  • Gene Pitney wrote many oldies classics that became hits for other artists, including Bobby Vee's "Rubber Ball" as played this morning. "Rubber Ball" became a Top 10 hit for Bobby Vee in 1961 and was one of many in a long string of hits from 1959-1970 for this teen idol.
  • "It Hurts To Be In Love," which was written by Howard Greenfield and Helen Miller, became a hit for Gene Pitney in 1964. This song later also charted for Dan Hartman in 1981.
  • "Mecca," which was written by Neval Nader and John Gluck, Jr., became a hit for Pitney in 1963. "Mecca" begins and ends with an evocative Middle Eastern-sounding instrumental.
  • Gene Pitney's "He's A Rebel" topped the pop charts for the Crystals in 1962. Ironically, this song, which debuted on 9/8/1962, was what kept Gene Pitney from scoring his own #1 Pop/Rock hit with "Only Love Can Break A Heart" which debuted on 9/15/1962 and peaked at #2. "He's A Rebel" was also a minor hit for Vikki Carr in 1962 (peaking at only #115). (This song later also turned up the B-side of the first release of Debby Boone's 1977 hit, "You Light Up My Life" which was first released on Warner 8446, then later as Warner/Curb 8455 with a different B-side.) Note: According to Dr. Roman Franklin of WPON who phoned in during today's show, it was actually Darlene Love and her backup singers who performed "He's A Rebel" although the Crystals were the ones who were credited with this song.
  • Gene Pitney's 1962 hit, "Town Without Pity," which was written by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin, was the title song from the 1961 movie starring Kirk Douglas. This song was later also used as part of the soundtrack for "SubUrbia" (1996), "Look Who's Talking" (1989) and "Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat" (1991).
  • "Last Chance To Turn Around" (written by Millrose, Bruno, and Elgin) became a hit for Pitney in 1965. This is a song about a love gone wrong in which the narrarator gets fed up, decides to leave town, and passes up one last chance to turn back around at the Brooklyn exit.
  • "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa" is one of several Gene Pitney hits written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Randy Barlow later had a hit with this song on the Country charts in 1977.
  • "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" is another Burt Bacharach and Hal David song that became a hit for Pitney in the early 1960s. "Liberty Valance" was recorded for but was not included as part of the soundtrack of the 1962 movie starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. (This song was later included in the soundtracks for "Tin Men" (1987) and Matinee (1993).)
  • "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love" by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil became a hit for Pitney in 1965 and later also charted for the Partridge Family in 1973.
  • "She's A Heartbreaker" was written by Charlie Foxx and Jerry Williams and became a hit for Gene Pitney in 1968.

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