Saturday, June 16, 2012
FRANKIE LAINE - I'M GONNA BE STRONG
Both could be considered "histrionic" tenors (though Frankie's voice was much huskier than Gene's), both had a flair for country & western (check out Gene's duets with then-labelmates George Jones and Melba Montgomery for a slice of pure pleasure, and of course Frankie will forever be known for "Rawhide") and rhythm and blues (Gene's "You're A Heartbreaker" is KILLER blue-eyed soul, and Frankie was the ORIGINAL blue-eyed soul brother, selling TONS of records in the R&B market before anyone ever heard of the term "crossover"). Plus they shared an Italian heritage (Pitney was half-Italian, half-Polish, Laine's real surname was LoVecchio) which brought an extra dimension to their singing.
Anyway, take a listen to this record. The arrangement (by Spector right-hand man Jack Nietzsche) was completely ripped off for the Pitney version, and Terry Melcher did a heck of a job making Frankie Laine sound up-to-date (at least for 1963).
Of course, no one in the world was ever gonna touch Gene Pitney on this song - the high note Gino hits at the end of his version is one of the greatest moments in the history of recorded music. But Frankie Laine comes in a close second.
Frankie Laine - I'm Gonna Be Strong (Columbia 4-42884) - 1963