The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


back to profile

Gene Pitney

1940

Gene Pitney is born in Hartford, Connecticut.

1961

“(I Wanna) Love My Life Away” becomes Gene Pitney’s first Top Forty hit. He produces and plays every instrument except bass.

1961

While Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” tops the charts, its Gene Pitney-penned flip side, “Hello Mary Lou,” becomes a Top Ten hit in its own right – and one of Nelson’s best-loved recordings.

1961

“Every Breath I Take,” by Gene Pitney, just misses the Top Forty. The song, written by Gary Goffin and Carole King, features a monumental Phil Spector production.

1962

Gene Pitney’s “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for a Western starring John Wayne and James Stewart, reaches #4.

1962

Gene Pitney’s “Only Love Can Break a Heart” peaks at #2. It’s held back from the top by the Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel,” penned by Pitney and produced by Phil Spector.

1964

“That Girl Belongs to Yesterday,” by Gene Pitney, enters the Hot 100. Written by Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is their first song to chart in America.

1964

“It Hurts to Be in Love,” one of Gene Pitney’s hardest-rocking hits, climbs to #7.

1964

“I’m Gonna Be Strong,” by Gene Pitney, reaches #2 on the U.K. singles charts. In the U.S., it hits #9.

1965

The versatile Gene Pitney releases an album of duets with George Jones, recorded in Nashville and entitled ‘George Jones and Gene Pitney.’

1966

The internationally popular Gene Pitney hits #8 on the U.K. charts with “Just One Smile,” a Randy Newman composition.

1968

Gene Pitney cracks the U.S. Top Forty for the last time with “She’s a Heartbreaker,” which reaches #16.

1989

“Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart,” by Marc Almond, tops the U.K. singles charts. A duet with Gene Pitney, the song’s author, it is Pitney first #1 hit as a recording artist.

1995

The 51-track double-CD Gene Pitney is released

2002

Gene Pitney is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the seventeenth annual induction dinner. Darlene Love is his presenter.

2006

Gene Pitney died while on tour in England.