Lou Christie

Lou Christie

Infobox musical artist
Name = Lou Christie

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Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Luigi Alfredo Giovanni Sacco
Born = Birth date and age|1943|2|19|mf=y
Origin = Glenwillard, Pennsylvania,
United States
Instrument = Vocals
Genre = Pop
Occupation = Singer-songwriter
Years_active = 1962 - present
Associated_acts = The Tammys

Lou Christie is an American singer-songwriter best known for three separate strings of pop hits in the 1960s, with notable peaks in 1963, 1966, and 1969.

Life and career

Raised in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Luigi Sacco traveled to New York after graduating from Moon Area High School and found work as a session vocalist. He also recorded a few unsuccessful discs of his own for various record labels in both New York and Pittsburgh, most notably "The Jury" (as by "Lugee & The Lions") on the Pittsburgh-based Robbee label, which achieved local success.

Another one of his singles, 1963's "The Gypsy Cried" was released in 1962 on the tiny C&C label and unexpectedly credited to "Lou Christie" without Sacco's permission. Sacco had been working on a list of potential stage names, and he has stated that he hated the name for decades afterwards: "I was pissed off about it for 20 years. I wanted to keep my name and be a one-named performer, just 'Lugee'." [ [http://www.classicbands.com/christie.html Lou Christie ] ] "The Gypsy Cried" features the vocal style that would categorize all of Christie's biggest hits: verses sung in his normal register, and then a dramatic shift to his falsetto on the choruses. After the C&C release became a hit in his home town of Pittsburgh, the song was picked up by Roulette Records and charted nationwide, peaking at #24. "The Gypsy Cried" was the first of numerous songs Christie co-wrote with his songwriting partner Twyla Herbert, a self-described eccentric and mystic, who was over twenty years older than Christie, but also shared his love of classical music. The two struck up a working relationship after Christie auditioned for her at the age of 15.

His follow-up single, "Two Faces Have I", was an even bigger hit, peaking at #6, as Christie joined Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars Tour. A third Roulette release, "How Many Teardrops" (written by Milan) stalled at #46, as Christie's career was temporarily derailed by his induction into the US Army. He would not have another charting single for two and a half years, a lifetime in 1960s pop music.

Already, Christie was frequently written off by critics as an imitator of Frankie Valli, as both men possessed similar falsetto vocals, and the ability to change almost effortlessly between it and their normal registers. Later reviewers have been less harsh, noting that Christie was one of the first singer-songwriters of the era, a status later noted by John Lennon. While a stint in the military might have ended the careers of many musicians, Christie's career would quickly be re-established after his discharge from the military, when he signed on with the MGM label.

MGM Records reportedly disliked Christie's first single for the label, with MGM's president reportedly throwing the tape into a wastepaper basket. But Christie's new management promoted the record in California, and when it gained some traction, MGM released it. "Lightnin' Strikes" would go to #1 in the U.S. on Christie's 23rd birthday, on 19 February 1966, and also climb into the U.K. top 20, becoming his first hit in that country. The song's provocative lyrics featured his signature falsetto and included a female chorus (Bernadette Carroll, Denise Ferri, and Peggy Davison) shouting "Stop!" in counterpoint to the lead vocal::"When I see lips begging to be kissed (Stop!):"I can't stop, (Stop!) no I can't stop myself! (Stop! Stop!)

But Christie's next release would inspire a firestorm of controversy and censorship. Released in the spring of 1966, "Rhapsody In The Rain" featured a haunting melody inspired by Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet", and told of a teenager's regret over his sexual experience in the back seat of a car during a rainstorm as the windshield wipers made a rhythmic sound of "together, together". Later after the romance ends, the wipers seem to say "never, never". Many radio stations banned the song, and MGM insisted on a re-recorded version that toned down the lyrical content. Despite the edited version, many stations instead played two older songs re-released by other labels Christie had once recorded for: "Outside the Gates of Heaven" (on Co & Ce Records, a successor to C&C) peaked at #45, while "Big Time" (on Colpix Records) managed to hit #95. All three singles hit the U.S. charts within three weeks of one another, in March 1966.

Whether it was the controversial lyrics or competition from the other singles released simultaneously, "Rhapsody" only managed to hit #16 in the U.S. and #37 in the UK. Christie's career seemed to be derailed once again as his followup for MGM, "Painter", which also borrowed a melody from classical music - this time from Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly" - stalled at #81. Two further MGM releases (produced by Jack Nitzsche) from 1966 missed the Billboard Hot 100 entirely, even though "If My Car Could Only Talk" (peaking at #118) seemingly revisits the ill-fated lovers from "Rhapsody".Fact|date=January 2007

After being dropped by MGM and an unfruitful stint with Columbia Records in the late 1960s, Christie teamed up with Buddah Records (a move prompted by his business manager Stan Polley) and bubblegum music record producer Tony Romeo and had a surprise Wall of Sound constant uptempo hit "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" (which Romeo wrote) in the early autumn of 1969. The song peaked at #10 in the U.S. but across the Atlantic climbed to #2 on the UK Singles Chart and thus became his biggest hit there. Promotion for the single included two distinctly different videos. One video was shot by a Miami hotel swimming pool for the Rick Shaw show, with two female singers accompanying Christie. The second video, opening with a strange sort of Uncle Sam character over a misspelled "I'm Gonna Make Your Mine" title, was shot at a muddy junk yard near a chilly river bank, with Christie singing as he strolled about the premises while the remains of former cars dropped onto a barge.

A follow up, "She Sold Me Magic" charted only in the UK, peaking at #25, and was later covered by Elton John. Conversely, "Are You Getting Any Sunshine?" only charted in America, where it reached #73.

Christie spent the early 1970s in London, largely outside of the music industry and battling drug addiction. In 1971 he released a concept album called Paint America Love and was married in London to former UK beauty queen Francesca Winfield.In 1974, Christie would try another new musical style, going country on his "Beyond The Blue Horizon" album. The title track, a remake of a hit song from 1930, written for the film "Monte Carlo", features one of Christie's strongest non-falsetto vocal performances ever. The song missed the Country charts entirely, and only made #80 on the pop chart, but managed a respectable showing at #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart, showing that his teenaged fans of ten years earlier were still supportive of him as adults. The song has been used in several film soundtracks, most notably in the 1988 film "Rain Man". It was a sign of both his up-and-down career, and his professional persistence, that "Blue Horizon" represented Christie's twelfth U.S. chart hit, on his seventh record label.

Christie became active on the oldies circuit starting in the early 1980s, and even scored a final U.S. chart hit, credited as "Summer '81 Medley" by The Cantina Band featuring Lou Christie, in 1981 - and, coincidentally, peaking at #81. On it, Christie performs a of Beach Boys classics. In 1999, Christie recorded his first all-new album since the 1970s entitled Pledging My Love. Highlights included "Rita, Joanie, And The Wayward Wind" - which seamlessly melds the Gogi Grant hit with an original Christie composition about one night stands on the Holiday Inn circuit - and a stellar remake of The Critters' "Mr. Dieingly Sad." In 2004, Christie released his first concert album Greatest Hits Live From The Bottom Line which featured studio recording "Christmas In New York" as a bonus track. In addition to the occasional new release, Christie remains a popular concert act on the oldies circuit in the U.S. and UK.

Currently, Lou has just recorded a new song entitled "Non So Perche" which he sings in Italian. It's a song he wrote to honor his Italian heritage, he says "it's my way of expressing myself". Lou plans on performing this song at the "Sanremo Music Festival" in Italy in the Spring of 2008. He has also filmed a video for the song, which can be viewed on his official website or on youtube.

Hit singles

ee also

The Tammys


External links

* [http://www.lou-christie.com/ Official website]
* [http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palladium/9229/lounews.htm Lou Christie Fan Club]
* [http://keepkey.yochanan.net/tammys.htm Lou Christie & The Tammys Egyptian Shumba Home Page]
* [http://music.yahoo.com/ar-269674-bio--Lou-Christie Bio at] Yahoo! Music
* [http://www.classicbands.com/christie.html Bio at ClassicBands.com]
* [http://www.srv.net/~roxtar/christie_lou.html Fan page, with lyrics to several of Christie's biggest hits]
* [http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewShortStory.asp?AuthorID=9014&id=13889] Lou Christie: Lightening is Still Striking, author - Linda Alexander

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