At age 44, Sixties heartthrob Gene Pitney has turned his ”Town Without Pity” in for more tangible real estate.
He continues to tour six months of the year, mostly overseas. But the royalties he earned as a singer –”(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance,” ”Only Love Can Break a Heart”–and still takes in as a songwriter–’He’s a Rebel,” ”Hello Mary Lou”–are always working for him in such ”solid, protected” investments as apartment houses and shopping centers.
Another purchase, the Crystal Lake Beach and Boat Club, located about three miles from his home in Ellington, Connecticut, has more sentimental value. ”I worked there as a cook when I was in high school. I used to sling the hamburgers and hot dogs.”
Pitney cut back on stage and studio work in the early Seventies to spend more time with his family–Lynne, his wife of 18 years, and his three sons, aged six through 17. His last album, an English release on the Bronze label titled Pitney ’75, was never issued in America. An album he subsequently cut for Epic remains unreleased.
Pitney considers himself much luckier than many of the artists he toured with in America, on the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, and in England. He mentions the late Pete Ham of Bad-finger, who committed suicide in 1975. ”He couldn’t take care of his family. He really had the money at his fingertips, except he didn’t know enough about song publishing. If I’d had ten minutes to talk to him…”