Connie Francis (born December 12, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American singer.
Born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero in Newark's Italian Down Neck or Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey neighborhood, she is considered the most prolific female rock 'n' roll hit-maker of the early rock era -- the late 1950s to the early 1960s. After an appearance on Startime, Francis was advised to change her name from Franconero to something more easily pronounceable, as well as to quit the accordion and focus on singing.
Francis' first single "Freddy" (1955) met with little success and she began considering a career in medicine. However, "Who's Sorry Now" (a cover version of a 1923 song) launched her into super-stardom worldwide. In 1957, "Who's Sorry Now" reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and in 2000, was named one of the Songs of the Century. On January 1, 1958, she debuted it on Dick Clark's American Bandstand television show; by mid-year over a million copies were sold. This was followed by "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You", "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "Stupid Cupid", "In the Summer of his Years" (written after the assassination of John F. Kennedy) and "Strangers in the Night". Both "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own" went to No.1 on the Billboard music charts in 1960. In 1962 she had another No.1 hit with "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You."
Her signature song, "Where the Boys Are", became one of the first pop songs to be recorded in foreign languages. Made into a 1960 motion picture with the same title Where the Boys Are, Francis had a role in the film and sang the title song. During the first half of the 1960s she starred in three additional films -- Follow the Boys (1963), Looking for Love (1964) and When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965).
She recorded her songs in nine languages and became an international star in the late 50s. In 1960 Francis became the youngest headliner to sing in Las Vegas, where she played 28 days a year for nine years. In 1961 she was successful in starring in her own television special on ABC television, singing and acting along-side Tab Hunter, Eddie Foy Jr. and Art Carney. She appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on July 1, 1962 with French singing star, Johnny Hallyday in a show that was taped at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris, France. By 1967, she had 35 U.S. Top 40 hits, and three number ones.
During the height of the Vietnam War in 1967, she performed for U.S. troops.
She has a grown son, Joey, born in 1974, who is a flight instructor.
Her latest CD The American Tour contains performances from recent shows.
Francis' autobiography, Who's Sorry Now? was published in 1984.
Francis ended her recording career in 1969, returning in 1973 with "The Answer", a song written just for her, and soon began performing again. Tragedies followed soon after. In 1974 she was sexually assaulted in a hotel following a performance in Westbury, New York. Nasal surgery to correct a sensitivity to air conditioning deprived her of her ability to sing professionally for four years. Her brother was murdered in 1981. Francis was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder but resumed her career in 1989 and has continued singing and recording since then.
The screenplay for a movie based on Francis' life, titled Who's Sorry Now? is done, and filming is anticipated in 2006, Gloria Estefan said in a news conference. Latin music star Gloria Estefan will produce and play the lead. Estefan said, "She isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and yet she was the first pop star worldwide, recorded in nine languages. She has done a lot of things for victims' rights since her rape in the '70s . . . There's a major story there."
In late December 2004, Francis headlined in Las Vegas for the first time since 1989.
"Connie Francis" is also a character in Victory Gundam, one of the five (of the six) original members of the Shrike Team who are named in homage to 20th century female singers.