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Gene Pitney debuts in Vegas

Sep 16, 2003 4:00 AM

Gene Pitney, the anguished singer of pop anthems who last year made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, makes his first-ever Las Vegas appearance, Wednesday through Saturday, at the Stardust hotel and casino.

Tickets for his 8 p.m. performances are $39.95 plus taxes.

Pitney rivaled the Beatles, Beach Boys and other rock icons of the 1960s, turning out more than a dozen charted hits, many of them written by the premiere songwriters of the era.

With his strong, flexible voice and melodramatic style suited to songs of teenage angst and torment, Pitney soared to popularity on the wings of compositions by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, and Randy Newman.

Pitney started his career writing songs that became famous for other singers. Among his first compositions were "Hello, Mary Lou" for Rick Nelson, "He’s a Rebel" for the Crystals and "Rubber Ball" for Bobby Vee.

In 1961, he launched his singing career with "I Wanna Love My Life Away," in which he wrote and produced the song, played every instrument and mixed seven separate voice tracks.

Pitney gained more fame with "Every Breath I Take," and motion picture tunes "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Town Without Pity" and "Only Love Can Break A Heart."

Prior to his appearance at the Stardust, Pitney completed a 21-city tour of the British Isles, and he leaves for a 20-city tour of Australia at the end of the month.

For ticket information, call the Stardust box office at (702) 617-5577.