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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Tributes paid to singer Pitney
Gene Pitney
Gene Pitney was both a songwriter and a performer
Fans and friends of Gene Pitney have paid tribute to the singer after his death at the age of 65.

The singer - famous for songs like Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa - was found dead in a Cardiff hotel room, where he was midway through a tour.

Singer Marc Almond, who sang with Pitney on a remake of Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart, said Pitney was "a great, unique singer of great, unique songs".

The song, released in 1989, gave Pitney his first UK number one hit.

Pitney had nine dates left on his 23-date UK tour and was due to appear at Bristol's Colston Hall on Wednesday.

He had shown no signs of illness. The cause of death is not yet known but is not suspicious.

DJ Paul Gambaccini said Pitney's career was boosted by the duet with Almond.

He really spoke about teenage life in the early 1960s
Colin Martin, Radio 2

He said: "The song had been a top ten hit for Pitney in the 1960s. Marc Almond wanted to do it himself because he loved it when he was a kid and thought 'why not get the originator on with me?'.

"So they met and they did a video, and here were these two people from two different generations, with completely different lifestyles, thrown together in the service of this monster hit.

"I would not have expected them to have been best of friends, and they didn't do anything else together, but it certainly helped both of their careers."

'Cared about his music'

BBC Radio 2 head of music Colin Martin described Pitney as "incredible".

"He really spoke about teenage life in the early 1960s. There's nobody else on the music scene who has ever recaptured that," he said.

Marc Almond and Gene Pitney
Pitney's duet with Marc Almond gave him his first UK number one

"He really cared about his music - he was constantly writing.

"He could choose a good song for himself to sing - that was one of his gifts. He wasn't overtaken by the fact that 'I need to write my own song', which of course a lot of artists have done and they've suffered for it.

"He was great at selecting good songs. And of course he worked with the Rolling Stones - they loved him."

Fan Della Carpenter, who saw Pitney perform in Bradford on Saturday, said she was "gobsmacked" at his death.

'Nice touch'

"It was the second time I have seen him in concert and he was as fantastic as ever. He seemed so well and so happy," she said.

"I'm quite a young fan and I was brought up on his music. He will be missed."

Pam Banks, who also saw him perform earlier this week, said she was upset at the news.

"He looked so fit and healthy on stage and that's why I'm so flabbergasted. I have been a fan of his for quite a few years now and I've seen him four times in concert," she told the BBC News website.

"The time he spent on stage was not long, but he filled that time so well. I liked the fact that he paused halfway through his set to take time and read out some of the cards he had received from fans," she added.

"It was such a nice touch, and he was such a lovely, kind man."

Pitney is survived by his wife Lynne and three sons who live in his native Connecticut.

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