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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Tributes to 'rare talent' Pitney
Marc Almond and Gene Pitney
Marc Almond and Gene Pitney scored a UK number one hit in 1989
Burt Bacharach and Marc Almond have paid tribute to the late US singer Gene Pitney, who died on Wednesday.

A 1989 duet with Almond gave Pitney his only UK number one single, 25 years after he scored a hit with Bacharach's song Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa.

"He was a rare talent and a beautiful man, and his voice was unlike any other," Bacharach said.

"I have great memories of working in the studio recording with Gene. He was a great guy, and I will miss him."

Other Bacharach songs Pitney recorded included The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Only Love Can Break A Heart.

He was a great, unique singer of great, unique songs
Marc Almond
The singer topped the UK chart with former Soft Cell singer Almond with Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart.

The song first took Pitney to number five in 1967.

"I am deeply saddened and shocked by the death of Gene Pitney," Almond said.

It was "an honour to have worked with him", he said.

"He was a great, unique singer of great, unique songs. Today is a sad day."

Pitney was found dead in a Cardiff hotel room on Wednesday, midway through a UK tour.

Gene Pitney
Pitney enjoyed 11 UK top 10 singles from 1963 to 1989
He had shown no signs of illness and 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 said: "The song had been a top 10 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 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.

"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."


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