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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
The day I met Gene Pitney
Thousands of people have sent emails to the BBC News website to pay tribute to Gene Pitney.

Many mention his performances and talent and others his warmth and sense of humour. Several readers recall their impressions of Gene Pitney on the day they met him.


Lucille Cumming met Gene Pitney when he performed in New York and was lucky enough to be invited backstage.

Lucille Cumming meeting Gene Pitney
Fan Lucille says he was amusing and a pleasure to speak with

Since I was a young girl, I fell in love with the songs and voice of Gene.

I had never had the chance to see him perform until his return to New York concert at Carnegie Hall, which was the first time he had performed in New York in 26 years.

I was very fortunate to have front row seats at that concert. I presented Gene with three dozen roses and a note that read, 'Half heaven, because I am here. Half heartache, because to you, I cannot get near.'

I presented them to him when he began to sing my favourite song by him, Half Heaven, Half Heartache.

A woman behind me had asked me if I was going backstage after the concert, to which I replied, 'I don't have a pass.'

This wonderful woman, whom I had never met, gave me a pass. After the concert, I followed her and we were led through the doors, down a tunnel, to an elevator, which took us upstairs to where the party was to be.

Before I knew it, I was standing face to face with Gene.

Gene was so amusing, down to earth, and a pleasure to speak with.

Even though there were many stars there, Gene treated me like I was the important one.

We spoke of his career and I told him of the memories he brought me with his songs, as well as the pleasures he stirred with his voice.

To me, Gene was very humble, and sweet. There was no request I made that he did not fulfil. He autographed my play bill, as well as my ticket stub.

There are very few stars, whether it be movie, singing, or otherwise, that have treated me with such sincere affection, as Gene treated me.

News of Gene's passing had me crying with such grief and immediately I took out the photos of me giving him those roses and the photos of me with him backstage and the tears subsided and a smile was brought to my face with the memories I shall always treasure of meeting him.

Gene was a generous man to those who got to meet him, in more ways than one. I think Gene got so much out of meeting the people who adored him as a performer, a singer, a songwriter and more so, the man.


Gene Pitney performs with Marc Almond
In duet with Marc Almond in 1989
Harry Kershaw played on stage with Gene Pitney at Morecambe Bowl in the 1970s.

I was the bass player/vocalist in the house band at Morecambe Bowl in Lancashire back in the early '70s.

We used to have some big names performing back in those days and I was very honoured when I was asked to play in the backing band for the forthcoming show with Gene Pitney.

The show consisted of two houses in one evening and I was to be part of a twelve-piece band made up of musicians recruited from all over the North West of England, including two very nice lady violinists from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

We rehearsed for some time with Gene's American pianist, MD, and the band sounded excellent.

When Gene arrived in the evening to perform I remember being impressed by his friendly and caring manner. He seemed to like talking to people and was unlike the usual stereotypical big star.

When he performed there was a certain aura about him, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy what he was doing.

You can imagine what a thrill it was for me playing all his hits which I had only previously heard on radio and television etc.

When the night was over and after bringing the house down on both shows, Gene personally thanked the band individually. I remember chatting to him about this and that for several minutes, he was a nice man.

It upset me greatly to read of his untimely death and I think the music world has lost a very talented and innovative singer/songwriter.

He was a lovely person who created a big impression on me. God bless Gene.


Heather Martin didn't meet the man in person but he did send her a special birthday message.

I saw Gene several times in the '60s at the Odeon in Leeds - I was one of his biggest fans.

Whilst in Leeds on one occasion he visited the Leeds General Infirmary to go and do a surprise visit on the ward.

During that time he met my mother who worked there and as she told him I was 'mad' about him he sent me a lovely birthday card on the day and also signed photos.

He was a terrific performer and genuine superstar.




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