Probably the first thing that comes to mind, sadly, is that she's the most famous victim of rape.
It was a particularly vicious assault, as a 19 year-old black who kept up a steady stream of jive and self-important psychobabble about his problems with his mother. His mother was Connie's age. She tried to reason with him, listen to his bragging, and explain that she didn't keep a lot of cash in her hotel room, but could get some. "Take my fur coat," she offered, "it's worth a lot." His response: "I ain't takin' that shit, so I'll get caught. Waddya take me for?" Or something like that.
Ultimately, he took great joy in beating her, tying her up, threatening her with a knife, and ransacking the place. She nearly suffocate when he dumped a mattress on top of her, hoping to find treasures under the bed. A tormenting assault ended with a goading, "You ever been with a black man?" and "How did you like it?"
He was never caught. Apparently the police never bothered to check a pattern of hotel break-ins and/or rapes and see, over the years, if somebody they managed to arrest was a likely match to this one.
It took many years for Connie to have the confidence to step out on a stage and resume her career, and this was made even more difficult after nasal surgery gone wrong. For a while, she had no voice at all.
Eventually she made her comeback, less as a nostalgia item and more as a heroic diva.
I mentioned to her that for me, the greatest thing about Connie Francis was that she was everybody's Connie Francis. She recorded albums for most every ethnicity. She sang in foreign languages, too. Connie could revive middle-of-the-road (the now notorious "Who's Sorry Now," which was the title of her book, referencing her tough time) and also sing to "the kids" with trifles like "Stupid Cupid."
Her rather bewildering blitz of vinyl back in the day, included North-polar opposites: "Christmas In My Heart" and "Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites." She recorded albums for her own ethnic group ("Italian Favorites") as well as Spanish favorites, German favorites, an album of waltzes, "Hit Songs from the 30's," a collection of movie themes, and even "Country and Western Golden Hits" and "Folk Favorites." How about Connie and a bunch of kids running through Herman's Hermits' "Henry VIII" and "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter?"
Sadly, Connie's tumultuous life would include over a dozen trips to the sanitarium, many involuntary, and a mis-diagnosis of what was causing her mood swings and depression. Inevitably, though there would be many a triumphant concert tour, her audience had aged, and touring became more difficult. She could've used more royalty checks from her hits to compensate for the money she was losing from not being on the road.
As this blog as stated many times, there's a difference between "sharing" and "stealing," and between a responsible use of copyrighted material and the idiocy of insisting everything is "fair use." Which is like a rapist shrugging that what he does is also "fair use," and doesn't do much damage because "all she has to do is take a shower."
Which leads me back to Connie's book, where she mentioned wearing just a robe and being brutally questioned by male cops after the rape, while the perp's semen was still inside her. No, contrary to what some people think, a rape, even a less violent one, produces emotions of rage and shame, frustration and helplessness.
In her book, talks about the rape.
On her website, she talks about the piracy that has robbed her of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
No, the link below is not to every Connie Francis album. Or even one of them. Not even one that's "out of print" and therefore, supposedly, "public domain." After all, there are still a few re-issue companies out there. If they see that an album is long gone, and not available free on the Internet, they just MIGHT offer it on CD with bonus tracks and a great booklet.
So here's Connie, with an amusingly restless musical backing, offering a "public service" spot urging people to drive safely.
CONNIE FRANCIS National Safety Council Spot "