Born as Lugee Alfred Giovanni Sacco on February 19, 1943, the artist better known as Lou Christie originally hailed out of Glenwillard, Pennsylvania. However, he grew up in Pittsburgh and studied classical music that later saw him become a conductor for choirs, as well as a solo singer at holiday concerts. Lou Christie’s professor had hoped he’d pursue a career in classical music, but it was his desire to cut a record for American Bandstand. When he was fifteen years old, he befriended a certain Twyla Herbert who became his main songwriting partner until 2009.
It was in 1962, after handing over demo tapes in hopes of discovering that the stage name of Lou Christie was officially adopted. Christie’s talented vocals made quite the impression that resulted in him signing up with his first label, Roulette Records. Shortly afterward, Lou Christie joined Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars Tour. Before enlisting with the United States Military, Christie had performed with The Tammys as his trio of backup vocalists and had made television appearances, first on American Bandstand and The Buddy Deane Show from 1962 until 1964, then Where the Action Is from 1965 until 1967.
After Army Life
For a brief period, Lou Christie was enlisted with the American Army until he was discharged to resume his recording career, this time with MGM Records, then with Columbia Records, and finally with Buddah Records. Starting in 1974, Christie tried his hand at performing country music in an attempt to shift away from the pop-rock genre. However, his music failed to make an impression on the country charts but still continued to appear on the pop charts. Since then, none of his released singles made any chart, but this doesn’t mean he lost his ability to bring forth good quality songs. From 1963 until 2015, Lou Christie has recorded and released a total of eleven studio albums, as well as nine compilation albums, and a live album. In total, he has thirty-five singles that have seen seventeen of them become charted hits.
Top 10 Lou Christie Songs
#10 – A Teenager in Love
“A Teenager in Love’ was originally performed in 1959 by Dion And The Belmonts and it was a number five hit for the group on the US Billboard Hot 100. There have been a few altered versions of the song that also earned chart success, namely for the UK’s Marty Wilde and Craig Douglas. Cited as one of the greatest songs in rock and roll history, A Teenager in Love was also covered by Lou Christie. Although the song didn’t make a chart appearance for him, it is still among his best that is well-loved by his fans. The start of the guitar, plus the smooth vocal delivery by Lou Christie, made his version of A Teenager in Love an easy-listening favorite.
#9 – Summer Days
“Summer Days” was first performed by the legendary Partridge Family for their Sound Magazine album in 1971. It was never released as a single by the group, but it was by Lou Christie in 1975. On the US Record World chart, it was a number eighty-nine hit. The beautiful piano served as the similar style found in classic saloons, saw Lou Christie’s falsetto vocal talent cleanly perform to this classic favorite that sets the tone of what the best of summer is about.
#8 – Since I Don’t Have You
“Since I Don’t Have You” was a 1958 doo-wop classic that was originally released by The Skyliners and was a covered hit by a number of artists since then, and in many different genres. As for Lou Christie’s performance of this longing for a loved one ballad, it charted at number seventy-one on the Canadian Singles Chart and at number eighteen on the US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
“Since I Don’t Have You,” was the final single he recorded for MGM Records before he was dropped from the label, which then led him to sign up with Columbia Records. Unlike the doo-wop version, Lou Christie’s soft, bluesy ballad approach served as a refreshing approach to a song that performed beautifully, thanks to Christie’s falsetto vocal talent.
#7 – Stay
Originally recorded in 1960 by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, “Stay” was a number one hit at that time on the US Billboard Hot 100. While Lou Christie’s 1964 cover of this song did not make any chart appearances, it still remains as one of Christie’s best performances. This song has been covered many times over by many artists that have become chart hits for them, but Christie’s lyrical plea for his loved one to stay with him just a little bit longer is no less memorable.
#6 – Beyond the Blue Horizon
“Beyond the Blue Horizon” was a cover single that was released in 1973 by Lou Christie and became a number twelve hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it charted at number eighty and it was a number fifty-seven hit on the UK Singles Chart. The original 1930 recording was performed by Jeanette MacDonald, which was written for the cult classic movie, Monte Carlo. For MacDonald, it was her signature song. For Christie, it was his final single that would appear on the music charts. It also served as a great country music piece for the artist, who attempted to venture into a genre he clearly appreciated, but was already committed during the earlier days of his career to pop.
#5 – The Gypsy Cried
In 1962, Lou Christie made his official debut with the single, “The Gypsy Cried,” which allowed him to show off his falsetto vocals to an audience that clearly approved enough to see this song peak as high as number twenty-four on the US Billboard Hot 100. At the time of this song’s recording, the stage name of Lou Christie hadn’t been developed yet. He used his real name, Lugee Sacco, as he co-wrote this song with his collaborator, Twyla Herbert. Pittsburgh’s C&C Records released “The Gypsy Cried,” to the local public as a song credited to Lou Christie. His stage name was already given to him before he had a chance to actually create one. Roulette Records picked up this song and turned it into a national hit. The vocal range Lou Christie used in this single captured the attention of record producers, as well as the hearts of fans who fell in love with his music.
#4 – Rhapsody in the Rain
With The Delicates performing backup vocals, Lou Christie performed “Rhapsody in the Rain,” which became his second hit single while he was still with MGM Records. In 1966, despite many radio stations banning the song due to the controversial lyrics, Rhapsody in the Rain still managed to win over fans who liked the original. However, he and MGM Records released a cleaner version of the song that did receive enough decent airplay to see the song peak as high as number sixteen on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number ten on the Canadian Singles Chart.
On the UK Singles Chart, Rhapsody in the Rain charted as high as number thirty-seven and it was a number forty hit on Australia’s Kent Music Report. At the 2007 Super Bowl, Lou Christie’s “Rhapsody in the Rain,” was performed, and it also became a title for one of the NFL’s Greatest Game episodes.
#3 – Two Faces Have I
Lou Christie’s signature falsetto vocals instrumentally turned “Two Faces Have I” into a well-deserved hit on the music charts in 1963. It was his second single since signing up with Roulette Records, as well as his most successful with that label. On the US Billboard Hot 100, Two Faces Have I peaked at number six and it was also a number eleven hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. On the Kent Music Report of Australia, Lou Christie makes a name for himself for the first time in that nation with this hit as it charted as high as number twenty. The song served as an inspiration to that nation’s retro band, Ol’ 55, release it as their single in 1980. It became a number fifteen hit in Australia for them.
#2 – I’m Going to Make You Mine
As the title to the album, plus the lead track, “I’m Going to Make You Mine” was another big hit for Lou Christie when it peaked at number ten on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. It was his first single to chart since signing up with Buddah Records after returning from his stint with the American Army. Linda Scott served as the backup vocalist to Lou Christie’s catchy classic, which was one of her final recordings before retiring from the entertainment industry. As for Lou Christie, this song served as a key comeback piece he needed in order to win back the luster of a career he had before army life.
“I’m Going to Make You Mine,” was especially popular in the UK as it peaked as high as number two on that nation’s official music chart and at number four on the Irish Singles Chart. In Canada, the single charted as high as number five and was a top forty hit among the nations of Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. “I’m Going to Make You Mine,” served as the final occasion Lou Christie released a top ten hit.
#1 – Lightning Strikes
In 1965, Lou Christie recorded and released his signature single, “Lightning Strikes,” through MGM Records. The brilliant combination of the baritone saxophone, trombone, bass, piano, drums, as well as the stuttering guitar solo, served as a jazzy edition to Christie’s lyrical performance that made the appeal of Lightning Strikes become the ultimate fan favorite. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the US Cash Box Top 100, and RPM Canada Top Singles, this speedy single topped the charts at number one. It also struck the music charts of Australia and New Zealand where the song peaked at number nine and at number three, respectively.
On the UK Singles Chart, Lightning Strikes climbed as high as number eleven. In addition to these achievements, Lightning Strike also became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had its standards at that time requiring a single to sell over a million copies. That was achieved on March 3, 1966. It was the only number-one single to Lou Christie’s credit.
Photo: MGM Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Lou Christie Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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