So you're lying in your room, in bed, in the dark, with the blinds closed, and you think life just couldn't get any worse. Aren't you? You think, for sure, that no one has ever felt as lonely and depressed as you do, right now. Don't you? What's on your CD player right now? Creep by Radiohead? Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies? Crawling by Linkin Park? Last Resort by Papa Roach? Adam's Song by Blink 182?

Why don't you try this: Go down the hall, to your parents room, and dig out that old 33 LP which has Town Without Pity by Gene Pitney. Then try to imagine your mom or dad listening to that on their old Victrola when they were your age, feeling exactly the same thing you're feeling now. Feeling compromised yet?

When you're young and so in love as we
And bewildered by the world we see...
Why do people hurt us so?
Only those in love would know
What a Town Without Pity can do.

This was Pitney's version of a song written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington for a movie by the same name which came out in 1961. The movie is about four drunk G.I.s in postwar Germany who see an opportunity to get some hot lovin' the old-fashioned way from a young fraulein who has been trying to seduce her boyfriend unsuccessfully. The gist of the movie is the trial of the four and what happens to a girl during a rape trial.

If we stop to gaze upon a star
People talk about how bad we are.
Ours is not an easy age.
We're like tigers in a cage.
What a Town Without Pity can do.

The movie was directed by Gottfried Reinhardt and starred Robert Blake, Kirk Douglas (who plays the primary lawyer) and E. G. Marshall. The attorney whom the military brings in to handle the defense bullies Karin's parents, warning that he will put her on the stand. He also talks to townspeople and finds out that Karin has a reputation for standing undressed in front of windows as people pass by. (Hey, doesn't everyone?) Anyway, I guess you can pretty well guess how all this turns out.

The young have problems; many problems.
We need an understanding heart.
Why don't they help us; try to help us
Before this clay and granite planet falls apart?

The film was originally a disaster, but when the song became popular, it was re-released and did well. When Pitney was invited to perform this song at the Academy Awards, he was the first pop star to ever perform at one of those travesties. The thin red line between pop music and Hollywood has never recovered.

Take these eager lips and hold me fast.
I'm afraid this kind of joy can't last.
How can we keep love alive?
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two?
What a Town Without Pity can do.

How can we keep love alive?
How can anything survive
When these little minds tear you in two?
What a Town Without Pity can do.
No, it isn't very pretty
What a Town Without Pity ca-aan do.

This venture led to another movie theme gig for Pitney: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. That is actually a much better tune, IMHO. But here’s one little bit of trivia about Gene Pitney:

His first little local band in Rockville, Connecticut, was called Gene Pitney and the Genials. Can you imagine how that could go so horribly wrong on promo posters?

CST approved

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