Lou Christie was born Luigi Alfredo Giovanni Sacco in the Pittsburgh suburb of Glenwillard, Pennsylvania on February 19, 1943. At the age of 15, he auditioned for Twyla Herbert, an eccentric mystic who became his longtime songwriting partner. After high school, Luigi found work in New York and began recording for the Starr label in 1960. Two years later, he cut “The Gypsy Cried” for a local Pittsburgh label, Co & Ce, who with airplay from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia radio sold the master to Roulette Records where the single peaked on the Hit Parade at #24 nationally. — Christie’s multi-octave falsetto style continued with “Two Faces Have I,” the follow-up single climbing to #6. Christie joined Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, and while on tour Uncle Sam came a-calling, snatching Lou from the spotlight for two and half years while he served in the Army.
After his discharge, Lou signed with MGM, which was none too pleased with the first single he cut for the label. In fact, MGM’s president reportedly threw the tape into a trash basket. Christie’s new management, though, salvaged the tape and promoted it to DJs in California. As a result of their enthusiasm, MGM finally released “Lightnin’ Strikes” at the end of 1965. The following February, it hit #1, having sold over one million copies. Those who thought “Lightnin’ Strikes” was cutting-edge provocative really went beserk when “Rhapsody in The Rain” was released that March. Over a melody adapted from Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet,” it’s recalled backseat action during a rainstorm as the wipers hythmically beat out “together, together.” In fact, the first pressings included the phrase “we were makin’ out in the rain” — which caused many radio stations to ban the record. MGM hastily issued a second version, substituting “we fell in love in the rain” and the song would become a staple to oldies fans of today.
Moving from MGM to Buddah in 1969, songwriter-producer Tony Romeo guided him back into the Top 10 with “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.” After that, Lou moved to England, where Elton John covered one of his tunes (“She Sold Me Magic”) and Christie developed a new, more country-flavored sound. The result, in 1974, was “Beyond The Blue Horizon,” an Adult Contemporary hit that later turned up in the 1988 movie Rain Man. It was Lou’s 12th visit to the American Hit Parade.
Lou Christie hosts a series of programs on SiriusXM for the 1960’s oldie channel and was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2008.
Visit the official Lou Christie website here.