Album:First Name Initial: All Her Chart Hits And More
Annette Funicello is best probably best known for her days as a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club and then later in the Beach Party movies. So it's not surprising that Walt Disney tried to turn her into a pop star. Tall Paul was Annette's biggest hit. She was born Oct. 22, 1942 in Utica, NY but she moved with her family to California at age four. I guess the key event in Annette's life was when she was 12 years old performing at a dance recital. Walt Disney was in attendance and he made her a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse show. There was resentment at first because Annette didn't have to audition. But she was a big reason the show was successful. Annette was getting 6,000 letters a month. She appeared in several Disney shows and she starred in the serial Walt Disney Presents Annette that ran on The Mickey Mouse Club. When she sang How Will I Know My Love on the show and the single charted, Disney knew he had to try to turn Annette into a pop singer. Annette was reluctant because she didn't look at herself as a singer. But she went along with it and the single Tall Paul reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Tall Paul was written by Dick and Bob Sherman and Bob Roberts. The Sherman Brothers were Disney staff songwriters who would go on to win Oscars for Mary Poppins. The record was produced and arranged by veteran Disney musical director Tutti Camarata. He worked for Disney from 1956 to 1972. Annette always credited him with much of her success in music. Some of Annette's other songs like O Dio Mio and Pineapple Princess charted but Tall Paul was her biggest hit. Even as Annette grew up and starred with Frankie Avalon in those Beach Party movies, she continued to record for Disney until 1965. Disney has released an Annette CD. But this 2CD comp from the reissue label Jasmine does a better job of covering Annette's early recordings. Annette raised her family in the 70s. And then she reunited with Avalon in the 1987 film Back To The Beach. In 1992, Annette announced that she suffered from multiple sclerosis. Her health deteriorated and she died on Apr. 8, 2013 at age 70. Here's Annette performing Tall Paul on the Dick Clark Beech Nut Show 1959.