Nita Rossi

Nita Rossi, christened Anita, was born in Bournemouth in 1948 and grew up in the Pokesdown area of town where she attended St James Primary School. Her dad, Frank, was of Italian descent and owned the popular Continental Café in Holdenhurst Road at the Lansdowne. On leaving school she received vocal coaching from Michael Toone and sang in clubs and at various hotel dances with Toone’s orchestra. She also tried her luck in singing contests and sent homemade tapes to agents in London on the off chance that someone may take notice. One recording landed on the desk of Gordon Mills, the hugely influential manager of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. He invited Nita to the capital for an audition and signed her to his management company, securing her a recording deal with Piccadilly Records, an offshoot of Pye that specialised in commercial pop recordings by groups such as The Ivy League, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers and The Rockin’ Berries.

Nita Rossi
Nita Rossi publicity photo circa 1966 

Apart from being a manager, Mills was also a successful songwriter scoring hits with “I’ll Never Get Over You” by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, a number four in the UK charts and Tom Jones breakthrough hit “It’s Not Unusual”,  a co-write with Les Reed that became a number one. Mills penned both sides of Nita’s first single, “Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)” backed with “Every Little Day Now”. On the A side, Nita delivered an assured vocal over a heavily orchestrated arrangement by Johnny Harris, who as a staff member at Pye, worked with several of their female artists including Petula Clark, Lulu and Françoise Hardy. The single should have been a huge hit, but for some inexplicable reason wasn’t, although it received heavy rotation on the pirate station Radio London where it spent nine weeks in their Fab 40. Tom Jones recorded a version on the B side of his single, “With These Hands”, but Nita’s version blows it out the water. The flip, “Every Little Day Now” with its dominant Hammond organ more than holds its own and could have been successful in its own write.

The follow up, another Mills twofer, “Here I Go Again” backed with “Something to Give”, was a missed opportunity. The A side, a jolly throw away piece of pop, should have been flipped for the stomping “Something to Give”, a much stronger song. Nita promoted the single on the ATV music show Thank Your Luck Stars along with Herman’s Hermits, Cleo Laine, The Mindbenders, sans Wayne Fontana, Paul and Barry Ryan and host Jim Dale, but it failed to make a dent in the charts. In the late seventies “Something to Give” gained belated kudos on the northern soul circuit after a copy was unearthed by an enthusiast on the tiny, Nashville based, Hickory label. Believing they had uncovered an obscure gem by an unknown American soul diva, which is understandable on hearing her strong vocal delivery, the song became a hit at the Wigan Casino where it would guarantee a full dance floor on a Saturday night.

Her third single, “The Daddy Christmas Song” like most Christmas songs, is a waste of vinyl, inane lyrics over an oom-pah beat, ghastly. The only thing of note about this record is that Nita wrote the flip, “Our Love Was Meant to Be”. For her final record she turned in a fine version of the sentimental country ballad “Misty Blue”, backed with another Mills original “Come Around”. The record bombed like the previous three, and she was unceremoniously dumped by her manager and record company. Nine years later the American soul singer, Dorothy Moore, took “Misty Blue” to number five in the UK charts and number two on the Hot One Hundred in America, earning her a Grammy nomination.

Nita released two Italian language singles for Phillips, “Non Si Sa Mai” and “Canta Cuore Mio”, before abandoning her singing career for a life of domesticity raising her son Marco in Piacenza, Italy, but the story didn’t end there. In 2012 the soap opera Emmerdale used “Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)” in a commercial for one of its storylines and sparked interest in the song all over again. Because of the amount of people enquiring about its origins, iTunes re-released it for download and to her amazement, after forty-seven years, she received belated but welcome recognition. Nita found out about the new interest in the song via her sister Maureen, who lives in Weymouth and brother Joe, a Christchurch resident. Nita still lives in Italy with her partner, Rodolfo Farsetti.

Nita Rossi in 2012 with her partner Rodolfo Farsetti (Photograph Bournemouth Echo)
Nita Rossi Discography

Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You) c/w Every Little Day Now: Piccadily (7N 35258) 1965

Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You) c/w Every Little Day Now: Hickory (7N 35258) 1965 American release

Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You) c/w Every Little Day Now: Pye (45-1356) 1965 Dutch release with picture sleeve

Here I Go Again c/w Something to Give: Piccadilly (7N 35307) 1966

Here I Go Again c/w Something to Give: Hickory (45-1399) 1966 American release

Here I Go Again c/w Something to Give: Pye (7N 35307) 1966 Dutch release with picture sleeve

Here I Go Again c/w Something to Give: Astor (AP 1224) 1966 Australian release

The Daddy Christmas Song c/w Our Love was Meant to Be: Piccadilly (7N 35354) 1966

Misty Blue c/w Come Around: Piccadilly (7N 35384) 1967

Misty Blue c/w Come Around: Astor (AP 1383) 1967 Australian release

Non Si Sa Mai” c/w Mi Paree Un Sogno (Un’Illusione): Phillips (363 731 PF) 1968

Canta Cuore Mio c/w Non Ti Lascero: Phillips (363 742 PF) 1969

Compilations Featuring Nita Rossi

You Can Be Wrong About Boys – Here Come the Girls Volume 1: Sequel (NEX CD238) 1993 “Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)”

Dance Like the Devil: Sequel (NEMCD 972) 1998 “Here I Go Again” & “Something to Give”

Sequel’s Sixties Christmas: Sequel (NEM CD 984) 1998 “The Daddy Christmas Song”

Girls Don’t Come: Here Comes the Girls Volume 10: Sequel (NEECD 327) 1999 “Every Little Day Now”

That Driving Beat: Doin’ the Mod 5: Castle Music (CMRCD 757) 2003 “Every Little Day Now”

One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found: Rhino (R2 74645) 2005 “Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)”

It’s So Fine: Pye Girls Are Go!: Castle Music (CMDDD 1159) 2005 “Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)” & “Something to Give”

Scratch My Back! Pye Beat Girls 1963-1968: Ace (CDCHD 1472) 2016 “Something to Give”

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