On this date in 1960, the then-21-year-old Jersey girl scored the first-ever Hot 100 No. 1 by a female artist, just one of her 53 career hits
Nearly two years into the Billboard Hot 100's existence, the top of the chart was essentially a boys' club. Starting with Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool," which led the inaugural list on Aug. 4, 1958, only one of the first 29 No. 1s featured prominent female vocals: "To Know Him, Is to Love Him" by The Teddy Bears, a vocal trio featuring one female member (as well as a young Phil Spector).
But on July 2, 1960, Connie Francis made history when "Everybody's Somebody's Fool," recorded with the Joe Sherman Orchestra, rose 2-1. By year's end, three more No. 1s by solo women would rule: Francis' follow-up "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own" and Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" and "I Want to Be Wanted."
During her career, Francis, now 75, notched 53 Hot 100 hits, the fifth-best sum among women to date. In recent years, she's focused on fighting for mental healthcare reform for veterans, co-founding the Haven From the Storm charity.
But, back in 1960, she was hungering for another goal, at least according to a Billboard cover story in the May 16 issue, where "Fool" rose 52-39 in its second chart week. Its title? "Connie Dreams of a Wiener Schnitzel."
On a promotional tour in Vienna, Francis, then 21, told Billboard, "I should stay in this wonderful city to see all these fine buildings, to visit these magnificent churches … and to order one Wiener Schnitzel a day!"