Little Peggy March had some remarkable accomplishments in pop music as a young teenager in the early 60's and went on to a career of international stardom.
She was born Margaret Annemarie Battavio in Lansdale, Pennsylvania in 1948. While growing up not far from Philadelphia in the 1950's she would perform at first at family gatherings and by the end of the decade she had appeared as a singer on a number of local televison programs. In 1961 a man named Russel Smith saw her singing at a wedding and liked what he saw. He became her manager and took her to audition for producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore at RCA, who signed her to a contract. Small in stature -- less than five feet tall at age thirteen -- and born in the month of March, she acquired the nickname Little Peggy March from Hugo and Luigi. Peggy's first release was a recording of Little Me in 1962.
Although she was still very young, Peggy had been performing for years and by early 1963 had a strong singing voice. In January that year she recorded what would prove to be her biggest hit ever. I Will Follow Him originated as a song titled Chariot, which had been a hit in France for Petula Clark and was written in French by Paul Muriat and Frank Pourcel, under the pseudonyms Del Roma and J.W. Stole, respectively; the music was adapted by Arthur Altman, and English lyrics were added by Norman Gimbel. In March Peggy turned 15 and the following month I Will Follow Him entered the top forty in the United States. It soared up the charts until it reached number one, remaining there for three weeks. Recording as Little Peggy March, she thus became the youngest female singer ever to reach number one on the pop chart. And she became quite well known, not only in the United States, but abroad where her song reached number one in a number of other countries. Peggy had become an international star.
She recorded other songs for RCA, two of which would reach the top forty later in 1963, I Wish I Were A Princess and Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love. As good as she was and as popular as her biggest hit had been, they were to be her last top forty hits in the United States. Perhaps Hugo and Luigi could have done a better job promoting her career.
Peggy was very popular in other countries, particularly Germany and Japan. Added to this she had a talent for being able to pick up foreign languages and to do very well when she recorded songs in other languages, including Japanese, Italian, and Spanish. She was enormously popular in Germany in the 60's and for decades after that. Her songs took the number one spot in polls in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Peggy had acquired a new manager, Arnie Harris, and married him in 1968, a marriage that has endured for more than four decades. The following year, they moved to Germany, and her career fluorished there. She gave birth to a daughter in 1974. She returned with her family to the United States in 1981.
Described by her husband as someone who just loves performing for an audience, Peggy March did some songwriting, became involved in painting with water colors (at which she is very accomplished) and continued recording, in addition to her appearances on European television, in nightclubs, and on tour. The early 21st century found Peggy continuing to perform, often in Branson, Missouri but also on tour.
She is best remembered by fans of 60's music for her enormoulsy popular mega-hit from 1963, I Will Follow Him, an accomplishment which served to gain her the designation as the youngest female artist ever to reach number one.
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