Larry Finnegan, a One-Hit Wonder

Introduction to Larry Finnegan

Larry Finnegan (born John Lawrence Finneran) was an American pop singer who will always be remembered as a one-hit wonder via the early 60s music era Top 20 pop single “Dear One.” After that he never achieved another hit and then moved to Sweden. There Finnegan started his own  imprint, Svensk-American, where he produced and issued his own records such as “Good Morning Tears” and “Bound For Houston” as well as several Swedish-language songs.  After Sweden, Finnegan moved to Switzerland and then finally back in his home country in 1970; three years later he died of a brain tumor, aged only 34.

Early life and career

American pop singer Larry Finnegan was born John Lawrence Finneran on August 10, 1938 in New York City. Young Finnegan initially entered the entertainment business as an actor and later turned his enthusiasm to singing, songwriting and learning several instruments. 

“Dear One” – Finnegan’s lone hit

Finnegan and his brother Vincent came up with the song “Dear One” which they subsequently recorded as a demo. After several attempts to get signed to various labels, he landed at the doorsteps of the blues and R&B label, Old Town. Finnegan was quite a departure from the other Old Town recording acts for the label was prioritizing more on blues and R&B. He issued “Dear One” as his debut single. In 1962, the song was a big hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 . It sold one million copies and earned a gold disc status from the RIAA. It was a chart-topper in Australia.

The single was also released throughout Europe on HMV label in 1962 but it failed to make it big in England. Finnegan continued to release several singles from Old Town, lacking any further commercial success. In 1964, he was signed to Ric Records where he had two singles: “Dear One Part Two” and “(A Tribute To Ringo Starr) The Other Ringo.” Attempting to gain popularity in the U.K. with the “Ringo” song, the record unfortunately failed to chart.

Finnegan making hits in Europe, his final years and death

In the mid-1960’s, Finnegan decided to relocate in Sweden where he went on to have more hit records. There, he founded his own recording company called Svensk American Records where he issued most of his material; he had released nine singles, three albums and two EP’s. A couple of Finnegan’s hits in Sweden were “Good Morning Tears” and “Bound For Houston.” He had also performed in Swedish-language songs such as “Maria min van” (Maria, my friend) and “Halsa hem till mamma” (Send your greetings to my mamma)” to name a few.

From 1965 to 1967, he signed a deal with Germany’s Vogue Records, releasing three German-language singles. He moved to Switzerland, and then back to the United States in 1969. He later  invested most of his savings at the stock market but lost most of it. On July 22, 1973, Finnegan died of brain tumor in South Bend, Indiana. He was 34 years old.