Brian was born on 12 November 1943 in Queens, New York City, where his first musical experience ranged from church choir at the age of nine to clarinet and guitar, to his first local harmony group, The Del-Fis.
In 1959, they cut a demo record and made the rounds of New York City record labels.
Finally, with much persistence, Brian was signed as a solo artist to a management contract, where he cut demos for bandleader Sammy Kaye’s publishing company.
Kapp Records heard a demo and signed Brian at the age of 16.
That became his first record, Rosemary, and was followed that summer by the now infamous Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, which received a nod from Brian’s cousin by marriage, Larry, of The Three Stooges, on their local New York TV Show, Three Stooges Fun House, although they wouldn’t meet until eight years later in Hollywood.
In 1961, the song was used as a successful brainwashing technique in the classic Billy Wilder movie comedy, One, Two, Three starring James Cagney.
It was Brian’s first Gold Record, selling millions worldwide and racing to #1 in the USA, briefly edging ahead of Elvis‘ It’s Now Or Never, as well as reaching the top of the charts in Japan, where he toured and performed in a TV special.
Brian moved to ABC Records in 1961, sharing their short pop roster with The Impressions and Ray Charles, where he cut a string of chart records with the NY writing/production team of Gary Geld and Peter Udell.