Francis' first single was "Freddy" (1955); it was a failure and she began considering a career in medicine. However, American Bandstand launched her into super-stardom with "Who's Sorry Now". This was followed by "Don't Break the Heart That Loves You", "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "Stupid Cupid", "In the Summer of his Years" (written after the assassination of John F. Kennedy), "Strangers in the Night" and "Where the Boys Are" (from the movie of the same name), which became one of the first pop songs to be recorded in foreign languages.
Francis ended her recording career 1969, returning in 1973 with "The Answer", a song written just for her. She also began performing again. Tragedies soon struck the singer; she was raped in a hotel, surgery robbed her of her voice and her brother was murdered in 1981. Francis was soon diagnosed as manic depressive. She finally resumed her career in 1989 and has continued singing and recording since then.