Annette Funicello was 13 years old when she was discovered by studio head Walt Disney dancing in an amateur production of Swan Lake in Fullerton, CA. Much to the enmity of her Mickey Mouse Club co-stars, Funicello joined the cast late in the show's first season and was not required to audition. However, Disney's impulses proved correct, as she swiftly became the most popular performer on The Mickey Mouse Club
Nevertheless, Funicello's enormous audience base -- mostly teen girls -- was enough to support her through 13 albums released through 1965, all but the first appearing on the Buena Vista label, a record company begun by Walt Disney so that Funicello's records need not appear on the Disneyland imprint. Funicello ultimately got accustomed to making records, and genuinely enjoyed working with Camerata, one of the few forty-something arrangers of the time who "got" the basic building blocks of early rock music. Her albums gradually improved starting with the second one, Annette Sings Anka, probably the first LP to treat the work of a rock songwriter as repertoire.
1959 LP Annette (US Buena Vista BV-3301)