Bobby RydellThe epitome of the “teen idol” of the early ’60s, starring in the opposite role to that fame Ann-Margret in the 1963 filmgoodbye birdie“Died today at the age of 79. The cause of death was pneumonia.
His death was confirmed just days away from his 80th birthday by radio legend Jerry Blavat, a longtime friend of Riedel’s at the singer’s South Philadelphia Stomping Ground. “Out of all the kids of that era”, Blavat said, “he had the best pipes and was the greatest entertainer. He told the best stories, did the best impersonations, and he was the coolest person.”
Rydell’s fame as an American teen pop star icon in the days just before the British invasion of rock was such that the Broadway musical Rydell High School and the subsequent film “Grease” were named after him. An actor even portrayed him in a performance scene in the movie “Green Book”.
“It’s great to know that high school [in ‘Grease’] was named after me,” he said, “And I said, ‘Why me?’ It could have been Anka High, Presley High, Everly High, Fabian High, Avalon High. And they came up with Rydell High, and once again, full respect.”
The singer had 34 singles charting on the Billboard Hot 100, the most remembered of which were “Wild One,” which peaked at No. 2, and “Volare,” a No. 4 hit. Other top 10 songs included “Swingin’ School,” “The Cha-Cha-Cha.” Their run to the top 10 songs began with “We Got Love”, which peaked at number 6 in 1959, and ended with “Forget Him” in 1964.
One of their first hits, “Wildwood Days”, peaked only at number 17 in 1963, but remains an anthem in the New Jersey area for which it was named. A mural by Rydell adorns the Wildwood, NJ boardwalk.
in 2020 interviewOf course, Rydell recalled how his role in “Bye Bye Birdy” expanded once he was cast. “I go to see plays, and I see Hugo Peabody, and he doesn’t sing, there’s no lines, no dance, he just stands there. But, when I go out to start filming , Mr. (George) Sidney saw some kind of magic between Ann-Margret and me, and every day when I went back to Columbia Studios, my script got bigger, and bigger and bigger. More dialogue, more singing, more dancing And I’m not a movie star by any stretch of the imagination, but if I have to be in a picture, it’s a classic, like ‘Grease.’ And I’m really happy to be associated with something that was awesome .
Born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942, Riddell began singing and drumming at age 6, and began performing professionally at nightclubs in the Philly/South Jersey area at his father’s insistence at age 7. Had done it.
In 1950, Rydell won a talent show during the television series “Paul Whitman’s TV Teen Club” and became a regular on the program. After three years as part of Whitman’s singing on-air crew, the singer/drummer changed his name to “Rydell” and began playing for local bands such as Rocco and the Saints (an ensemble that included another South American band). Philly friend, Frankie Avalon, as its trumpet).
After trying his luck with a few unsuccessful singles for smaller, independent labels, Rydell signed with Philadelphia’s Cameo Records (eventually Cameo/Parkway) and hit the charts in 1959 with “Kissin’ Time”. With that single, and its follow-ups, “We Got Love” (his first million sellers), “Wild One,” “Swingin’,” and his take on the classic, “Volare,” Rydell became a de facto teen idol.
By 1961, when Rydell performed a show at Copacabana in New York City in 1961, Rydell became the youngest performer ever to feature in the famed nightclub, hence cementing his status with Rat Pack fans as well as the teenage crowd. strengthened (in 1961, he also appeared at the Festival du Rock at the Palais des Sports de Paris in Paris, France, which cemented his ties with the European and British audiences for which he would currently headline cabaret gigs).
In 1963, he played Hugo Peabody in the film version of the satirical musical “Bye Bye Birdie” alongside Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke. His part was not the titular rock star, but the jealous boyfriend of the girl who wins the chance to meet Birdy before joining forces. In 2011, “Bye Bye Birdie” received a digital restoration, and Riddell appeared with Ann-Margret at a special Academy screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater (see video below).
By the following year, Riedel would leave Cameo-Parkway Records for Capitol Records, the same label that appeared in the Beatles as their soon-to-be rivals.
In the late ’60s, he moved to Reprise, where he had little success. “Mr. Sinatra wanted me on his Reprise label, so, of course, I said yes, but there was no promotion,” explained Riedel gold mine,
Citing his popularity to Mop-Top, Rydell, Avalon and the rest of the clean-cut Teen Idol crew became lounge singers in Las Vegas and on the international touring circuit.
After 1965, Riddell never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 again, although he continued to release singles until the mid-’70s, and one of his last songs, a disco number in 1977 called “Self”, struck a chord with adult contemporary. Made a slight dent in it. Chart.
Rydell wrote a memoir, “Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks: A Tale of Second Chance.” The subtitle “On the Rocks” refers to a battle with alcoholism following the death of his wife of 36 years from breast cancer in 2003.
“There was a tremendous void in my life and there was no one to lay on the bed with, no one to talk to, no one to smile, laugh, tell stories with,” he said in an interview. morning Call When the book came out in 2016. “And, you know, I started drinking. And vodka became a very, very dear friend—to the extent that, a few years later, it led to a double transplant. A new liver and a new kidney, all because of drinking. … I hope that many people who probably have the same type of problem will probably learn from the book. There are very few people who, when they wrote the review, said, ‘I wish he had explained his wine in more detail.’ Well, maybe this will be another book, if god forbid it. ,
After marrying his second wife, Linda, he had a double transplant in 2012.
In early July of that year, he said, “My wife and I were laying in bed, and I told her, ‘Listen, darling, we better do everything together because I’m not going to make it.’ And… he told me a few days ago, he said, ‘If you’re ever going to get a liver, it’s going to be around this time of year – Fourth of July, you know, hit-and-run, DUI , accidents, etc. And unfortunately, a young girl from Reading, Pennsylvania, Julia – she was only 21, was hit by a car. And she became my donor. And she not only saved my life, but he also saved seven other people. And I am [blood type] O-positive, which means I can give to anyone, but I can only take O-positives, and Julia was O-positive. The way things happened was a miracle. It really was. ,
Rydell toured as a solo act to this day, and was part of the Golden Boys stage production from 1985 with Frankie Avalon and Fabian. The three “Idols” were preparing for a spring and summer tour for 2022.
in 2020 interviewIn this book, Rydell talks about the three’s endurance as a touring job. “Now we do a show, I’m sure you know about it, called ‘The Golden Boys,’ and we started that show in 1985, and it was a tremendous success,” he said. “And I told Frankie – and I called him Cheech, because in Italian, Frank is Cheech – I said, ‘Cheche, that’s great, but how long will this last? One year, two years at the top, is over. ‘ Well, that was in 1985, and we’re going into 2021, and we’re still doing the show. It’s amazing.”
Rydell was recently incorporated Diversitylist of Rock and pop figures of the 50s and 60s, which many fans have complained about, are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although they and other teen idols of their era have never been in line for that honor. It is assumed. ,
In his 2016 interview with Morning Call, Rydell expressed some regret about the way his career progressed. “My gosh, 1959 is going to be six decades since I had my first hit record. And I am so happy and blessed that I am once again able to do what I really love. And this has been my life, once again, for like 7 years. So, no, I cannot complain about my career at all. You know, it has its ups and downs, its peaks and valleys, and so on. But I’ve survived all of that, and I’m continuing to do what I really enjoy doing.
“At 74, I don’t think I’m a teen idol anymore. I mean, the fans are still there, God bless them. I mean, they come out and I think they’re in their 50s Remember back how great everything was. It was really like the TV show ‘Happy Days’. … and I think all the fans who are still coming out for the performance remember that, and they Want to reflect on those specific years where, yes, Bobby Rydell was a teen-age idol. And after all these years, that’s a good thing.”
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