If you grew up during the early 1960s, you probably had a lot of friends who had a crush on Bobby Rydell.
The Philadelphia born singer, with his amazing voice, took America by storm. One might say that he was the Justin Bieber of the ’60s.
A good friend of mine had a crush on Bobby for so many years – when he used to sing on New Year’s eve, she had to stop at every TV store so she could watch and listen to him … don’t I wish we all could go back to those days. It felt safer for everyone and parents didn’t worry for their kids.
The music was fun, no hating, and the dancing was simply the best!
I’ve always liked Bobby’s music, but I have never been as obsessed with him as many others in my generation were. So, what happened to this American entertainment legend, and why he disappeared for a few years in the 2000s?
Robert Louis Ridarelli was born into an Italian family in 1942 in South Philadelphia. His career took off after he won a talent show at Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club.
After that, he changed his name to Bobby Rydell and began playing music with various bands around his hometown of Philadelphia. He managed to get a recording contract, but his first few songs flopped.
But Bobby didn’t give up, and with his song “Kissin’ Time”, he got his long-awaited hit. Things started to move fast, and his father resigned from his factory job to become Bobby’s road manager.
In the early 1960s, with giant hits like “Wild One”, “Volare” and “We Got Love”, Bobby became an instant teen idol with his chart-topping songs.
His performance in the musical film Bye Bye Birdie, where he played Hugo Peabody, made him a famous show business performer.
The movie was the 13th highest-grossing film of 1963.
”I screen-tested with Ann-Margret and it must have looked good because they kept adding more dialogue and more songs for us in the movie. I am not a movie star by any stretch of the imagination, but I was lucky to be in the film. It’s a classic,” Bobby told Connecticut Magazine.
But dark clouds soon hang over Bobby as the music industry radically changed. British rock and pop music swept in and became very popular in the United States. It was The Beatles that took over the role of teenage idols.
Unfortunately for Bobby, he suffered a drastic decline in popularity.
And it didn’t get any better when the former star ended up in a dispute with ABKCO Records. Their refusal to reissue Rydell’s music made his entire catalog unavailable until 2005.