Bobby Rydell (b. April 26, 1942) is a veteran pop/rock singer and highly sought-after nightclub and concert performer who was a teen idol and one of the top acts of the late 1950s through early 1960s. His long string of hits, which mainly cover early rock and roll along with some traditional pop, include such oldies classics as "Wild One," "Volare," and "Forget Him."
Born Robert Louis Ridarelli in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he began singing and playing the drums in nightclubs as a child and later became a member of several local bands. He grew up in the same neighborhood as then-future fellow teen idols, Fabian and Frankie Avalon. At 19, he became the youngest performer ever to headline at the famous Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
Rydell made his debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1959 with "Kissin' Time," which became a Top 20 hit and launched his national fame as a teen idol. This was followed by a long string of hits that also included "We Got Love" (1959), "Wild One" (1960), "Swingin' School" (1960), "Volare" (1960), "Good Time Baby" (1961), "The Cha-Cha-Cha" (1962), and "Forget Him" (1963), all of which made the Top 10. Other hits included "Little Bitty Girl" (1960), "Ding-A-Ling" (1960), "Sway" (1960), "That Old Black Magic" (1961), "The Fish" (1961), "I Wanna Thank You" (1961), "I've Got Bonnie" (1962), "I'll Never Dance Again" (1962), "Butterfly Baby" (1963), and "Wildwood Days" (1963), a song about a city in New Jersey then famous for its nightlife which eventually became that city's official anthem. Rydell and Chubby Checker also had a Christmas hit in 1961 with their cover of "Jingle Bell Rock" as originally made famous by Bobby Helms.
Rydell co-starred and performed with Ann-Margret in the movie musical, "Bye Bye Birdie" (1963). He made numerous TV appearances on such shows as "American Bandstand" and was a regular on "The Red Skelton Show." In both the Broadway musical and movie, "Grease," the story takes place mainly at Rydell High School which was named in his honor. Over the years, he has amassed a huge fan base and has continued to tour and perform actively, often with longtime friends, Fabian and Frankie Avalon.
- For more info on Bobby Rydell's life and career, visit bobbyrydell.com.
- Bobby Rydell discusses his early years, career highlights, and other topics in an interview with Gary James of classicbands.com.
- Bobby Rydell discusses his autobiography, "Bobby Rydell, Teen Idol On The Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances," in an interview from 2016 with John J. Moser of mcall.com.
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- I've Got Bonnie 1962
- The Cha-Cha-Cha 1962
- Forget Him 1963
- Good Time Baby 1961
- Little Bitty Girl 1960
- Swingin' School 1960
- Volare 1960
(This song previously topped the charts for Domenico Modugno (1958) and also became a hit for Dean Martin (1958), the McGuire Sisters (1958), and Al Martino (1975). (Full title: "Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)"))
- Wild One 1960
- Wildwood Days 1963
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