Bobby Vinton (b. April 16, 1935) is a veteran and beloved pop singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, and former teen idol with smooth crooner vocals and a flair for romantic ballads who became famous beginning in the early 1960s. He is best known for his dreamy rendition of the extensively-covered "Blue Velvet" (1963), which first became a hit for Tony Bennett in 1951. Vinton's smash version was the inspiration for the 1986 David Lynch film noir movie thriller of the same name in which Isabella Rossellini co-starred and performed the title song.
Born Stanley Robert Vinton Jr. in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania as the only child of a popular bandleader, his parents both encouraged his early interest in music and by age 16, he had formed his own band and launched his professional career performing at local clubs in the Pittsburgh area. As he grew increasingly popular, he began using his middle name, Robert ("Bobby"), to avoid confusion with his famous father. He graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Music Composition, and while in college, became proficient on the piano, saxophone, trumpet, drums, and various woodwind instruments. After serving for two years in the U.S. Army, Vinton appeared with his band on Guy Lombardo's "TV Talent Scouts," which led to a contract with Epic Records in 1960.
Bobby Vinton debuted in 1962 with the lushly orchestrated "Roses Are Red (My Love)," which topped both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts, made the R&B Top 5, and became the first of his many gold records. During the early 1960s at the peak of his popularity, he also topped the charts with "Blue Velvet" (1963), "There! I've Said It Again" (1963), and "Mr. Lonely" (1964), a doleful ballad inspired by Vinton's time in the Army about a soldier who is sent overseas that he co-wrote with Gene Allan. Vinton and Allan later penned the more upbeat Top 20 follow-up hit, "Coming Home Soldier" (1966), featuring intermittent military-styled brass accompaniment. His very long string of hits, which continued through the early 1980s on both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts, also included "Rain Rain Go Away" (1962), "Blue On Blue" (1963), "My Heart Belongs To Only You" (1964), "Tell Me Why" (1964), "Clinging Vine" (1964), "Long Lonely Nights" (1965), "Please Love Me Forever" (1967), "Take Good Care Of My Baby" (1968), "I Love How You Love Me" (1968), and his cover of the Brian Hyland 1962 smash, "Sealed With A Kiss" (1972). Vinton also had several hits on the Country charts through the late 1980s that included "My Elusive Dreams" (1970), which made the Top 40.
In 1974, Bobby Vinton had a resurgence in popularity with the cheery, old world-styled "My Melody Of Love," a Top 5 gold-certified hit partially sung in Polish that was co-written by Vinton and Henry Mayer and adapted from a German song. This smash, which pays tribute to Vinton's Polish heritage, was adopted by Polish Americans across the country as their new national anthem, and he became known as "The Polish Prince."
From 1975-1978, Vinton hosted "The Bobby Vinton Show" which used "My Melody Of Love" as the theme song. He continued performing and recording actively through 2015, and over the years, appeared in a number of movies and TV shows. Dubbed by Billboard Magazine as
the all-time most successful love singer of the Rock Era, Vinton has over a dozen gold singles and albums and has sold over 75 million records. His many honors and accolades include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an honorary doctorate in Music from his alma mater, Duquesne University.
- For more info about Bobby Vinton, visit bobbyvinton.com.
- Bobby Vinton discusses his early career and musical influences, his concerts in Branson, Missouri, and how his mother inspired him to write "My Melody Of Love" in an interview with Gary James of classicbands.com (ca. mid 2000s).
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- Blue On Blue 1963
- Blue Velvet 1963
(This song topped both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts and was previously a hit for Tony Bennett (1951) and the Statues (1960).)
- Clinging Vine 1964
- Coming Home Soldier 1966
- Dum-De-Da 1966
(This song was previously a hit for Johnny Tillotson (1964, as "She Understands Me").)
- Halfway To Paradise 1968
(This song was previously a hit for Tony Orlando (1961).)
- I Love How You Love Me 1968
(This song was previously a hit for the Paris Sisters (1961).)
- Just As Much As Ever 1967
(This song was previously a hit for Bob Beckham (1959).)
- L-O-N-E-L-Y 1965
- Let's Kiss And Make Up 1962
- Long Lonely Nights 1965
(This song was previously a hit for Lee Andrews & the Hearts (1957) and Clyde McPhatter (1957) and later also became a hit for the Dells (1970).)
- Mr. Lonely 1964
(This song about a lonely soldier topped the charts and was previously a hit for Buddy Greco (1962).)
- My Heart Belongs To Only You 1964
(This song was previously a hit for Jackie Wilson (1961).)
- My Melody Of Love 1974
(This upbeat song alternates between English and Polish in the refrain.)
- Over The Mountain (Across The Sea) 1963
(This song was previously a hit for Johnnie & Joe (1957, 1960).)
- Please Love Me Forever 1967
(This song was previously a hit for Tommy Edwards (1958) and Cathy Jean & the Roommates (1961).)
- Roses Are Red (My Love) 1962
(This song, which is based on the famous short poem of the same name, topped both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts.)
- Satin Pillows 1965
- Sealed With A Kiss 1972
(This song was previously a hit for Brian Hyland (1962) and Gary Lewis & the Playboys (1968).)
- Take Good Care Of My Baby 1968
(This song was previously a hit for Bobby Vee (1961).)
- Tell Me Why 1964
(This lushly orchestrated traditional pop song, which was written by Marty Gold and Al Alberts, Jr., was previously a hit for the Four Aces (1952).)
- There! I've Said It Again 1963
(This song topped both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts and was previously a hit for Sam Cooke (1959).)
- To Know You Is To Love You 1969
(This song previously topped the charts for the Teddy Bears (1958, as "To Know Him Is To Love Him") and also became a hit for Peter & Gordon (1965).)
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