Teen idols are nothing new; you can trace them all the way back to Frank Sinatra and the Bobby-soxers. Bobby Rydell is one of those most enduring performers.
Bobby’s career started in 1950 at the age of only nine when he won a talent contest and earned a permanent spot on the show. He both sang and played drums. He began recording singles in 1959 and nearly hit the top ten with his third release, Kissin’ Time.
In 1962 Bobby recorded I’ll Never Dance Again, which reached #14 that Summer. It’s telling that the single was covered by Freddie and the Dreamers in 1964 and by Herman’s Hermits in 1965.
His next single, The Cha-Cha-Cha, brought him back into the top ten again. A long string of top forty singles followed that only ended in 1964 when the Beatles kicked off the British Invasion. When the hits stopped coming it didn’t matter much because Bobby had already created a second career as an actor in movies and television.
When CDs showed up, I spent a lot of time (and money!) replacing a lot of my old singles and albums. It was particularly annoying that Bobby Rydell was one of the artists whose record label (ABKCO) wasn’t interested in releasing Bobby’s music on CDs. It stung even worse when he rerecorded his singles for KTEL. I ordered that CD online and immediately returned it after I dropped the CD into my computer and discovered the CD was remakes and not the original records. At least CDs are better labeled now! The original, mostly mono recordings did finally show up on CD in 2005.
Bobby had a health scare in 2012 and had a double organ transplant that saved his life. He is healthy enough to return to live performances six months later and continues to make appearances. He both appears as a solo artist and as part of “The Golden Boys” with his long-time friends Frankie Avalon and Fabian. If that sounds familiar, give a listen to the Four Preps 1960 hit, Got A Girl.