||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
Tony Bellus (born Anthony J. Bellusci, 17 April 1936, Chicago, Illinois) is a vocalist and musician whose first recording was with Shi-Fi Records in 1958. His greatest and best known recorded song is Robbin' The Cradle, a self-composed ballad he recorded in Chicago in 1959.
The recording of Robbin' The Cradle contained a number of styles and musical combinations. It combined an Italian pop singer playing an accordion à la Dick Contino, being backed with a basically country/rockabilly band augmented with a background Latino vocal group. Upon hearing Bellus perform the song in Chicago, NRC Vice-President Boots Woodall leased the master for the NRC label, and the song peaked at #25 on 17 August 1959 and stayed on the Hot 100 for 26 weeks, the most weeks for any Hot 100 entry all within the calendar year 1959.
Attempts at follow-ups were hampered when the original National Recording Corporation went bankrupt 27 April 1961. The company reappeared in 1962 under the aegis of Georgia theatre magnate Frederick Storey. The reorganization and a stint in the Army took the momentum from Bellus' career. Many critics incorrectly thought that Bellus was a one shot artist who never again recorded anything after his 1959 hit.
Tony Bellus was considered a welcomed performer and singing sensation throughout the Chicago area night club scene in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a mainstay performer appearing nightly at the famous Fritzel's restaurant at the corner of State and Lake Streets in downtown Chicago. Fritzel's was famous for its world-class cuisine and fine entertainment, and it was a personal favorite of local and visiting celebrities and dignitaries. Many of whom came to enjoy Tony's "Rat Pack Style" of crooning the pop hits and love songs of the day. Besides vocally talented, Tony also played many instruments, piano, guitar, accordion/Cordovox.
Bellus has returned to the NRC label with a CD release of the 1959 album that followed the single's success. The old NRC music library was purchased by Georgia music historian and producer Johnny F. Carter in 2004. Two CD singles have since then been released by NRC: "Hang Up 'n' Drive" and the Christmas-themed "I Want Florida For Christmas". An CD of favorite Italian songs and a compilation titled "Now And Then" are slated for release in 2013.
Bellus resides in Florida with his wife Tammy, also a songwriter.
- Gillett, Charlie (1996). The sound of the city: the rise of rock and roll. Da Capo Press. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-306-80683-4. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Cotten, Lee (2002). The Golden Age of American Rock 'n Roll: Reelin' & rockin' : 1956-1959. Popular Culture, Ink. p. 353. ISBN 978-1-56075-039-0. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (1992). The Billboard Pop Charts: 1955-1959 (27 April 1959 through 19 October 1959). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-092-X.