Bobby Rydell

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Bobby Rydell
Bobby Rydell.jpg
Background information
Birth nameRobert Louis Ridarelli
Born (1942-04-26) April 26, 1942 (age 76)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresRock and roll, traditional pop
Occupation(s)Singer, actor
InstrumentsVocals, drums
Years active1958–present
LabelsCameo-Parkway Capitol Records Reprise Records (US)
Columbia (UK)

Bobby Rydell (born Robert Louis Ridarelli; April 26, 1942[1]) is an American professional singer, mainly of rock and roll music. In the early 1960s, he was considered a teen idol. His most well known songs include "Wild One" and "Volare" (cover), and he appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie in 1963.[1]


A mural of Rydell in Wildwood, New Jersey in honor of his hit song, "Wildwood Days".

Rydell was born to an Italian family, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. In 1950, he won a talent show on the television series Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club and gained a spot on the cast, where he remained for several years. He changed his name to Bobby Rydell and played in several bands in the Philadelphia area. After three unsuccessful singles for small companies, he signed a recording contract with Cameo Records. After a couple of flops, "Kissin' Time" reached the charts in 1959.[1] In May 1960, Rydell toured Australia with The Everly Brothers, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Marv Johnson, The Champs and The Crickets, recording an Australian version of "Kissin' Time" for the event.

His second success, "We Got Love", was his first million-album seller, gaining gold disc status.[2] His 1960's "Wild One", backed with "Little Bitty Girl", was his second million-selling single; his successes continued with "Swingin' School" backed with "Ding-A-Ling", and the million-album selling Volare later that year.[3] He performed at the Copacabana in New York in 1961, where he was the youngest performer to headline at the nightclub.[1][2] In February 1961 he appeared at the Festival du Rock, at the Palais des Sports de Paris in Paris, France.[4]

Rydell's success and prospects led his father, Adrio, a foreman at the Electro-Nite Carbon Company in Philadelphia, to resign in 1961 after 22 years to become his son's road manager.[5]

Rydell released the song "Wildwood Days" in 1963. That year he played Hugo Peabody in the movie version of Bye Bye Birdie with Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke.[1] The original stage production of Bye Bye Birdie had no real speaking role for the character of Hugo, but the movie script was rewritten specifically to expand the part for Rydell. In 2011, Sony Pictures digitally restored this film. Rydell and Ann-Margret were in attendance at the restoration premiere in Beverly Hills by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rydell in 1960

During the 1960s, Rydell had numerous hit records on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart. His recording career earned him 34 Top 100 hits, placing him in the Top 5 artists of his era (Billboard). These included his most popular successes, "Wild One" (his highest scoring single, at number 2), "Volare" (number 4), "Swingin' School" (number 5), "Kissin' Time" (number 11), "Sway" (number 14), "I've Got Bonnie" (number 18) and "The Cha-Cha-Cha" (number 10). His last major chart success was "Forget Him", which reached number 4 on the Hot 100 in January 1964. The song, written by Tony Hatch, was his fifth and final gold disc winner.[6]

Rydell left Cameo-Parkway Records later in 1964 and signed with Capitol Records.[7] By this point, the British Invasion had arrived and acts such as Rydell suffered a dramatic decline in popularity.[8]

During this time, he performed on many television programs, including the Red Skelton Show, where a recurring role was written for him by Red Skelton as Zeke Kadiddlehopper, Clem Kadiddlehopper's younger cousin. He also appeared on the Danny Thomas Show, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, and The George Burns Show. Rydell was a regular on The Milton Berle Show. And was a panel member of "To Tell the Truth" in 1964.

On October 6, 1964, he made a guest appearance on the episode 'Duel' of the television series Combat!. This was Rydell's first dramatic acting role.[1]

In January 1968, it was announced in the UK music magazine NME that Rydell had signed a long term recording contract with Reprise Records company.[9] He continued to perform in nightclubs, supper clubs and Las Vegas venues throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but his career was hampered by Cameo-Parkway catalogue owner ABKCO Records' refusal to reissue Rydell's music, so the entire catalog was unavailable until 2005 (although he re-recorded his hits in 1995 for K-Tel Records).[10] He would have one more hit after 1965, a disco re-recording of "Sway," which reached the adult contemporary music charts in 1977.

Later life[edit]

Rydell was married to his first wife, Camille Quattrone Ridarelli from 1968 until her death in 2003. He remarried in 2009, to Linda Hoffman. Rydell continued to perform as a solo act and has toured as part of The Golden Boys stage production since 1985 (with Frankie Avalon and Fabian). However, Rydell cancelled his 2012 Australia tour because his health had deteriorated significantly and he was in need of urgent major surgery.[11] On July 9, 2012, he underwent a double organ transplant to replace his liver and one kidney at Thomas Jefferson University in his hometown of Philadelphia.[12] In January 2013, six months after double transplant surgery, Rydell returned to the stage in Las Vegas for a three night engagement to a sold out audience. He continues to perform internationally and he returned to tour Australia in 2014.


In both the Broadway musical drama Grease and the film Grease, the high school was named "Rydell High" after Rydell.[13]

In 2000 in the book, The Beatles Anthology (pg. 96), Paul McCartney said: "John (Lennon) and I wrote 'She Loves You' together. There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We'd planned an 'answering song' where a couple of us would sing 'she loves you' and the other ones would answer 'yeah yeah.' We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called "She Loves You." So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it—John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars."

No specific song title is given in The Beatles Anthology, but Bob Spitz writes in The Beatles: The Biography that McCartney originally modeled "She Loves You" on the Rydell "answering song" called "Swingin' School" (and not "Forget Him", as is commonly cited).[14]

Singles discography[edit]

Release date Title B-side
From same album as A-side except where indicated
Chart Positions Album
US Billboard[15] CB US AC[16] US R&B[16] UK Singles Chart[17]
1959 "Dream Age" "Fatty Fatty" Non-LP tracks
"Please Don't Be Mad" "Makin' Time" (Non-LP track) Bobby Sings, Bobby Swings
"All I Want Is You" "For You, For You" (Non-LP track) We Got Love
"Kissin' Time" "You'll Never Tame Me" (from Bobby's Biggest Hits) 11 16 29
"We Got Love" b/w 6 4
"I Dig Girls" 46 68 Bobby's Biggest Hits
1960 "Wild One" b/w 2 3 10 7
"Little Bitty Girl" 19 43
"Swingin' School" b/w 5 6 44
"Ding-A-Ling" 18 17
"Volare" "I'd Do It Again" 4 4 9 22 Bobby Sings, Bobby Swings
"Sway" b/w 14 12 12 Bobby's Biggest Hits
"Groovy Tonight" 70
1961 "Good Time Baby" b/w 11 13 42 Bobby's Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
"Cherie" (Non-LP track) 54 87
"That Old Black Magic" b/w 21 21 Bobby Rydell Salutes The Great Ones
"Don't Be Afraid (To Fall In Love)" 101 Bobby's Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
"The Fish" "The Third House" (Non-LP track) 25 17 Bobby's Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
"I Wanna Thank You" b/w 21 22 18 Golden Hits
"The Door To Paradise" 85 81
"Teach Me To Twist" † "Swingin' Together" 109 76 45 Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker
"Jingle Bell Rock" † "Jingle Bells Imitations" 21 38 40
1962 "I've Got Bonnie" b/w 18 17 All The Hits
"Lose Her" 69 66 Bobby's Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
"Fatty, Fatty" "Happy, Happy" Non-LP tracks
"I'll Never Dance Again" b/w 14 19 Bobby's Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
"Gee, It's Wonderful" 109 112
"The Cha-Cha-Cha" "The Best Man Cried" 10 13
1963 "Steel Pier"
One-sided promotional single
Wild[wood] Days
"Butterfly Baby" "Love Is Blind" (Non-LP track) 23 24 All The Stars' Biggest Hits, Vol. 2
(Various Cameo/Parkway artists)
"Wildwood Days" b/w 17 26 Wild[wood] Days
"Will You Be My Baby" 114 Non-LP tracks
"The Woodpecker Song" b/w 92
"Little Queenie" 142
"Let's Make Love Tonight" "Childhood Sweetheart" 98 92
"Forget Him" "A Message From Bobby" Top Hits of 1963
Bonus 7" single
1964 "Forget Him" b/w 4 5 3 13 Forget Him
"Love, Love Go Away" 144
"Make Me Forget" "Little Girl, You've Had A Busy Day" (Non-LP track) 43 57
"A World Without Love" "Our Faded Love" 80 103 Non-LP tracks
"I Just Can't Say Goodbye" "Two Is The Loneliest Number" 94 119
1965 "Diana" "Stranger In The World" 98 110 23 Somebody Loves You
"Voce De La Notte" "Ciao, Ciao Bambino" (Non-LP track) Forget Him
"Side Show" "The Joker" 131 Non-LP tracks
"When I See That Girl Of Mine" "It Takes Two"
"The Word For Today" "Roses In The Snow"
1966 "Not You" "She Was The Girl"
"Open For Business As Usual" "You Gotta Enjoy Joy"
1968 "The Lovin' Things" "That's What I Call Livin'"
"The River Is Wide" "Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder"
"Every Little Bit Hurts" "Time And Changes"
1970 "It Must Be Love" "Chapel On The Hill"
1973 "California Sunshine" "Honey Buns"
"Everything Seemed Better (When I Was Younger)" "Sunday Son"
1976 "Sway" (Disco Version) "Feels Good" 115 27 Born With A Smile
"You're Not The Only Girl For Me" "Give Me Your Answer"
1977 "It's Getting Better" "The Singles Scene"

Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Biography by Kim Summers". Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 118. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 128. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 91. CN 5585.
  5. ^ Billboard, October 16, 1961, p. 36
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 165. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ "Billboard – Google Books". 1964-11-14. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  8. ^ Cogan, Brian (December 12, 2011). Abbe A. Debolt and James S. Baugess, eds. Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. Greenwood Press. pp. 80–81. ISBN 9780313329449. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London, UK: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 180. CN 5585.
  10. ^ "Bobby Rydell bio at". 1942-04-26. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  11. ^ Ronald P. Smith (2012-03-07). "Oldies Music News". Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  12. ^ "60s singer Rydell gets 2 organ transplants in Pa". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  13. ^ "Bobby Rydell Biography". Archived from the original on 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  14. ^ Bob Spitz (2012-06-25). "The Beatles: The Biography". Little, Brown. Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  15. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955–2008. 12th edn, 2009, pp. 848-849.
  16. ^ a b "Allmusic ((( Bobby Rydell – Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles )))".
  17. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 477. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]