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Tony Bellus (born Anthony J. Bellusci; April 17, 1936) is a Chicago-born vocalist and musician whose first recording was with Shi-Fi Records in 1958. His best known recorded song is Robbin' The Cradle, a self-composed ballad he recorded in his native 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 leased the master for the NRC label, and the song peaked at #25 on 17 August 1959 and stayed on the Billboard 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 April 27, 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.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Bellus was a singing sensation throughout the Chicago area nightclub scene. 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 a personal favorite of local and visiting celebrities and dignitaries.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Bellus continued composing music, also performing at beach hotels and restaurants on the west coast of Florida, where he had relocated from the Chicago area.
The old NRC music library was purchased by Georgia music historian and producer Johnny F. Carter in 2004. Bellus returned to the NRC label with a CD release of the 1959 album that followed the success of the Robbin' The Cradle single. Bellus' connection with the new NRC ended with the death of Johnny Carter in 2016.
Bellus is re-inventing his career through Bellusci Music Publishing Company and M.M.P. (Marathon Musical Productions), offering two new CD singles: 1) I Want Florida for Christmas; and 2) Mackinac Island, which is a remix and remastering of his 1986 classic 45 rpm version. Also, a CD album titled Then and Now is near completion.
Bellus resides in Florida with his wife Tammy, also a songwriter. Directing his attention to Christian music, his desire is to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ through his song, It Is Finished (e' finito).
- 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 April 6, 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 (April 27, 1959 through October 19, 1959). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-092-X.