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Bobby Rydell grew up on the streets of South Philadelphia, where early on he developed a passion for drumming prior to his singing career. His warm voice, fantastic ear, pompadour and winning smile attracted tons of screaming teen girls and he garnered high-prestige bookings at the likes of the Copacabana.
Legends like Frank Sinatra admired the youthful Rydell and encouraged his career. His father, too, was a crucial mentor and even though he endured ups and down with his mother, she knew a good song when she heard one. Because of her suggestion, he recorded the classic Italian song 'Volare', singing the lyrics in English whilst swinging the beat. Like ‘Wild One', it became one of his highest charting hits.
Impressario Dick Clark featured Rydell on his popular TV show 'American Bandstand', which was filmed in Phillie, luckily for the singer. He also enjoyed acting. He was director's choice when it came time to cast the role of Hugo Peabody (co-star of actress Ann Margret) for the musical 'Bye Bye Birdie', loosely based on Elvis Presley's army induction and reign as teen idol. Rydell was considered a "triple-threat" because he could sing, act and learn complicated dance routines.
Fast forward to the British Invasion which drastically changed the way young Americans viewed pop culture and style. Suddenly long hair was in and electric guitars were king. Where did that leave Rydell and other Phillie-born teen idols like Frankie Avalon and Fabian? For that matter, what about the American girl groups? Where was their place in this new world?
Of course, the hard-working Rydell kept at it, struggling to maintain his career, as did other popular American artists once the tide had turned. Yet, as it turns out, Bobby Rydell's ideas had been admired from across the pond. The Beatles saw the genius in his style and used one of his catchy phrases in an early hit recording..it wouldn't be fair to tell you which one now, would it?
It wasn’t just fame that threw a curve ball. Bobby experienced devastating loss when he lost his young, first wife, Camille. He developed drinking problems and ultimately found out he had to have a double transplant surgery, but a "special angel" gave him a second chance (To this day, he celebrates the young woman’s generosity). Only a year later, he suffered a heart attack. The way in which Rydell dealt with these setbacks is especially moving.
With 'The Golden Boys' act (with Frankie Avalon and Fabian), Rydell truly regained his status as an engaging entertainer. These dramatic, bittersweet and miraculous events are relayed in a sensitive, thorough manner. You'll be rooting for Rydell as you turn the pages.
It’s important to note that Rydell has a history of supporting veterans by appearing at special concerts and by working with the USO. You’ll find that Rydell’s heart is every bit as big as his talent.
'Teen Idol on 'The Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances' is more than a treasure trove of showbiz zeitgiest, it's a heartfelt American story about perseverance and rising above adversity.
Commenting On: Raging Pages - Bobby Rydell
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In his new autobiography, American vocalist Bobby Rydell chronicles his early rise to fame and subsequent personal challenges and triumphs.
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