Bobby Rydell
".. he (Bobby) didn't want to come around anymore because he didn't want to be just one of the kids on the show."
-- Dick Clark
Of the "teen idols" that came on to the music scene in 1958, Bobby Rydell may have been the most musically talented and experienced, but he was the last to catch on. By 1959, Philadelphia, the home of American Bandstand had promoted the careers of Frankie Avalon and Fabian and numerous other acts. Rydell had been doing night clubs and local television since he was nine. He was a drummer for Rocco & the Saints who had a trumpet player named Frankie Avalon. A promoter, Frankie Day thought he could get Rydell a recording contract and took him to various record companies. He did get a chance (with Rocco & The Saints) to back Frankie Avalon's early hits. Veko records in Baltimore finally recorded him in 1958 -- "Fatty, Fatty" which got little play time. Then Day got Rydell a shot with Cameo records in Philadelphia. Again, his initial records were not successful. Day then wrangled him a spot on Bandstand, but not performing. He was asked to be "one of the kids" and sit in the front seat of a car while Paul Evans was performing his current hit, "Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat." His next appearance on Bandstand was an interview (no singing spot) where he plugged "Please Don't Be Mad." By 1959, Rydell was getting discouraged as he saw Avalon at the top of the charts, and even Fabian, who had little singing talent, recording hit records. Then he recorded "Kissin' Time" and it started getting air play. He finally got a spot on Bandstand performing in August and he lyp-synched both "Kissin' Time" and "We Got Love." Both would climb into the top 20 and Rydell's career was on its way. His singing style was very "teen idol" oriented as it was rock / pop / big band. The lyrics were very teen centered and the appeal of the young, handsome Rydell to the teen and preteen girls was predictable. One can imagine them all singing along with the ever-present female backups on his records. From 1959 to 1964, Rydell was a mainstay of the pop chart, with 19 records making the top 25. In 1963 he was cast for the movie version of "Bye Bye Birdie." The story is about a rock and roller who is about to get drafted into the army (who does that sound like?) and visits a small town for a publicity stunt of "one last kiss." Rydell didn't play the rock and roller, instead he was cast as the teen boyfriend, Hugh Peabody, opposite Anne Margaret. He sang "One Boy" and was part of "The Telephone Song." It was a creditable performance but it didn't lead to a robust Hollywood career. When the British Invasion hit, Rydell (like most other pre-1964 acts) tried to fit in -- he released a version of the Peter & Gordon hit, "World Without Love," but it was buried by the English version. Rydell eventually became a staple of the night club circuit and later toured very successfully with various rock and roll revues, notably with Avalon and Fabian as "The Golden Boys." And, of course, his name is immortalized in the movie, "Grease" -- Rydell High School.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
We Got Love 10/26/59 6 14
Kissin' Time 10/26/59 11 9
Wild One 2/8/60 2 13
Little Bitty Girl 2/22/60 19 10
Swingin' School 5/16/60 5 8
Ding A Ling 5/16/60 18 8
Volare 8/1/60 4 11
Sway 11/14/60 14 10
Good Time Baby 2/6/61 11 8
Bonnie 3/10/62 18 7
I'll Never Dance Again 6/23/62 14 7
The Cha Cha Cha 10/27/62 10 8
Wildwood Days 6/1/63 17 5
Forget Him 12/7/63 4 12
A World Without Love 5/3/64 50 1