I read this article on an eBay page, where I was able to "zoom" in. Unfortunately, I can't replicate that zoom, but basically, it's Bobby Rydell hedging his bets. The conventional wisdom ever since 1956 was that rock'n'roll couldn't last, that it was a passing fad. Well, in 1960, when according to that eBay site, this article appeared somewhere (it's torn out of a magazine, and that's what's for sale), the fad wasn't so passe that Rydell couldn't have a song go all the way to number two on the Billboard chart. That was in addition to several other hits that year. Rydell got his first hit on the charts a year earlier, and would continue to have hits for the next couple of years.
Finally, in 1964, rock 'n' roll ended...
...and rock began.
At least that's how they tell the story nowadays. It may be that there's no actual cut-off date between "rock 'n' roll" and "rock", but I do know the language had changed for good by the time I got to seventh grade some ten years later and told this one classmate I liked rock 'n' roll, only to be dismissed as a total nerd. Didn't I know rock was Led Zeppelin and rock 'n' roll was something they played on Happy Days? The Beatles, at least, liked rock 'n' roll, which had come along when they were entering their teenage years, and was what inspired them to go into music in the first place. But their tweaking of the sound (along with further tweaking by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and several others) spelled doom, or the nostalgic circuit, for the likes of Bobby Rydell. But he never complained. And it's not like he sunk into total obscurity. In fact, he got a...
...high school named after him.
(My apologies to Shady, who recently showed this on his own blog.)
I remember his name but I can't remember his music. What fab hair in the last photo. Not bad looking in a cultivated American college boy manner.ReplyDelete
Andrew, he looks like a teenage Bobby Kennedy.Delete
Kirk, I'm in shock! This is the third of fourth time in my blogging career that a celebrity has died while I am featuring them in a post. I didn't know that Bobby Rydell, one of Philadelphia's foremost teen idols, has passed away at the too young age of 79!ReplyDelete
No need to apologize for posting "Swingin' School." I appreciate you introducing other people to this major figure on the pop music scene in the pre-Beatles period. I enjoyed listening to some of Bobby's hits here this morning and recalling his appearance in the 1963 musical film Bye Bye Birdie.
Actually, my favorite Bobby Rydell recording came after The Beatles were already a thing. It's a cover of "A World Without Love," a song written by Paul McCartney and first recorded by the British duo Peter and Gordon, the first single released by P&G in February, 1964. I like Bobby's version more than the Brit duo's original. Released in April of that year, Bobby's record only reached #80 nationally, but it was red hot in my neck of the woods, hitting #1 in Philly and #4 in Pittsburgh. I am also reminded that, ten years later, Kiss recorded a rock interpretation of Bobby's first hit "Kissin' Time" (1959). The Kiss cover was released as a single and also included on their eponymous 1974 debut album.
Thank you very much for remembering one of the greats of boomer era popular music - the late, and great, Bobby Rydell. Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Kirk!
Shady, I actually did check out your post from I believe two weeks ago so as not to use the same song, but I ended the main part of the post with the Grease reference, and I had used the word "school" and the song was "Swinging School", well, I couldn't resist.Delete
I had never heard the Rydell version of "A World Without Love" and so checked it out right now on YouTube. Pretty good! Do I like it better than the original? I honestly can't say. I'm more USED to the Peter and Gordon version, and being used to something can sometimes fool you into thinking you like it better. It would be interesting to hear Paul McCartney's view on all this.
Speaking of Peter and Gordon, I just now stumbled upon a YouTube video dated 2008 that has the Smothers Brothers introducing the duo. These two guys who look to be in their 60s come out on stage. They open their mouths, and I swear, it's these 20-something voices you hear! I suppose it's possible they were lip syncing to their younger selves, but I don't think so.
He was always adorable.ReplyDelete
He had great teeth, Mitchell, but just now I re-watched the "We Got Love" video, and I don't know how that skinny frame of his was able to support that huge ducktail on top of his head.Delete
I like the classic rock & roll sound too, but music marches on, doesn't it? Every era has its unique virtues of sound though.ReplyDelete
Oh, Debra, I don't consider the musical changing of the guard that occurred in the mid-1960s to be a bad thing, especially where the Beatles are concerned. It was just that I was reading Rydell's obituary where it said that his career went into a decline during the British Invasion. Then I came across the article that I have at the top of the post that has him supposedly questioning whether to continue singing rock'n'roll, and so many were predicting its imminent demise, and it occurred to me that Rydell's kind of music did come to an end, just not in the way he expected. He thought maybe Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin type of songs were the way to go, not unreasonably, as they still did well on the charts.Delete
That should be "AS so many were predicting its imminent demise." The grammar check failed me there.Delete
Both Dean Martin and Bobby Rydell sang "Volare"Delete
I'm only fairly familiar with his music. But I loved Rydell High--and for some reason did not put two and two together, for as many times as I have watched Grease. Incidentally, Grease was the first non-animated movie I watched in the theater. The first movie I did see in the theater was Disney's Robin Hood in NYC with my Mom and Godmother.ReplyDelete
JM, it's actually Venice High School in Southern California. Squint at the picture and you'll notice palm trees here and there.Delete
As of 2014, the school was still standing:Delete
I haven't heard these songs in a long time. 79? He was just a kid! And it's too damn close for me.ReplyDelete
Mike, here's what's ironic. Grace Slick is 82, Ringo Starr is 81, and Bob Dylan is 80, all just a tad older than Rydell, yet they were all part of a musical movement that superseded his.Delete
I knew the name but I don't think he made a big impression in England. But it is good to see some clips and learn a bit about the man behind the name, even though I guess it's too late now 🤔ReplyDelete
It's never too late, Jenny. People still talk about Caruso.Delete