Pneumonia (non-COVID related) has claimed the life of Bobby Rydell at the age of 79. He would have celebrated his 80th birthday April 26.
Born Robert Louis Ridarelli, the Philadelphia native charted 34 singles in the Hot 100, 19 which reached the Top 40. He peaked at #2 with "Wild One". Among his other Top 10 singles were "Volare", "Swingin' School" and "Forget Him".
Bobby also starred in the motion picture "Bye, Bye Birdie" as the meek and mild-mannered Hugo Peabody. He was the youngest performer to headline at New York's Copacabana.
Among his accolades, the fictional Rydell High School in the musical and film "Grease" was named for Bobby. South 11th Street in Philadelphia was renamed in Bobby's honor in 1995.
Bobby married his high-school sweetheart, Camille Quattrone, in 1968. She died in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Linda Hoffman; two children from his first marriage, Robert Ridarelli and Jennifer Dulin; and five grandchildren.
I was saddened to hear the news of Bobby Rydell's passing; he was, IMHO, the best of the early '60's teen idols, largely because he had the best, strongest singing voice of them all. I like so many of his songs that I bought his greatest hits CD years ago. My favorite of his songs is "Forget Him", which was his last major hit. It hit its peak of #4 the week ending January 18, 1964, and it truly marked the end of an era. Because two weeks later, a certain foursome from across the pond would shoot to #1 with a little ditty called "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and pop music would never be the same. And Bobby Rydell would become one of the biggest casualties of the British Invasion. Because while most of the teen idols would make at least a brief comeback later on in the 60's or 70's, Bobby Rydell never did, at least not in the Top 40. (Though, ironically, he had a minor chart hit later in 1964 with his recording of "A World Without Love", penned by Lennon and McCartney.) Fortunately, Bobby Rydell continued to be a successful concert draw in his later years. RIP, Bobby!
"Who do you love?"---Bo Diddley
"Swear allegiance to the flag, whatever flag they offer. Never hint at what you really feel."---Mike and the Mechanics