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Bobby Rydell
Bobby Rydell 1960.JPG
Publicity photo, 1960
Robert Louis Ridarelli

(1942-04-26)April 26, 1942
Died April 5, 2022(2022-04-05) (aged 79)
Occupation Singer, actor
Years active 1950–2022
Camille Quattrone
(m. 1968; died 2003)

Linda Hoffman
(m. 2009)
Children 2
Musical career
Genres Rock and roll, traditional pop
Instruments Vocals, drums
Labels Cameo-Parkway, Capitol Records, Reprise Records, (U.S.)
Columbia (U.K.)

Robert Louis Ridarelli (April 26, 1942 – April 5, 2022) known professionally by stage name Bobby Rydell, was an American singer and actor who mainly performed rock and roll and traditional pop music. In the early 1960s he was considered a teen idol. His most well-known songs include "Wild One" and "Volare" (cover); in 1963 he appeared in the musical film Bye Bye Birdie.

In the 1980's he joined a trio called The Golden Boys with fellow former teen idol's Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte and he continued to tour up until his death.


Rydell born in April 1942 was the son of Jennie Ridarelli (nee, Sapienza) and Adrio "Al" Ridarelli; he grew up in the Lower Moyamensing neighborhood of South Philadelphia.

He's professional career started in 1950 on the television series Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club after he won a talent show and gained a spot in the cast, where he remained for several years.

He subsequently changed his name to Bobby Rydell and played in several bands in the Philadelphia area. After releasing three unsuccessful singles for small companies, he signed a recording contract with Cameo Records. After a couple of flops "Kissin' Time" made the charts in 1959. In May 1960, Rydell toured Australia with The Everly Brothers, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Marv Johnson, The Champs, The Crickets, and Lonnie Lee.

His second success was "We Got Love". It was his first album to sell a million copies and obtained gold disc status. "Wild One", followed with "Little Bitty Girl", and it was his second million-selling single. He continued releasing hit songs with "Swingin' School" which was backed by "Ding-A-Ling", and Volare later that year, which sold over a million copies. He performed at the Copacabana in New York City in 1961, where he was the youngest performer to headline at the nightclub. In February 1961 he appeared at the Festival du Rock, at the Palais des Sports de Paris in Paris, France.

Rydell's success and prospects led his father, Adrio, a foreman at the Electro-Nite Carbon Company in Philadelphia, to resign in 1961 after 22 years to become his son's road manager.

Rydell released the song "Wildwood Days" in 1963; it reached Number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained on the chart for nine weeks. A mural on the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk (painted in 2014) honors Rydell, whose song placed the community in the national spotlight.

That same year, he played Hugo Peabody in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie starring Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke. The original stage production of Bye Bye Birdie had no real speaking role for the character of Hugo, but the movie script was rewritten specifically to expand the part for Rydell. In 2011, Sony Pictures digitally restored this film. Rydell and Ann-Margret were in attendance at the restoration premiere in Beverly Hills by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Bobby Rydell
Rydell in 1998

During the 1960s, Rydell had numerous hit records on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His recording career earned him 34 Top 100 hits, placing him in the Top 5 artists of his era (Billboard). They included his most popular successes: "Wild One" (his highest scoring single, at number 2), "Volare" (number 4), "Swingin' School" (number 5), "Kissin' Time" (number 11), "Sway" (number 14), "I've Got Bonnie" (number 18), and "The Cha-Cha-Cha" (number 10). His last major chart success was "Forget Him", which reached number 4 on the Hot 100 in January 1964. The song, written by Tony Hatch, was his fifth and final gold disc winner.

Rydell left Cameo-Parkway Records later in 1964 and signed with Capitol Records. By this point, the British Invasion had arrived and acts such as Rydell suffered a dramatic decline in popularity.

During this time, he performed on many television programs, including the Red Skelton Show, where a recurring role was written for him by Red Skelton as Zeke Kadiddlehopper, Clem Kadiddlehopper's younger cousin. He also appeared on The Danny Thomas Show, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, and The George Burns Show. He was a regular on The Milton Berle Show and was a panelist on "To Tell the Truth" in 1964. On October 6, 1964, he made a guest appearance on the episode 'Duel' of the television series Combat!; it was Rydell's first dramatic acting role.

In 1963, Rydell starred in an unsold television pilot called Swingin' Together produced by Desilu Productions, which featured him as the frontman for a four-piece rock 'n roll band seeking their big break. It was also during this time, Rydell served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 103rd Engineer Battalion.

In January 1968, it was announced in the U.K. music magazine NME that Rydell had signed a long term recording contract with Reprise Records. He continued to perform in nightclubs, supper clubs and Las Vegas venues throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but his career was hampered by Cameo-Parkway catalog owner ABKCO Records' refusal to reissue Rydell's music, so the entire catalog was unavailable until 2005 (although he re-recorded his hits in 1995 for K-tel Records). He would have one more hit after 1965, a disco re-recording of "Sway" which reached the adult contemporary music chart in 1976.

Rydell continued to tour throughout the remainder of his life, often with Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte; they performed under the name The Golden Boys. His autobiography was published in 2016.

Personal life

Rydell was married to his first wife, Camille Quattrone Ridarelli, for 35 years from 1968 until her death in 2003 and they had two children. He married Linda Hoffman in 2009. Rydell was a longtime resident of Penn Valley, Pennsylvania and lived in the same house from 1963 to 2013.

Health and death

Rydell cancelled a 2012 Australia tour because his health had deteriorated significantly and he was in need of urgent major surgery. On July 9, 2012, he underwent a double organ transplant to replace his liver and one kidney at Thomas Jefferson University in his hometown of Philadelphia. In January 2013, six months after double transplant surgery, Rydell returned to the stage in Las Vegas for a three night engagement to a sold out audience. He continued to perform internationally and returned to tour Australia in 2014.

Rydell died from complications of pneumonia at Abington Jefferson Hospital on April 5, 2022, at the age of 79.


In the Broadway musical drama Grease, its film adaptation, and the film's sequel Grease 2, the high school was named "Rydell High" after Rydell.

In 2000, in the book The Beatles Anthology (pg. 96), Paul McCartney said: "John (Lennon) and I wrote 'She Loves You' together. There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We'd planned an 'answering song' where a couple of us would sing 'she loves you' and the other ones would answer 'yeah yeah.' We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called 'She Loves You'. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it—John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars."

No specific song title is given in The Beatles Anthology, but Bob Spitz writes in The Beatles: The Biography that McCartney originally modeled "She Loves You" on the Rydell "answering song" called "Swingin' School" (and not "Forget Him", as is commonly cited).

In the Oscar-winning film Green Book (2018), Rydell is portrayed in the opening scenes by actor Von Lewis.

Albums discography


  • We Got Love (1959)
  • Bobby Sings, Bobby Swings (1960)
  • Bobby's Biggest Hits (1961) (U.S. No. 12)
  • Bobby Rydell Salutes the Great Ones (1961)
  • Rydell at the Copa (1961) (U.S. No. 56)
  • Bobby Rydell/Chubby Checker (1961) (U.S. No. 7)
  • Twistin' (1962) Venise (also includes tracks by Barry Norman and Stephen Garrick)
  • All the Hits (1962) (U.S. No. 88)
  • Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2 (1962) (U.S. No. 61)
  • All the Hits Vol. 2 (1962)
  • Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
  • Wild (Wood) Days (1963)
  • Chubby Checker & Bobby Rydell (1963)
  • Top Hits of 1963 (1963) (U.S. No. 67)
  • Forget Him (1964) (U.S. No. 98)
  • 16 Golden Hits (1965)
  • Somebody Loves Me (1965)
  • Born With a Smile (1976)(1999)
  • Best of Bobby Rydell (1976) (AUS No. 87)
  • Bobby Rydell at His Best: Today and Yesterday (1983)
  • Best of Bobby Rydell (2000) Prestige
  • Now and Then (2000) Para Group International
  • The Complete Bobby Rydell on Capitol (2001) Collectors' Choice
  • Cameo Parkway 1959–1964: Best of Bobby Rydell (2006)
  • Bobby Rydell Salutes the Great Ones/Rydell at the Copa (2010) Ace
  • Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell (2012) Hallmark
  • Very Best of Bobby Rydell (2012)
  • Return of the Original American Idol (2014)
  • All the Hits (2017) Eclipse
  • Seven Classics Albums PLus (2017)
  • All the Hits/Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker (2017) Liberty Bell
  • Bobby Rydell Salutes the Great Ones (2017) Liberty Bell
  • Bobby Sings/We Got Love (2017) Liberty Bell
  • Wildwood Days (2017) Liberty Bell
  • Bobby Rydell Sings /Strand
  • Starring Bobby Rydell /Spin-O-Rama

Singles discography

Release date Title B-side
From same album as A-side except where indicated
Chart positions Album
US Billboard US AC US R&B UK Singles Chart
1959 "Dream Age" "Fatty Fatty" non-LP tracks
"Please Don't Be Mad" "Makin' Time" (non-LP track) Bobby Sings, Bobby Swings
"All I Want Is You" "For You, For You" (non-LP track) We Got Love
"Kissin' Time" "You'll Never Tame Me" (from Bobby's Biggest Hits) 11 29
"We Got Love" b/w 6
"I Dig Girls" 46 Bobby's Biggest Hits
1960 "Wild One" b/w 2 10 7
"Little Bitty Girl" 19
"Swingin' School" b/w 5 44
"Ding-A-Ling" 18
"Volare" "I'd Do It Again" 4 9 22 Bobby Sings, Bobby Swings
"Sway" b/w 14 12 Bobby's Biggest Hits
"Groovy Tonight" 70
1961 "Good Time Baby" b/w 11 42 Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2
"Cherie" (non-LP track) 54
"That Old Black Magic" b/w 21 Bobby Rydell Salutes the Great Ones
"Don't Be Afraid (To Fall in Love)" Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2
"The Fish" "The Third House" (non-LP track) 25 Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2
"I Wanna Thank You" b/w 21 18 Golden Hits
"The Door to Paradise" 85
"Teach Me to Twist" † "Swingin' Together" 109 45 Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker
"Jingle Bell Rock" † "Jingle Bells Imitations" 21 40
1962 "I've Got Bonnie" b/w 18 All the Hits
"Lose Her" 69 Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2
"Fatty, Fatty" "Happy, Happy" non-LP tracks
"I'll Never Dance Again" b/w 14 Bobby's Biggest Hits Vol. 2
"Gee, It's Wonderful" 109
"The Cha-Cha-Cha" "The Best Man Cried" 10
1963 "Steel Pier"
one-sided promotional single
Wild[wood] Days
"Butterfly Baby" "Love is Blind" (non-LP track) 23 All The Stars' Biggest Hits Vol. 2
(various Cameo/Parkway artists)
"Wildwood Days" b/w 17 Wild[wood] Days
"Will You Be My Baby" 114 non-LP tracks
"The Woodpecker Song" b/w
"Little Queenie"
"Let's ... Love Tonight" "Childhood Sweetheart" 98
"Forget Him" "A Message from Bobby" Top Hits of 1963
(bonus 7" single)
1964 "Forget Him" b/w 4 3 13 Forget Him
"Love, Love Go Away"
"Make Me Forget" "Little Girl, You've Had a Busy Day" (non-LP track) 43
"A World Without Love" "Our Faded Love" 80 non-LP tracks
"I Just Can't Say Goodbye" "Two is the Loneliest Number" 94
1965 "Diana" "Stranger in the World" 98 23 Somebody Loves You
"Voce De La Notte" "Ciao, Ciao Bambino" (non-LP track) Forget Him
"Side Show" "The Joker" non-LP tracks
"When I See That Girl of Mine" "It Takes Two"
"The Word for Today" "Roses in the Snow"
1966 "Not You" "She Was the Girl"
"Open for Business as Usual" "You Gotta Enjoy Joy"
1968 "The Lovin' Things" "That's What I Call Livin'"
"The River is Wide" "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder"
"Every Little Bit Hurts" "Time and Changes"
1970 "It Must Be Love" "Chapel on the Hill"
1973 "California Sunshine" "Honey Buns"
"Everything Seemed Better (When I Was Younger)" "Sunday Son"
1976 "Sway" (Disco Version) "Feels Good" 27 Born with a Smile
"You're Not the Only Girl for Me" "Give Me Your Answer"
1977 "It's Getting Better" "The Singles Scene"

Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell

Selected filmography

  • Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
  • Combat!: The Duel (1964)
  • That Lady from Peking (1975)
  • Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (1999)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bobby Rydell para niños

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