Bobby Rydell was an American entertainment legend!
Rydell first took the stage as a professional drummer at the age of 9. A polished performer by the age of 19, he was the youngest person ever to headline the famous Copacabana in New York. Bobby’s recording career earned him 34 Top 40 hits, placing him in the Top 5 artists of his era (Billboard Magazine). Bobby’s hits include million selling singles Volare, Wild One, We Got Love, Kissin’ Time, Swingin’ School, Wildwood Days, and Forget Him, selling a combined total of over 25 million records.
In 1963, Bobby starred with Ann- Margret in the iconic movie “Bye Bye Birdie.” They appeared a few years ago together recently at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences premiere of the digital restoration of the movie.
Bobby Rydell’s influence on popular music was profound. When the producers of “Grease” wanted to pay tribute to the era in which the popular musical was set, they named the high school where most of the action took place “Rydell High” in his honor.
In 1995, his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania named the street he was born “Bobby Rydell Boulevard.” The City of Philadelphia sponsored “block party” followed dedication ceremonies — Quite a tribute to a city’s favorite native son! Wildwood, New Jersey also has a street named for Bobby in appreciation for Bobby’s massive hit, “Wildwood Days.”
On July 9, 2012, Bobby underwent a double organ transplant. He received 75% of a liver and one kidney. His life was about to end when the generous family of a dying child saved 8 lives by organ donation. Bobby returned to the stage in Las Vegas in just 6 months, turning near tragedy to triumph. He was dedicated to public awareness; spreading the word to the world in his travels about the Gift of Life through organ donation.
As a reviewer of one of Bobby’s recent performance simply stated, “Bobby Rydell is a true American music treasure.” And he truly was!