Bobby Rydell, the 1960s teen heartthrob who starred in the 1963 musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie, has died. He was 79.
After to diversity, the cause of death was pneumonia. He died just a few weeks before he would have turned 80 on April 26.
The Philadelphia triple threat, born Robert Louis Ridarelli, was famous for hip-swinging rock ‘n’ roll hits like “Volare” and “Wild One” and acted next to Ann-MargretDick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh in the Oscar-nominated Bye Bye Birdie.
CBS3’s Ukee Washington in Philly shared the news on social media on Tuesday. “A music legend from Philadelphia … has died. Sending prayers of comfort, strength and love to Bobby Rydell’s family and fans.” he wrote on twitter.
The bustling shores of nearby Wildwood, New Jersey was where Rydell was inspired to sing “Wildwood Days.” The hometown hero is now the namesake for several streets in Philadelphia and Wildwood. He supposedly grown up in the same neighborhoods as Frankie Avalon and Fabian, other famous singers of the era.
In a 2016 interview, he said said, that “Wildwood Day summed up his own life best, calling it ‘the national anthem of the United States.’ [New Jersey] Shore.” But he added that most people know him for “Volare,” calling it “my walk-in music and my walk-in music.”
He also dismissed suggestions that he was one of the rockers of his generation.
“I wasn’t really a rock and roll singer,” Rydell said in the same interview. “You had to do that to make it. I’m an American songbook guy.”
On his way to selling more than 25 million records, he toured much of his career as part of the stage production of The Golden Boys, alongside Philadelphia teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian.
His influence on popular music was felt for generations, with Paul McCartney reportedly citing Rydell’s “Swinging School” as the inspiration for The Beatles’ “She Loves You” – specifically the “yeah yeah yeah” lyrics Rydell had used in the 1960s Song “Swingin’ School”.
And Rydell High from the movie Grease – this is also a nod to Bobby, who acknowledges that bandleader Benny Goodman became his inspiration after seeing him in concert with his father as a child.
“I don’t know his name, daddy, but I want to be that guy. I want to be that drummer,” Rydell said he told his father.
But many fans would remember him for a specific “Bye Bye Birdie” dance scene alongside Ann-Margret on the song “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.” The irony: He didn’t think of himself as a big hoof.
“I was never a dancer. And by that I mean I never hung up. I wasn’t a soft shoe type, but I’ve always been a pretty good mover and all in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is all moving,” he said in a 2020 interview. “The shoulders, the legs… It took two weeks to rehearse and another two weeks to shoot. It was a very, very intense number with all these different camera angles and close-ups.”
With the publication of his 2016 memoir “Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol On The Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances,” he told an interviewer that performing was in his blood from a young age.
“It’s been my life since I was seven,” said Rydell, who has been a frequent guest on variety shows hosted by the likes of Red Skelton, George Burns, Jack Benny and Danny Thomas. “I have absolutely no complaints about my career. You know, it had its ups and downs, its peaks and valleys and so on and so on. But I got through it all and continue to do what I really enjoy.”
2012 he has undergone a double organ transplant to replace his liver and a kidney and was back on stage within six months.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/05/bobby-rydell-teen-idol-and-volare-singer-dead-at-79/ Bobby Rydell, teen idol and “Volare” singer, died at 79