Bobby Riddlea Philly-born teen idol in the early 1960s whose songs included “Volare” and “Wild One” and who participated in a scene-stealing dance with Ann-Margret in the 1963 film Bye Bye Birdie, He died today. He was 79 years old.
His death was reported by CBS, a Philadelphia affiliate. Additional details were not immediately available.
So ingrained in the pop environment of the early 1960s that music fat Bobby Riddle named Rydell High School after him, and he recorded some local songs before he recorded his first 20 hits in 1959 with “Kissin’ Time”. That song earned him a spot on an Australian music tour with The Everly Brothers, The Crickets, and others.
His next hit was even bigger: “We Got Love” went gold, followed by “Wild One,” the 1960 million seller and still a staple of Golden Oldies radio. Later that year, Volare came out at number four on the US charts.
His success continued with his selection in the Broadway film version Bye Bye Birdy, with his character Hugo expanding from Broadway to take advantage of Riddle’s popularity. In addition to his duet with Ann-Margret, the two headline one of the film’s most memorable dance scenes, the musical number “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.”
at 2020 interviewRiddle recalled the scene. “I’ve never been a dancer. And by that, I mean I’ve never put on taps. I’ve never been a soft-shoe type guy, but I’ve always been a fairly good drive, and everything in it.” Bye Bye Birdy It is all moves. Shoulders, legs… It took two weeks to rehearse it, and another two weeks to film it. It was a very intense count, with all these different camera angles, and close-ups.”
Riddle continued to perform in nightclubs and casinos throughout the 1980s, later participating in Oldies Revue shows alongside Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and others. Despite serious health issues in subsequent years, he has performed occasionally in Las Vegas, Australia, and elsewhere, and his official website lists upcoming summer concerts in Atlantic City, among other venues.
In addition to fat Nameecheck, Rydell’s legacy lives on in his hometown, where there are at least two streets that bear his name, and in the 2018 Oscar-winning film green bookportrayed by actor Von Lewis.
His influence can also be heard in one of the most enduring and popular songs of the 1960s: The Beatles’ “She Loves You.” Paul McCartney said he and John Lennon were inspired to write the famous “Yeah Yes Yes” lyrics immediately after hearing a similar recall-and-response approach in Riddle’s famous song, most likely the 1960 hit Swingin’ School, in which Riddle sings, “Yes Yes” Yes, I go to a swing school.”
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