Bobby Rydell Dies
LOS ANGELES – Bobby Riddle, the Philadelphia-born teen in the early 1960s whose songs included “Volare” and “Wild One,” passed away today.
And who participated in a scene-stealing dance with Ann-Margret in the 1963 movie Bye Bye Birdie, died today.
He was 79 years old.
Bobby Rydell, 1960s pop idol and star of ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ dies at 79
His death was reported by CBS, a Philadelphia affiliate. Additional details were not immediately available.
His death was confirmed a few days after his 80th birthday by radio legend Jerry Plafat, Riddle’s longtime friend from the singer’s land south of Philadelphia.
Of all the children of that era, said Plavat, he had the best pipes and was the greatest artist. He told the best stories.
He did the best impersonations and was the cutest person.”
A hit with songs such as “Wild One” and his version of “Volare”, Rydell portrayed Hugo Peabody in the George Sidney-directed film adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) in the role starring Michael J. Pollard on Broadway opposite Van Dyck, Susan Watson, and Cheta Rivera.
So rooted in the pop music environment of the early 1960s that Grease named Rydell High School after him, Bobby Rydell recorded a few local songs before he recorded his first 20 in 1959 with the song “Kissin’ Time”.
That song earned him a spot on an Australian music tour with The Everly Brothers, The Crickets, and others.
Born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942, Riddle began singing and playing drums at the age of six, and by seven, he began performing professionally in nightclubs in the Philly/South Jersey area at the behest of his father.
He’s been in nightclubs for decades as a celebrity performer — he sang with Avalon and Fabian, another Philly legend, in an old act called “The Golden Boys” — and Riddle High School’s 1978 box office smash was named.
In 2012, he underwent two organ transplants, receiving 75 percent of a liver and one kidney.