I wasn’t sure if the “Rydell High” in the movie “Grease” was actually named after him. “I guess it was,” Bobby said. “I was 36 years old when that movie came out and I already had a high school named after me! Would you believe I have never seen the film?”
How many times have you eaten at an Italian restaurant and heard Dean Martin sing “Volare?” His version came out in 1958 and became one of Rydell’s mom’s favorite songs. As Bobby was putting his album together, his mom convinced Bobby to add a cover of her favorite tune, and “Volare” became Bobby’s biggest hit! Typical of an Italian son!
Guys like Avalon and Rydell represent that next generation of “cool” after Sinatra and Martin. They are still out there, performing in suits and tuxedos, still drawing screaming fans and swooning females. That Philadelphia sound made popular by Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” and fostered by those “Golden Boys” is as popular as ever.
Being “Backstage” with Bobby was a wonderful experience. He is a great guy who is as passionate about his career now as he ever was. I guess, going to a Bobby Rydell concert is actually like graduating from “Rydell High.” Regardless, he is a living legend, and a living example of a never-say-die attitude.
Thank you, Bobby, for all the hits, all the shows, and showing us that faith, hope and passion can actually work when the dawn appears to be at its darkest.
• Ron Onesti is president and CEO of The Onesti Entertainment Corp. and The Historic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Celebrity questions and comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.