Bobby Rydell, the one-time 60’s teen idol, passed away Tuesday from pneumonia at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, three weeks before his 80th birthday.
Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26th, 1942 in Philadelphia. Rydell started singing and playing drums by age six. By seven years old, he began performing professionally in nightclubs in the Philly/South New Jersey area with the urging of his father.
Rydell had 34 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Wild One” being the highest charting single at #2, followed by his version of “Volare” at #4. Rydell’s run of top 10 songs began with “We Got Love,” which went to #6 in 1959. His last top 10 hit was “Forget Him” in 1964. The musical and movie Grease saluted Rydell by naming the high school after him.
Rydell said, "It was so nice to know that the high school [in Grease] was named after me,” he said. “And I said, ‘Why me?’ It could have been [Paul] Anka High, [Elvis] Presley High , Everly [Brothers] High, Fabian High, [Frankie] Avalon High. And they came up with Rydell High, and once again, total honor.”
Rydell also had a few roles in movies, including starring with Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke in 1963's Bye Bye Birdie. Rydell married his second wife Linda in 2009 and had a double transplant -- liver and kidney – back in 2012.
[Source: Classic Hits Today]