At seventeen, Bobby Rydell was the face of American Bandstand — the kid from Italian South Philly with the smoothest voice, the highest pompadour, and the sweetest smile. And there were those hits: “Wild One,” “Volare,” and “Forget Him,” to name a few. He was far more than just a teen idol. Bobby’s voice and boy next door charm earned him a spot singing, acting, and dancing with Ann-Margret in the film adaptation of the hit musical comedy, Bye Bye Birdie. His comedic talents made him a nighttime fixture during the golden age of TV variety shows, and his phrasing and musicianship led to dozens of headlining gigs in the casino showrooms of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Frank Sinatra anointed him as his favorite pop singer of the early ‘60s. But early success took a toll on his life. Bobby Rydell’s brutally honest street corner narrative evolved during an eighteen-month collaboration with Allan Slutsky, the award-winning author and producer of the widely acclaimed book and documentary film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Inspiring, gut-busting, and, at times, heartbreaking, Teen Idol On The Rocks gives you a front row seat to the turbulent, six decade journey of one of rock and roll’s earliest, and most celebrated teen idols.
Rydell was one of the many young pop singers who were marketed to fill the void left in pop music when Elvis Presley joined the Army in 1958. Unlike most of those singers, Rydell was a talented performer. His first hit record, 1959's "Kissin' Time," started a four-year period of success that generated 14 albums and 10 Top 40 and seven Top 10 hits, including the smash "Volare." Thanks to a still-loyal fan base, Rydell has enjoyed a strong career through the present day, and this entertaining memoir—written with the aid of musician Slutsky, author of Standing in the Shadows of Motown—will satisfy them all. The first half of the book follows Rydell's rise from the streets of Philadelphia and his pop success, which included almost constant touring and a well-received acting role opposite Ann-Margret in the 1963 film Bye Bye Birdie. Then came the arrival of the Beatles and the "British Invasion that ended pop music as we knew it." The second half chronicles his ongoing work with other former teen stars such as Frankie Avalon and Fabian, as well as his struggles with alcoholism. But the earlier section is the most fascinating, serving as a well-sourced account of a time when young pop stars had to have more in common with Frank Sinatra than Elvis and providing pop historians with an inside look at Rydell's record company, Philadelphia's famed Cameo-Parkway Records label. (BookLife)