Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rock-n-Roll Legend: Bobby Rydell

From his vivid childhood on the fabled mid-20th-century streets of South Philadelphia, to his reign as the Justin Bieber of the “Camelot” era, his battles with alcoholism, and his lifesaving double-transplant surgery, multi-talented entertainer Bobby Rydell has one hell of a story to tell. 

And tell he did, here for an exclusive chat with Entertain Me about his autobiography, Teen Idol On The Rocks is none other than Rock-n-Roll legend: Mr. Bobby Rydell!

MS: Hi Bobby. A friend of mine performed with you at the Hollywood Bowl for Y-Day in 1963.

BR: Oh my God. Who was it?

MS: Do you remember Mike Clifford?

BR: Oh yeah, yeah, I remember tell him "Hi" for me.

MS: What compelled you to write Teen Idol On The Rocks?

BR: Being on the road for many years, after the show you get together sit down, talk to people and you start relating stories. This had been going on for quite a few years and everybody who I kept company with would say: Bobby, you have such great stories, why don't you write a book? I'd always be like: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

To make a long story short my wife said: Why don't you seriously think about putting your life together in a autobiography? I thought maybe it isn't such a bad idea. So, I got together with a friend of mine Allan Slutsky, he's a Grammy winner and wrote a book called Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown, we sat for eighteen months. He was here with a tape recorder, a piece of paper and a pencil, I just poured my heart out to him and lo and behold, here's the book. 

                        Forget Him                                 

MS: Mike mentioned that you performed the song "Forget Him" at Y-Day. I didn't realize I had actually heard the song until I pulled it up online.

BR: That was my third million selling hit. I recorded it in London, England. The song was written by a gentleman named Tony Hatch, who also wrote "Downtown" for Petula Clark. We got together while I was over in the UK and not only did we record "Forget Him" we recorded a whole album, we released the single which became a big hit, so the album was of course titled " Forget Him." (laughs)

MS: When did your alcoholism start? Was that your whole career or later in it?

BR: Later in my career. Prior to becoming a really heavy drinker I was more or less a social drinker. Going out to dinner having a cocktail, maybe a liqueur after. But what actually led to all the drinking was back in 2003 my wife of thirty-six years passed away from breast cancer. She was a very important and loving part of my life. When she passed I just couldn't handle it. I was weak and depressed so I turned to alcohol. I thought a couple of drinks a day would be OK. But a couple of drinks became four, than eight, eight became twelve, I drank my ass off. It went on for quite a few years and that's what led to my double transplant, a new liver and a new kidney. 

MS: It's pretty amazing that you received both of those.

BR: There was a Doctor in 2010 who said: Bobby if you don't stop drinking you're going to be dead in two years. I laughed and said: Well I have another two years. He was right on the money, because in 2012 I had the surgery. 
Bobby Today
MS: Something cool I read was that The Beatles paid homage to you  in one of their songs. Also I read that they all but killed your career. Please explain that.

BR: Well not only me, but quite a few American artists. When they hit not only them, but a whole bunch of artists from the UK came to America, we called it the British Invasion. Basically that's what it was. Everybody has their day an God Bless them. Before The Beatles became anything I was traveling with a young woman, Helen Shapiro who was a big singer in the UK. We were doing a tour, traveling on a bus through the UK doing different cities. One night in front of the bus there was a car and Helen yelled out "There's The Beatles!" 

I didn't know what she meant I started looking around the bus for cockroaches. Anyway the bus stopped, the car stopped, the four guys got on the bus. Now they knew me, and I just shook their hands, they're The Beatles, their a band, that's cool, they were on the road too. They went their way, we went our way. Then I come home, now it's 1964 and I am watching Ed Sullivan and there are The Beatles! I go "Jesus I met those guys!" it would have been such a great picture, before they made it they came on the bus in the middle of the UK ten or eleven o'clock at night, no picture. That would have been fantastic! Then later Paul McCartney would they got "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" from me. That's like a feather in my cap. (laughs) 

MS: I've always been familiar with the name Bobby Rydell. In fact when I saw that the name of the High School in the movie "Grease" was Rydell High, I knew it was named for you.

BR: People have brought that up many times. I don't know why they picked me. It could have been Presley High or Fabian High, or anything really. 

MS: Rydell sounds like an actual High School.

BR: Does it really? Well, maybe it does. Yeah, I guess it does. (laughs) 

MS: I don't think Fabian or Presley High sounds real.

BR: Yeah, yeah you're right, not even I thought those names sounded right for a High School when I said them. (laughs)

Teen Idol On The Rocks will be available tomorrow, May 4th on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Keep Rocking With Bobby at:

Official website: www.bobbyrydell.com
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/BobbayRydell

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