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Bye Bye Birdie star and pop crooner, Bobby Rydell, dies at 79

Bobby Rydell, the crooner from the 60s era who gave half a dozen top 10 Hot 100 hits over his career, including ‘Forget Him’, ‘Volare’ and ‘Wild One’, died at the age of 79.

Bye Bye Birdie star and pop crooner Bobby Rydell dies at 79 drb
Mumbai, First Published Apr 6, 2022, 7:49 AM IST

The pop crooner from the 1960s era, Bobby Rydell who is popularly known for ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ breathed his last on Tuesday, April 5. The 79-year-old pop star was battling pneumonia.

Bobby Rydell earned at least 29 chart entries on the Billboard Hot 100 throughout his career. He began with 1959’s ‘Kissin’ Time’ and followed up with his single ‘We Got Love’ which peaked at number 6. The same pop number, in the early 1960s, also became Rydell’s career’s first out of six career top 10 hits.

Another 1960s song that he crooned, ‘Wild One’ was his career’s highest-charting track landed at the number 2 spot. The other songs included ‘Volare’ (1960), ‘The Cha-Cha-Cha’ (1962) and ‘Forget Him (1964).

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Before the Beatles came in, Bobby Rydell was the poster boy for pop music. His stardom also fetched him the starring role in Bye Bye Birdie’s 1963 big-screen adaptation. In the movie musical, Rydell was seen playing the character of Hugo Peabody.

Rydell’s character was a high school sweetheart of Kim McAfee (played by Ann-Margret) a teenager who is randomly chosen to get a goodbye kiss from Conrad Birdie, an Elvis Presley-style rock ‘n’ roll singer before he leaves for the Army. Apart from Rydell, Bye Bye Birdie also starred actors Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke and Ed Sullivan as himself.

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Bobby Rydell’s legacy was also made into a stage musical in 1971 and later into a blockbuster film adaptation in the year 1978. Danny, Sandy and the rest of the Pink Ladies and T-Birds attended the school ‘Rydell High’ which was named in honour of the pop star.

As per a report by Variety, after Bobby Rydell’s death, he was remembered by Jerry Blavat, his longtime friend and a radio DJ, with whom Rydell grew up in South Philadelphia. While remembering his friend, Blavat said, “Out of all the kids, he had the best pipes and was the greatest entertainer,” the radio DJ said. “He told the best stories. did the best impersonations and was the nicest guy.”

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