One of the most sought-after nightclub and concert acts in the country, Bobby Rydell's interest in show business began at the ripe age of four. His performance in Bye Bye Birdie and his recordings "Wild One" and "Volare" made him a famous show business performer of the '60s. Rydell used his talents as an impersonator and drummer mostly in pursuing a musical career rather than an acting career.
Bobby Rydell was born Robert Ridarelli in Philadelphia. It was his father who encouraged him to pursue a career in show business. At the age of four, Rydell would sit in front of the TV and impersonate such performers as Milton Berle, Louis Prima and Johnny Ray. He also admired drummer Gene Krupa and began playing the drums at the age of six. At the age of seven and with his father's encouragement, Rydell began performing in nightclubs in Philadelphia.
In 1950, Bobby Rydell entered the amateur show of Paul Whiteman; his first-place win gained him a regular part on the show. He stayed with the Whiteman show for three years and then went to join several local bands in Philadelphia. It was here too that Bobby Ridarelli became the easier-to-pronounce Bobby Rydell. At 16 he began playing with local groups, landing a spot as a drummer for Rocco and the Saints. (Frankie Avalon, another Philadelphia-born musician, played trumpet for the group.) While with the band, Rydell signed a recording contract with Cameo/Parkway Records in Philadelphia. His hit "Kissin' Time," recorded in the summer of 1959, launched his musical career and made him a teen idol at the age of 17.
After making his first hit recording, he pursued a solo career, performing at the Copacabana in New York in 1961, where he was an instant hit. Rydell made his acting debut in 1962 on the television show Combat! One year later, he starred as Hugh Peabody in the famous musical Bye Bye Birdie. It was only after his acting debut that he fervently began playing the nightclub circuit.
With records like We Got Love, Wildwood Days and Sway, Rydell made himself a hit. Along with Frankie Avalon and Fabian, Bobby Rydell is known as a Philadelphia-born teen idol, known not only for his musical genius but also his handsome looks.
Chubby Checker was the unrivaled king of the rock & roll dance craze; although most of the dances his records promoted -- the Pony, "the Fly," and the Hucklebuck, to cite just three -- have long since faded into obscurity, his most famous hit, "The Twist," remains the yardstick against which all subsequent dancefloor phenomena are measured. Born Ernest Evans on October 3, 1941, in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, he worked in a local poultry shop while in high school, and while on the job often entertained customers by singing and cracking jokes. His workplace antics helped win an audition with the local Cameo-Parkway label, who signed the fledgling singer in 1959; at the suggestion of no less than Dick Clark's wife, the portly youth was re-christened Chubby Checker, the name a sly reference to Fats Domino.
Checker's first single, "The Class," showcased his skills as an impressionist; while the record became a minor novelty hit, none of its immediate follow-ups were successful. In 1960, however, he recorded "The Twist," a cover of a 1958 Hank Ballard & the Midnighters B-side; Checker's rendition de-emphasized the original's overtly sexual overtones, focusing instead on the song's happy-go-lucky charms. The single rocketed to number one during the autumn of 1960, remaining on the charts for four months; some time after it dropped off, it slowly returned to prominence, and in late 1961 it hit number one again; the only record ever to enjoy two stays at the top more than a year apart. After "The Twist" first made Checker a superstar, he returned to the top in 1961 with "Do the Pony"; that same year, he also reached the Top Ten with "Let's Twist Again," which assured the dance's passage from novelty to institution.
In addition to 1961's "The Fly," Checker's other Top Ten hits included three 1962 smashes: "Slow Twistin'," "Limbo Rock," and "Popeye the Hitchhiker." He even starred in a pair of feature films, Twist Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Twist. In total, Checker notched 32 chart hits before the bubble burst in 1966; as interest in dance novelties dwindled, he briefly turned to folk music, and became a regular on the nightclub circuit. From the 1970s onward, he was a staple of oldies revival tours; in 1982, more than a decade after his last studio LP, he signed with MCA and issued the disco-inspired The Change Has Come, scoring a pair of minor hits with the singles "Running" and "Harder Than Diamond." In 1988, Checker returned to the Top 40 for the first time in a quarter century when he appeared on the Fat Boys' rap rendition of "The Twist," and he continued touring regularly throughout the decade to follow.
1. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Swingin' Together (2:24)
2. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Your Hits And Mine (7:31)
3. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Jingle Bell Rock (2:32)
4. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Teach me to the twist (2:26)
5. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Side By Side (2:30)
6. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Jingle Bells Imitations (2:44)
7. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (2:28)
8. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - My Baby Cares For Me (1:56)
9. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Voodoo (2:32)
10. Bobby Rydell & Chubby Checker - Walkin' my baby back home (2:07)