‘Wildwood Days’ Bobby Rydell remembered for his NJ connections
Bobby Rydell passed away Tuesday afternoon from pneumonia at the age of 79. One of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I was lucky enough to speak with him when he released his book "Teen Idol On The Rocks"
Though he was a Philly guy, among the many things Bobby Rydell will be remembered for is one of the great Jersey Shore anthems that we hear every summer heading down the parkway to Exit 4, it used to be on the radio, now it's in your parent's heads.
I'm talking about "Wildwood Days," which Bobby recorded back in 1963. I spoke with Bobby back in 2016 and he told me the story.
"Actually, the first group that recorded that was the Dovells," says Rydell. "it was a B side of one of their hit records and it never did anything. But Bernie Loeb who was the president of Cameo knew that I was very very familiar with Wildwood because my grandmother had a boarding house in Wildwood, New Jersey, and I'd been going down to wildwood since I was an infant. My Mom took me down there I spent all my summers in Wildwood, New Jersey."
"So they figured let's go into the studio with a different arrangement and let's put Bobby's voice on this particular tune. It was a great record. It became the National Anthem of Wildwood."
Bobby also talked about meeting Frank Sinatra at the Copa who called him "Robert." Bobby was 19 at the time and Frank was sitting with Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Husen, Richard Conte and Joe DiMaggio.
Sinatra asked Bobby, "Would you care to join us?" Rydell says, "My mouth is wide open, my eyes and Mr. Sinatra turns to me and asks 'What do you drink Robert?' I said 'CCCCoke." I figured if I asked for a Scotch and water I'd get a smack in the face."
I can imagine Bobby opening for Frank somewhere up there.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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