Bobby Riddle, teenager in the 60s, dies at 79

Bobby Riddle, teenager in the 60s, dies at 79

L.A, 2022-04-05 22:43:06. Bobby Riddle, teenager in the 60s, dies at 79

Bobby Riddle, the brilliant heartthrob of early rock ‘n’ roll who was a star on radio, television and the musical film “By Bye Birdie” passed away on Tuesday.

Riddle died of complications from pneumonia in a suburban hospital in his hometown of Philadelphia, according to a statement released by Maria Novi, marketing and events coordinator.

Riddle, who was credited with prolonging his life in 2012, was 79 years old.

Along with James Darren, Fabian and Frankie Avalon, Riddell was among a wave of useful teen idols who emerged after Elvis Presley and before the rise of the Beatles.

Between 1959 and 1964, he had nearly thirty singles including “Wild One,” “Volare,” “Wildwood Days,” “Cha-Cha-Cha,” and “Forget Him,” a consolation song for a hated girl. that helped inspire the Beatles classic “She Loves You.”

He had recurring roles on “The Red Skelton Show” and other TV shows, and rewritten “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1963 to give Rydell a lead role as Ann-Margret’s boyfriend. He didn’t want to move to Hollywood, however, and “Birdy” became his only significant movie role – despite the high school smash hit “Grease” being named after him in the iconic 1970s hit movie.

Riddle has never strayed from his Philadelphia roots, having lived in the area for most of his life. The 11th Street block where Bobby Riddle Boulevard grew up was christened by his hometown in 1995.

He told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003, “I never thought of myself as a celebrity. I was just a guy who went out there and worked.”

Robert Ridarelli was born in a South Philadelphia neighborhood who would also produce teen idols Darren, Fabian, and Avalon. They knew each other as kids – Riddell played drums with Avalon on trumpets in a group called Rocco and the Saints.

Before adorning magazine covers and teen movie screens, Riddle made his bones as a youngster in Philadelphia clubs.

He made his performance debut as a 7-year-old drummer, not a singer. His first drum set was a gift from his father, Al Ridarelli, who inspired his son’s choice of instrument by taking him to watch Gene Krupa perform.

At the age of nine, he made his debut on an amateur television show and became a regular drummer for three years.

Rydell got his big break in 1959 on “American Bandstand,” which was originally broadcasting from Philadelphia. His first hit, “Kissing Time” soon followed, and the slender 17-year-old with a pompadour haircut rose to stardom. Rydell and fellow artists from Philadelphia were perfect for “Bandstand” host Dick Clark, who sought to make rock and roll palatable for young and old. He also appeared live across the country on a tour organized by Clarke.

Changing musical tastes heralded by the Beatles and the rest of the British invasion defused the successful careers of Riddell and his countrymen, and he continued to perform and record music with limited success into the late 1960s and 1970s. But in 1985 he joined his old friends Avalon and Fabian for what they thought would be a few times. Dubbing themselves “The Golden Boys of Bandstand,” the shows were so successful that the trio ended up touring for three years and had 300 shows nationwide.

“We didn’t come out to prove anything,” Riddle told The Atlantic. “We just said to ourselves, ‘Here are three Italian kids from South Philadelphia, born and raised two blocks from each other.'” Let’s go out and enjoy “City Weekly in 2006.” That hasn’t changed. I think people see this attitude coming from the stage. It’s a fun show to watch – and that’s what made it so successful. We have a great time doing this.”

Riddle’s girlfriend and first wife, Camille, passed away in 2003.

He is survived by his second wife, Linda Hoffman, whom he married in 2009 with son Robert Ridarelli, daughter Jennifer Doolin, and five grandchildren.


JoAnn Loviglio, a former employee of the Associated Press, contributed biographical material to this report.

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