As an anniversary gift to Mary and me (36 years today), I thought I’d feature music by “The Polish Prince,” Bobby Vinton.
Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, the same town that gave us legendary singer Perry Como, Bobby was the only child of bandleader Stan (nee Vintula) and Dorothy (nee Studzinski) Vinton. His parents would pay him a quarter every day that he practiced the clarinet. In 1960, after spending two years in the Army, Bobby was signed to Epic Records as a bandleader. The band’s big break was on Guy Lombardo’s TV Talent Scouts, but Epic was ready to drop him from the label after two albums and several singles, one of which was “Roses are Red (My Love).” He found the record lying on a reject pile. To promote the song, he bought a thousand copies and paid a woman to deliver the record and a dozen roses to radio stations. The song rose to #1 on the US Pop Chart in 1962.
Bobby had a number of hits through the Sixties and early Seventies, among them “Blue Velvet,” “Mister Lonely,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” and “Please Love Me Forever.” Nevertheless, Epic Records, convinced that his days of selling records were over, dropped him from the label. He spent $50,000 to release “My Melody of Love” in 1974, which he co-wrote and sang partially in Polish. And the crowds went wild: It reached #3 on the US Pop chart and #1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.
From 1962 to 1972, Bobby Vinton had more Billboard #1 hits than any other male singer, including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and appears at the Blue Velvet Theater in Branson, Missouri (which he owned until 2002) for a limited engagement every year. And, he and wife Dolores celebrated their 51st anniversary last December.
Bobby Vinton: your Two for Tuesday, January 28, 2014.