Review: Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks

Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks
Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks

To most people, singer Bobby Rydell is a happy voice from their past, a joyful, rock n' rolling presence best known for early 60s hits such as "Volare" and "Wild One" as well as Hollywood musicals such as 1963's Bye Bye Birdie. Now, you can add author to that list as the crooner – with fellow musician and writer Allan Slutsky – has penned and published his autobiography Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks.

Rydell's book would still be a cheerful charmer if he only spoke about his times hanging out with showbiz's greats. Throughout Teen Idol on the Rocks, Rydell writes about celebs such as Frank Sinatra (to whom he's been compared), Ann Margaret (his Bye Bye Birdie co-star with whom he stayed pals) and director Mike Nichols (the singer auditioned for The Graduate before Dustin Hoffman came calling). Fellow South Philadelphians Frankie Avalon and Pat Azzara, the latter who eventually became known as jazz guitarist Pat Martino, also make friendly appearances as Rydell not only played drums in bands with each of his old neighbors, but continued to tour with Avalon throughout the 1980s and '90s.

Rydell, however, doesn’t shy from the dark side of his autobiography, writing about everything from surviving a double-organ transplant, losing his first wife, relying on Philly mob Don Angelo Bruno for favors, dealing with an obsessively controlling stage mother, and spending nearly 20 years, quietly, as a self-admitted big-time drunk. Yet, Rydell never wallows in his pain nor boasts too greatly of his triumphs, which just happens to include a wonderful second marriage, renewed health, a co-starring role in 2017's Robert DeNiro flick The Comedian and an international touring schedule that would shame teen idols such as Justin Bieber who are a third of his age.

Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks is available in book stores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books A Million (BAM). Signed and unsigned copies are available through

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2016