Bobby Vinton had 30 Top 40 songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and 24 of his albums made the Billboard Top 200. Vinton’s love songs appealed to not only young fans, but their parents as well.
Stanley Robert Vinton was born in 1935 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The gifted child played clarinet, then the trumpet in a band he put together in high school. Some of the band members told Vinton he should sing, but Vinton was interested in band music. His ensemble played at college events and dances in the Pittsburgh area while he attended Duquesne University.
A local disc jockey, Dick Lawrence liked Vinton’s vocalizing and made some demo tapes that found their way to the Epic label where Vinton was offered a contract.
At first Vinton recorded two band music albums that didn’t do so well. Epic wanted to dump Vinton who realized his contract gave him the opportunity to record two more songs.
Vinton made it clear to Epic he wanted to sing. Epic wasn’t thrilled about the idea but eventually agreed.
Epic’s new singer went to #1 with “Roses Are Red” in 1962 and hit #1 again in 1963 with “Blue Velvet,” and “There! I Said It Again.” The following year Vinton hit the top of the charts again with “Mr. Lonely.”
No more band music for Vinton. He left the group to go solo.
Then came the British Invasion. Like other American acts Vinton suffered, but stuck around, parting ways with Epic to go to ABC records where in 1974 he proudly wore his Polish heritage on his sleeve, thanks to his mother.
“I came home from a tour in Italy and I made a record in Italian,” Vinton said. “My mom was in the audience and I sang it, but she seemed upset. She was pouting.
“I said, ‘Mom, what’s wrong?’
“She said, ‘How come you can make a record in Italian but you can’t make a Polish record?’
“I said, ‘Mom, they don’t make Polish hit records.’
“Well, why don’t you try and make one?’”
His single “My Melody of Love,” made the Top Ten and struck gold.
Vinton’s career was rejuvenated. He got his own syndicated television series, The Bobby Vinton Show, which remained on the air from 1975 to 1978.
Ever since he’s remained active, performing in concert.
And yes, he’s done Polish Christmas songs.
NOTE: Because of Christmas next week’s oldie will be posted on Wednesday, December 23rd.