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Bobby Vinton

Every era needs its crooner, and in the early 1960s, it was Bobby Vinton. Vinton's sentimental balladeering and orchestral arrangements were a throwback to a decade earlier, before rock & roll had found its mass market. While much of his audience was young listeners for a time, what he sang was vocal pop, landing some of the biggest hits of the early '60s with "Roses Are Red (My Love)," "Blue on Blue," "There! I've Said It Again," "Mr. Lonely," and "Blue Velvet," the last of which has become his signature song in the wake of its notorious prominence in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Vinton originally aspired to lead a big band, and made big band versions of contemporary hits on his first recordings. When he began singing, however, he was quickly successful, reaching number one with "Roses Are Red (My Love)" in mid-1962. The saccharine arrangements set the mold for his emotional, occasionally mournful hits throughout the early part of the decade. 1963 was his banner year, as he hit number three with "Blue on Blue," and then topped the charts with "Blue Velvet" and "There! I've Said It Again." "There! I've Said It Again" was knocked out of the number one spot by the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." But the British Invasion, surprisingly, didn't spell commercial death for Vinton, as it did for so many other balladeers and teen idols. Indeed, he had one of his biggest hits (and his final number one), the sobbing "Mr. Lonely," in late 1964. Although he didn't maintain quite the same superstar ranking, he was consistently popular throughout the next decade. Between 1962 and 1972, he had an astonishing 28 Top 40 entries. Often he updated quaint 1960-era pop tunes such as "Halfway to Paradise," "Take Good Care of My Baby," and "Sealed With a Kiss." A couple of these, "Please Love Me Forever" and "I Love How You Love Me," made the Top Ten, which was quite an anachronism in 1967 and 1968. Vinton seemed to have launched a major comeback in 1974 with "Melody of Love," which reached number three and enjoys the distinction of being the only major American hit single sung partially in Polish. Only one more Top 40 hit was in the offing, though, after which Vinton enjoyed his own TV series for a few years in the late '70s, and he could count on lucrative gigs on the cabaret circuit until his retirement in 2015.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo


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