I’ll bet quite a few of you have some fond memories of lazy, hazy summer days on the beaches of Wildwood and other New Jersey shore towns. In my case, Jersey shore memories came much later in life since my youth was spent vacationing elsewhere, closer to my Connecticut roots. But while I might have missed Wildwood Days in person, I sure remember the song “Wildwood Days” as sung by Bobby Rydell back in the day. In fact, I remember pretty much all of Bobby’s songs because I was a huge fan! “We Got Love,” “Kissin’ Time,” “Wild One,” “Swinging School,” “Little Bitty Girl” (a favorite), “Volare,” “Sway,” “Goodtime Baby,” “The Cha-cha-cha,” “Forget Him,” man, I couldn’t get enough of those tunes. Perhaps you remember them as well.
While I missed Wildwood Days in person as a kid, I am not going to miss my chance at meeting the pop star who sang that song all those years ago. That’s because Bobby is coming to Upper Dublin Public Library! Not only will I be there, but I’ll have the honor of introducing Bobby to those of you who will also be there on Monday night July 17. Bobby’s appearance that night is billed as a Q & A plus book signing. Please understand: Bobby Rydell will not perform at this event. What he will do is give us the chance to get to know him better, both from the pages of his book and from the answers to our live questions. And, believe me, he has quite a story to tell!
Bobby’s book Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks – a Tale of Second Chances is a well-written, brutally-honest account of his life and career. I was impressed by his willingness to expose his mistakes and shortcomings with no pretense of protecting a certain image. While the reasons for his slide into alcoholism might seem forgivable, his behavior while intoxicated often was not. But trust me, there are plenty of joyous times in his personal life and career, both acting and singing, described in the book as well. It’s really a quick read that you probably won’t want to put down. I know I didn’t.
Among the many reviews included at the beginning of the book, I offer part of Jerry Blavat’s (The Geator with the Heater):
“ . . . I’ve seen him go through the good years, the rough years, the healthy years, and there is one thing you can say about Bobby: He is truly a survivor. In this book you’ll hear firsthand how it all happened. Bobby knows that what keeps us going in show business is the audience, and his ability to connect with the audience is second to none.”
Bobby’s book is available to borrow through the library. You also have the opportunity to purchase the book for Bobby to sign on the night of his appearance.
It seems so appropriate that Bobby Rydell’s visit to UDPL will take place during the heart of summer, the season celebrated all those years ago (1964) in “Wildwood Days.” How cool is it that we get a chance to celebrate summer once again by having one of the “Golden Boys” come here in person! Oh, and there’s one more reason why July is a great month to host Bobby. Something very important happened in his life five years ago this month. Not only does he describe it in the book, but I feel certain he’ll be glad to tell us about it in person. All you have to do is ask.