Today is the birthday of the Polish Prince, Mr. Bobby Vinton (b. 1935). In the clip below Clive Davis calls Vinton a performer in the “vaudevillian” tradition, which is true, although I think it was a certain myopia on the part of contemporary folks in the mid 1970s not to recognize that so was an artist like Alice Cooper.
At any rate, it was quite bewildering to be my age (ten) when Bobby Vinton’s show hit (1975-78). Who WAS this guy? All of his major hits (“Roses are Red”, “Blue Velvet”, “Mr. Lonely”) had been before I was born. Just before he launched the series he had a huge hit with what became his signature tune “Melody of Love”, which is now a sort of Polish-American anthem. The whole phenomenon sort of mixed elements of The Lawrence Welk Show, the ’50s nostalgia phenomenon launched by Happy Days and Sha Na Na. But check out the perm and the rhinestone jump suit! Fun for the whole family!
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.