Portrait of a Superfan: Bobby Rydell
Rock 'n' roll heartthrob Bobby Rydell began his career as a teenager in the 1950s and rose to fame with hits such as “Volare,” “Wild One,” and “Forget Him.” Rydell is still going strong, touring the world as a solo artist and as a member of The Golden Boys, a group he formed 25 years ago with fellow teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian.
Midsummer Night Swing presents Bobby Rydell featuring the City Rhythm Orchestra on July 6.
Superfan: Ronnie Burke, 67, business owner
Hometown: Williston Park, Long Island
I first became a fan: When I was 10. I started my fan club for him after seeing him on American Bandstand. When I was about 15, I became fan club president. I would spend all of my $3.00 weekly allowance on my fan club. I had members all over the world. There was no Internet then or computers; we would send postcards to DJs asking them to play Bobby’s records. I would type up newsletters with info from national headquarters using carbon paper for copies!
What I liked most about Bobby: He was so cute. My mother and grandparents liked him because he was clean-cut and down to earth. That’s what attracted me.
"He is an incredible entertainer with a voice stronger today than ever before."
I keep coming back because: Of Bobby’s immense talent. He is an incredible entertainer with a voice stronger today than ever before; it has always soothed me. To this day, when I’m upset, I put on Bobby’s CDs. Also, he is one of the nicest, warmest, and friendliest people I know. He has always made time for his fans and has always made us feel that he appreciates everything we do for him. They say nice people have nice people around them, and that typifies Bobby. He’s a gentleman.
How many performances I've seen: I have no idea! I would estimate hundreds.
Most memorable moment: On a Malt Shop cruise when Bobby and his wife, Linda, joined us in 2012. Bobby had had a double liver and kidney transplant and I wasn’t sure I’d ever see him again. Seeing him onstage again was a moment I’ll never forget!
Favorite song: "Forget Him." It’s a very emotional and strong ballad that I love to hear him sing; it shows the power of voice. It’s a wonderful song. I used to love "Volare" but I don’t any more because it ends his show. When I hear it, I know the show is over!
Proof that you’re a superfan: I have "Wild One" as the ring tone on my phone; my kids put it on for me.
Madeline Rogers is a creative consultant to nonprofit cultural organizations and former director of publications of the New York Philharmonic.