In the stories of 1962 I have had to address the eventual demise of of the artists careers due to the "British invasion". When it came time to do Bobby Vinton, I expected to learn the same fate had come to this Polish singer from Pennsylvania. But no ! His career did just the opposite.
Bobby Vinton had a really good run of 7 years. His "hot" period overlapped the Beatles juggernaut. Vinton had 30 hits evenly spread out from 1962 right on through 1968. He continued to chart regularly through 1977. Numbers wise, Bobby Vinton was a machine. He produced 47 charted hits between 1962 and 1981. Of those 47, he had 32 in the Top 40, 10 in the Top 10 and 4 Number 1's with two of those in 1964, the same year as the Beatles breakthrough.
I haven't a clue how this baby face singer could withstand the big hit. I don't get it. Sure we enjoyed Bobby Vinton's music. My junior year of high school was his first big year. He had a number one and two more Top 40's. During my senior year, 1963, the year before the Beatles, he had another number one and four more Top 40's. In 1964, the year of The Beatles, he soldiered on with two number one's and five other Top 40's. That was weird! Almost all the American groups crashed and burned that year. To make things even stranger, Bobby went on to have four Top 40 in 65 and 6 charted hits in 66.
My conclusion is that the "British" invasion didn't affect Bobby Vinton's career at all. Absolutely freaking amazing !!! Why was he different ? How was he insulated from basically all competition no matter how world shaking?????
I have two ideas. He was singing love songs about teenagers to his teenage market. that baby face made him appear to be the same age as his market. Yes, he was a little corny but so are teenagers. Yes, he was a little sugary but so are teenage girls. It's all I can figure. He sang lyrics that put him in direct touch with that hormonally challenged heart of the teenage girl. Billboard Magazine called him, "the all time most successful love singer of the Rock era".
He went on to make movies with John Wayne, host television shows from 75 to 78, and operate his own Branson, Missouri concert theatre for many, many years. Bobby Vinton is one of the few rock and roll era artists who ran a great business from 1962 until his voluntary retirement some thirty years later. "Blue Velvet" did him well.
Bobby was the top male vocalist from 1962 until 1972. During that time he had more # 1 hits than Elvis or Frank Sinatra. His is in the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. His star is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater, Duquesne University.
But no, he's not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I guess a little too much Pat Boone and not enough Elvis. Go figure.
Mister Bobby Vinton, you are now officially inducted into the only Hall of Fame that matters.
"The Fan's Hall of Fame."
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