White Pop

By Gary: “On July 9, 1956, one, Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark took over a show called “American Bandstand” and the rest, as they say, is Rock and Roll History.

Dick Clark

Richard Wagstaff “Dick” Clark (born November 30, 1929 died April 18, 2012) has had a very, very successful career, but this is not about him, but about three of his favourite singers, from the city in which “American Bandstand” was produced on a daily basis, Philadelphia. When main attraction acts had travel problems or did not show, these three guys where always around to help him and thus became very popular by doing it.

The Three Singers?

  • Frankie Avalon
  • Bobby Rydell
  • Fabian (Forte)

I will give you a cross section of their music and a little bit of their history. In my opinion, Frankie and Bobby where reasonable singers, but Fabian was just a pretty face (which worked for a while).

Frankie Avalon:



1959 / Dick Clark Beechnut Show / Frankie singing De De Dinah /
Bobby Sox to Stockings/


2003 / PBS Special / Frankie singing Venus /


Interview with Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell /


1. De De Dinah/ Chancellor 1011/ 1/27/58/ #7 Billboard


2. Ginger Bread/ Chancellor 1021/ 7/28/58/ #9 Billboard


3. I’ll wait for you/ Chancellor 1026/ 11/17/58/ #15 Billboard


4. Venus/ Chancellor 1031/ 2/23/59/ #1(5) Billboard


5. A boy without a girl & Bobby Sox to Stockings/ Chancellor 1036/ 6/15/59/ #10 & 8 Billboard

6. Just Ask Your Heart/ Chancellor 1040/ 9/14/59/ #7 Billboard

7. Why/ Chancellor 1045/ 12/7/59/ #1 Billboard


Francis Thomas Avallone (born September 18, 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American actor, singer and teen idol in the 1950s and early 1960s.

By the time he was 12, Avalon began making appearances on U.S. television for his trumpet prowess, and as a teenager, played with Bobby Rydell in a band known as Rocco and the Saints.

In 1959, his songs “Venus” and “Why?” both went to number one on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100. Indeed, “Why?” was the last #1 Hit of the 1950s.

During the 1960s, Avalon became known for his roles in the Beach Party film genre. Later, he became the U.S. national television spokesperson for Sonic Drive-In.

Bobby Rydell:


Bobby Rydell / Volare & Wild One /
1959 / Dick Clark Beechnut Show / Bobby Rydell Kissin’ Time /
1992 / NY at Night / Dick Clark and Bobby Rydell / Wild One /
1965 / Bobby Rydell live on Shindig /

1. Kissin’ Time/ Cameo 167/ 8/10/59/ #11 Billboard

2. We Got Love/ Cameo 169/ 10/26/59/ #6 Billboard

3A. Wild One (I liked this one)/ Cameo 171/ 2/8//60/ #2 Billboard

3B. Little Bitty Girl/ B side/ 2/22/60/ #19 Billboard

4. Swingin’ School/ Cameo 175/ 5/16/60/ #5 Billboard

5. Volare/ Cameo 179/ 8/1/60/ #4 Billboard

6. Sway/ Cameo 182/ 11/14/60/ #14 Billboard

7. Good Time Baby/ Cameo 186/ 2/6/61/ #11 Billboard

8. That Old Black Magic/ Cameo 190/ 5/8/61/ #21 Billboard

One of the most sought-after nightclub and concert acts in the country, Bobby Rydell’s interest in show business began at the ripe age of four. His performance in Bye Bye Birdie and his recordings “Wild One” and “Volare” made him a famous show business performer of the ’60s. Rydell used his talents as an impersonator and drummer mostly in pursuing a musical career rather than an acting career.

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Ridarelli in Philadelphia. It was his father who encouraged him to pursue a career in show business. At the age of four, Rydell would sit in front of the TV and impersonate such performers as Milton Berle, Louis Prima and Johnny Ray. He also admired drummer Gene Krupa and began playing the drums at the age of six. At the age of seven and with his father’s encouragement, Rydell began performing in nightclubs in Philadelphia.

In 1950, Bobby Rydell entered the amateur show of Paul Whiteman; his first-place win gained him a regular part on the show. He stayed with the Whiteman show for three years and then went to join several local bands in Philadelphia. It was here too that Bobby Ridarelli became the easier-to-pronounce Bobby Rydell. At 16 he began playing with local groups, landing a spot as a drummer for Rocco and the Saints. (Frankie Avalon, another Philadelphia-born musician, played trumpet for the group.) While with the band, Rydell signed a recording contract with Cameo/Parkway Records in Philadelphia. His hit “Kissin’ Time,” recorded in the summer of 1959, launched his musical career and made him a teen idol at the age of 17.

After making his first hit recording, he pursued a solo career, performing at the Copacabana in New York in 1961, where he was an instant hit. Rydell made his acting debut in 1962 on the television show Combat! One year later, he starred as Hugh Peabody in the famous musical Bye Bye Birdie. It was only after his acting debut that he fervently began playing the nightclub circuit.

With records like We Got Love, Wildwood Days and Sway, Rydell made himself a hit. Along with Frankie Avalon and Fabian, Bobby Rydell is known as a Philadelphia-born teen idol, known not only for his musical genius but also his handsome looks.

Now at least with Bobby and Frankie, they where both musicians (Frankie Trumpet & Bobby drums), but Fabian was just good looking. It did sell him a few records, none to me, but it was a limited success. As much as I criticize him, he was huge for a time, so to each his own.

Fabian Forte:


Turn me Loose/
Tiger live on stage 1959/


1. Turn me Loose/ Chancellor 1033/ 4/6/59/ #9 Billboard

2. Tiger/ Chancellor 1037/ 6/22/59/ #3 Billboard

3. Hound Dog Man/ Chancellor 1044/ 11/30/59/ #9 Billboard

Fabian Forte was an Italian-American teenage pop singer/sensation of the late 50’s & early 60’s out of Philadelphia. Discovered at age 14 sitting on a Philly stoop in late 1957 by the owners of Chancellor Records, Bob Marcucci and Peter De Angelis, they soon turned their star-making machinery in his direction.

With appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and placement in teen mags he became a popular pinup idol of teenage girls. By the time he was 18, Fabian had recorded dozens of hit singles, eight albums and earned a few gold records, with his most famous songs being co-composed by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman.

By 1959, Like Elvis he neglected record making for a more lucrative film deal, starting with “Hound Dog Man” at 20th Century Fox, and later American International Pictures, doing dozens of films.

His singing career was cut short by the payola scandal of the 1960s, and a fickle public that discovered his studio records were doctored up long before Milli Vanilli.



5 responses to “White Pop

  1. I don’t mind these guys personally (God love ’em), but I hate the fact that the music business tried to shove them down our throats to make us forget Buddy, Elvis, Chuck, Richard, etc. who had departed the early rock scene.

  2. Hey guys; Don’t know if your getting these but here goes. Fabian had a minor hit on ‘Bandstand’ with a song called ‘Lily Lou’. His voice on that recording doesn’t seem so flat sounding than the others. Norman B. (DJ FM 108 in Burlington) was a good friend of mine and he told me that when he asked Fabian about his voice, it seemed he knew where Norm was going with his question and got all upset at him saying he doesn’t ‘identify’ with these voice questions. Uh huh……..Keep up the good work, guys.

  3. Hi Ron – We are definitely getting your comments and they are gold… steeped in lots of insight through years of having been there… very much appreciated, man. Thank you !!

  4. Interesting stuff about Fabian, who came to my high school in 1959 as a ‘Hound Dog Man’ movie promotion appearance. I remember my friend the late Norman B. telling me how upset Fabian became and shut down the interview when Norm questioned him about his singing ability on his records. This was at the time he appeared at Lulu’s in Kitchener. Cheers !

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